British & North American Ales
British and North American ales represent a diverse range of styles ranging from milds to barley wines and bitters to imperial IPAs. All of the styles in this category originated in England but have since been adopted by American brewers, with noticeable differences between English and American versions.
Top Rating: Stone Brewing Co. - 2013 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale
98 points
Continental European Ales
Continental European ales represent styles originating in Europe outside of the United Kingdom. Many of these styles were first brewed as “farmhouse” specialties intended to last throughout the season, and incorporating regional, readily-available ingredients and spices. Today, these styles are brewed far outside their countries of origin and pose unique challenges for brewers in terms of creating beers that are balanced and representative of their original styles. This category includes styles such as alt and kölsch beers, as well as Trappist and Belgian-style ales.
Top Rating: Westmalle Trappist Dubbel
98 points
Stout & Porters
Stouts and porters are very dark, almost black in color, and feature heavily roasted flavors and aromas. They are enormously popular among craft brewers, with virtually all brewpubs and regional microbrewers producing one or both year round.
Top Rating: Excelsior Brewing Co. 'Spresso Milk Chocolate Stout
98 points
Lagers are relatively recent on the global beer scene, when one considers the centuries of ale brewing that predated the production of these styles. The simple difference between a lager and an ale is that the yeast employed for fermentation of a lager works at a cooler temperature and sinks to the bottom of the fermentation vessel, while ale yeasts work at higher temperatures and rise to the top of the vessel. Hence, lagers are "bottom-fermenting" beers. This category includes a wide range of bottom-fermenting beer styles, with some of the most popular being pilsners and pale lagers.
Top Rating: Capital Brewery Fishin' In The Dark
97 points
Wheat Beers
Wheat ales represent a diverse range of styles brewed with a portion of wheat in addition to malted barley. These beers are usually lighter in body, unfiltered and highly refreshing. Bavarian weizen beers are the better-known examples in this category, which also includes Berliner weisse and Belgian witbier. This category also features American style wheat beers, which may range from fairly neutral in flavor and aroma to highly-hopped.
Top Rating: LUCID Brewing GOSLAR
98 points
Fruit & Specialty Beers
The specialty beer category includes some of the more unique and individualized styles. Many of these beers either do not have a clearly defined style guideline or do not fit under the umbrella of another category. This category also includes a wide range of hybrid styles, beers brewed from specialty yeast and malts and gluten-free ales and lagers.
Top Rating: Deschutes Brewery 2016 The Abyss Brandy Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
97 points
Ciders cover a diverse range of styles typically made from fermented apple juice. Some ciders may also be made with other fruits such as pears, or with various fruit juices added in conjunction to the traditional apple juice. As with wine, the character and quality of the resulting product reflects the variety and quality of the fruits used. This category ranges from common ciders to specialty ciders made all around the world.
Top Rating: Fatty Bampkins Cider
97 points