Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

We Help Playboy Pick the Best Beers in America

By William Brand
Thursday, January 25th, 2007 at 10:48 pm in Uncategorized.

Well, I’ve made But don’t look for me or any of the beer experts in the panel with our shorts off or admiring buxom playgirls. Playboy asked us to pick the best 10 beers in America. We each submitted a list and they chose the top 10…Here’s the top of their story:

“’s panel of beer experts told us their favorite American microbrews.

Here are 10 worth savoring.

Men often view beer the same way they view sex: As long as you’re getting as much as you want, everything is okay. But what’s the point of a large quantity of anything if you’re not also getting high quality? Fine beers, like gorgeous women, should be savored and enjoyed for their unique characteristics.

In the spirit of searching out something more sophisticated to drink, we polled some of the nation’s beer experts to come up with a list of the 10 best microbrews in America. While it’s an impossible task to list all the deserving beers being made today in the thousands of small breweries spread across America, this inventory of distinctive brews should provide you with a good starting point. Unlike gorgeous women, no good brew is ever out of your league…”

Here’s Playboy’s Top 10:

1. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
2. (Victory Brewing, Downingtown, PA.) Prima Pils
3. (Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY) Ommegang Abbey Ale
4. (Anderson Valley, Boonville, CA) Boont Amber Ale
5. Sierra Nevada Porter
6. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
7. (Tröegs Brewing., Harrisburg, PA.) Tröegenator Double Bock
8. (Sam Adams) Utopias
9. (Alaskan, Juno, AK.) Smoked Porter
10. (Deschutes, Bend OR) Mirror Pond Pale Ale

You can read the whole story here.

And furthermore…It was a quite distinguished panel with some real experts. They asked us to select our top three favorites in a variety of styles. The only caveat was the beer had to be bottled and available for sale somewhere in the U.S.

Here’s the list I submitted. I made one error: Pliny, from Russian River’s not bottled. A shame.

Pale Ales
1. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada, Chico, CA.
2. Ruth, Hair of the Dog, Portland, OR.
3. Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Deschutes, Bend, OR

1. Racer 5, Bear Republic, Healdsburg, CA.
2. 21st Amendment IPA (San Francisco, available in cans)

3.Anchor Liberty Ale, Anchor, San Francisco, CA.

1. Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, North Coast, Fort Bragg, CA.
2. Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, Three Floyds, Munster, IN.
3. Bourbon County Stout, Goose Island, Chicago, IL.


1. Anchor Porter , Anchor, San Francisco, CO.
2. Flying Dog Road Dog Scottish Porter, Flying Dog, Denver, CO
3. Alaskan Smoked Porter, Alaskan Brewing, Juno, AK.


1. Damnation Belgian Style Ale, Russian River Brewing, Santa Rosa, CA.
2. Trippel Belgian-Style Ale, New Belgium, Fort Collins, CO.
3. Ommegang, Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY

1. Pliny the Elder (Russian River, Santa Rosa, CA)
2. Eye of the Hawk, Mendocino Brewing, Hopland, Ukiah, CA.
3. Arrogant Bastard, (Stone, Escondido, CA)


1. Boont Amber, Anderson Valley, Boonville, CA
2. Red Seal Ale, North Coast Brewing, Fort Bragg, CA
3. Censored, Lagunitas Brewing, Petaluma, CA.

1. Pyramid Hefeweizen, Pyramid Brewing, Seattle, WA., Berkeley, CA.
2.Farmhouse Saison, Coast Range Brewing, Gilroy, CA
3 Wild Dog Colorado Saison, Flying Dog,. Denver, CO>.


1. Trumer Pils (Berkeley, CA)
2. Lagunitas Pils, Czech Style Pilsner, Lagunitas, Petaluma, CA.
3. Prima Pils, Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA

1. NO CHOICES. SORRY. How about a Diet Coke or maybe Pabst Blue Ribbon

1. Sam Adams Oktoberfest, Boston Brewing, Cincinnati, OH
2. EJ Phair Marzen, EJ Phair, Concord, CA.
3. Marzen, Privatbrauerei Sudwerk Hubsch, Davis, CA.

1. Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock
2. Dead Guy Ale, Rogue, Newport, OR (Actually, an American maibock))
3. Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock, Boston Brewing, Cincinnati, OH,

1.Hop Rod Rye, Bear Republic, Healdsburg, CA.
2. Butte Creek 10th Anniversary Double IPA, Butte Creek, Chico, CA.
3. Hopsickle, Moylan’s, Novato, CA.
4. Utopias, Sam Adams.

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  • gail

    No San Diego beer on the list? as a local booster it pains me to admit that something from Alesmith or Pizza Port Carlsbad belongs someplace on just about every list.

    love your blog.

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  • William Brand

    About San Diego…You’re right Gail. It was a grevious ommission. San Diego County’s got some great brewers, besides Pizza Port, and Alesmith, there’s also Green Flash. My problem’s that I only taste those beers at fgestivals or on special occasion, so they’re not in my day-to-day radar.
    So, give us a list of great San Diego beers, Gail and anywone else from down there who is familiar with the beer. b.

  • erica

    St. Arnolds brewery in Houston makes a great IPA and Stout
    The Schafley Brewing Company in St. Louis also makes some great beers- too many
    to list. I like the porter’s listed and the Anchor Liberty!

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