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Sierra Nevada Powder Day IPA

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Sierra Nevada Powder Day IPA badge

Sierra Nevada started dry-hopping, and things snowballed into a full-on Powder Day IPA

The brewery's new seasonal is piled high with hop flavor thanks to lupulin powder, the tiny pods of pure aroma and flavor hidden inside hop cones. Double dry-hopping cranks up the depth and complexity, stacking layers of fruity notes: citrus, mango, pineapple, and stone fruit.

Powder Day pours a shimmery gold, capped by snowy foam, and boasts a 7.7% ABV. It's only available through March, so now's the time to leap waist-deep into hops.

To earn this badge: Check-in one (1) Powder Day IPA by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co between January 21 and February 21, 2022

11 Best Berliner Weisses of 2022

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Photography courtesy of John A. Paradiso

Light, golden, zippy, and zingy, the Berliner Weisse beer style earned the nickname "Champagne of the North" from Napoleon's troops. But what exactly is a Berliner Weisse? 

Originating in Germany, the Berliner Weisse was incredibly popular in the early 19th century, when more than 700 German breweries produced the style. Today, however, only two or three breweries in Germany regularly bottle Berliners. The recent popularity of the tart and effervescent beer is actually due to American brewers, many of whom have added their own twists to the traditional German style.

To better understand the Berliner Weisse, we took a deep dive into its history to see where it comes from, how it has changed, and where it's going.

A Brief History of the Berliner Weisse

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Photography courtesy of Beth Dixson | Atlas Obscura

Originally, the Berliner Weisse developed in the region around Berlin, Germany (hence the name!), in the 17th century.

"It's a very, very old German style, perhaps 500 years plus," says Adam Beauchamp, Brewmaster at Creature Comforts Brewing Company. One of their popular Berliners, Athena, has become one of the brewery's best-selling brands. "Think of it as the Champagne of the North. The French and Italians have sparkling wine, while the northern part of Europe has sparkling and refreshing beer."

Traditionally in Europe, Germans often play off of the Berliner Weisse's funky sourness by adding what is called a schuss, or syrup, directly to the beer. In Berlin, when you order a Berliner Weisse, the waiter will often say "rot oder grün?" Which simply means "red or green?"

The colors refer to the type of syrup you'd like to add to the beer. Red is usually a sweet raspberry syrup. Green is a more traditional grassy herb known as woodruff.

In Europe, a beer can only be considered a Berliner Weisse if it's produced within the city limits of Berlin. Today, however, there are only two full-scale commercial breweries in Germany that produce Berliner Weisse (Berliner Kindl and Schultheiss), and the name is often used in the United States to refer to Berliner Weiss-style beers.

What Exactly Is a Berliner Weisse?

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Photography courtesy of Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

Essentially, a Berliner Weiss is a tart wheat beer that includes two key ingredients.

First, weisse in German means wheat. Typically, a brewer will use around fifty percent wheat in the grain bill of a Berliner Weisse.

"Obviously the inclusion of the word weisse refers to wheat, meaning there is usually a heavy component of wheat in the malt bill," says Michael Oxton, Co-Founder of Night Shift Brewing, which opened in 2012 with a Berliner Weisse in its portfolio.

According to Oxton, the wheat adds a certain level of body to the refreshing beer. It also gives the beer its characteristic cloudiness and helps play off the tartness that comes from the style's other main component: Lactobacillus.

The naturally occurring bacteria known as Lactobacillus gives the Berliner Weisse its classic acidity.

"Lactobacillus is a bacteria thats primary function is to eat a little bit of sugar and make a whole lot of lactic acid," says Beauchamp. "It's the same organism that typically gives tang to yogurt."

According to Beauchamp, it's that hit of acid that gives the Berliner Weisse its complexity.

"The intrigue of Berliner Weisse often comes from what the yeast does in a really acidic environment," says Beauchamp. "It comes up with some fun cider, sauvignon blanc, passionfruit, funky tropical-ness, which makes this style super interesting."

What Are Some Common Characteristics of a Berliner Weisse?

When looking at traditional, unfruited Berliner Weisses, you'll typically find some common characteristics. "[Berliner Weisses] are low ABV with a wheat-forward profile that's tart, dry, and refreshing in the hotter months," says Chris Kinast, cellar manager and brewer at Perennial Artisan Ales.

A light, sour wheat beer, Berliner Weisses typically fall somewhere between 3% and 5% ABV. Visually, most Berliner Weisses tend to fall somewhere in the straw gold to light yellow range, and most have a slight haze that comes from the wheat.

On the nose, aromas vary. "It's an interesting and inviting aroma," says Beauchamp. "At first, I usually get apple cider, followed by some sauvignon blanc funk edging on passion fruitiness and some white cracker. If you're familiar with this beer [style], you expect [the aroma] to be a little zesty with some funkiness in there."

When it comes to the palate, Berliner Weisses tend to be a beautiful balance of sweetness and acidity.

"It's not a wine, but it moves in the direction of a wine profile," says Oxton. "It's complex, it's fun, and it's something to talk about. I don't ever crack a Berliner Weisse without talking about the experience."

The Popularity of Berliner Weisses in the United States

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Over the last decade, the Berliner Weiss style has experienced tremendous popularity in America.

When Creature Comforts released Athena, they weren't sure what to expect. "We thought it would be a tiny fraction of our main production," says Beauchamp. "It ended up being our second-best brand for the first several years."

According to Beauchamp, Creature Comforts currently brews between 6,000 to 7,000 barrels of kettle-soured beer across both the Athena and Athena Paradiso brands.

Similarly, Night Shift's Berliner Weisse took off almost immediately. "That one beer put us on the map locally," says Oxton.

The success of that first Berliner Weisse helped Night Shift build up the entire Weisse series.

"To this day, if you look at the IRI scan data in Massachusetts, our Weisse series is the number-one selling SKU within the 'other' category," says Oxton. "It outsells a bunch of other ones because we've grown the brand and people still want to drink sour, fruited, funky beer."

And for many modern-day brewers, the fun starts when they add a variety of fruits to the wheat base. Everything from blood orange, guava, and pineapple to strawberries, kiwis, and hibiscus have found their way into Berliner Weisses today. 

With the endless combination of fruits available to brewers, we predict this style has a lot of room to grow. From a stunning series from a brewery most known for its East Coast IPAs to a pasty-inspired one from a brewery in the Mountain West, here are Untappd's 11 highest-rated Berliner Weisses in 2022

1.  Twice the Daily Serving: Raspberry - Trillium Brewing Company

2. Twice the Daily Serving: Mixed Berry - Trillium Brewing Company

3. Twice the Daily Serving: Tropical Punch - Trillium Brewing Company

4. Bistro Strawberry & Rhubarb Crumble - Energy City Brewing

5. Bistro Pineapple & Coconut Cream Pie - Energy City Brewing

6. Bistro Grande Raspberry Velvet - Energy City Brewing

7.  SLUSHY XXL Water Hydra - 450 North Brewing Company

8. Watercolors Creamee - Orange, Mango, Guava, Marshmallow, Cream, Milk Sugar - Skygazer Brewing Company

9. Watercolors - Abstract 3 - Banana, Strawberry, Orange, Marshmallow, Milk Sugar - Skygazer Brewing Company

10. Blueberry Cobbler Berliner - WeldWerks Brewing Co. 

11. Unbalanced Breakfast - Great Notion Brewing 

Powered by Untappd Data (minimum of 1,000 check-ins)

Looking for more? Check out Hop Culture's What Exactly Is a Berliner Weisse?

Act Now to Help Legalize Shipping Craft Beer Through the U.S. Postal Service

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Photography courtesy of CraftBeer.com

Did you know: It is currently illegal for the United States Postal Service (USPS) to ship alcohol? Crazy right!? Even after a global pandemic that has severely affected breweries and alcohol producers, the country's outdated shipping laws have prevented the USPS from delivering beer to your doorstep. Even in states where private carriers can ship beer, USPS still cannot legally send beer through the mail.  

However, we can help shift the tide! 

Currently, key members of Congress, alcohol beverage producers, and postal unions are acting to change these old-fashioned regulations. 

The USPS Shipping Equity Act, introduced earlier this year, would allow USPS to deliver beverage alcohol products directly from licensed producers, including breweries, distilleries, wineries, and cideries, to legal-drinking-age consumers in states that allow direct-to-consumer alcohol shipping (DTC). 

Passing this legislation would have an incredible impact on your local craft breweries. The USPS Shipping Equity Act would make it easier for breweries to ship beer, especially to folks in rural areas that private mail carriers cannot reach. 

How can you help? Simply send an email to your local officials with just one click. Filling out the form takes less than thirty seconds. And you can do it here, right now. 

TAKE ACTION NOW

A Win-Win: Better for Breweries, Better for Beer Drinkers. 

Passing the USPS Shipping Equity Act will be better for both breweries and beer lovers. According to a Harris poll commissioned by the Brewers Association, eighty-two percent of respondents said they support allowing the USPS to deliver alcohol to legal-age (21+) residents. 

Additionally, a Direct-to-Consumer Beer Shipping Report conducted by Sovos ShipCompliant and the Brewers Association found that eighty-four percent of self-identified "regular craft beer drinkers" would like to be able to legally buy beer via DTC shipping to their home. 

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Infographic courtesy of CraftBeer.com

Lastly, seventy percent of responding breweries indicated that they would consider using DTC shipping if it were legal in their state. 

"Allowing the USPS to ship beer and wine is a common-sense step that allows customers better access to this growing trend," wrote the American Postal Workers Union in a statement. "There's no good reason why beer and wine couldn't be included with other mail and packages." 

Overall, passing this legislation will be a win-win for both breweries and beer drinkers. 

So, help us take action!

ASK CONGRESS TO PASS THE USPS SHIPPING EQUITY ACT NOW

Other Half 8th Anniversary Celebration

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Brooklyn's Other Half is celebrating its 8th Anniversary this month the way only Other Half can… with 3 weeks of new beer releases featuring throwbacks, collaborations, and the return of Bananaversary, their annual birthday stout.

The celebration kicks off January 18th with a week of Greatest Hits beers featuring highly-requested collaborations with Monkish Brewing, Sand City, and Weldwerks alongside OH classics and previous anniversary recipes. Included that week are Methods of Excavation, their annual stout Cuvee of the previous year's best releases, and the return of All Together IPA, their global collaboration project brewed by over 850 breweries in over 50 countries.

Week two is collaboration week with seven new collaboration beers featuring 17 brewers from across the country. Look out for limited releases featuring Fidens, Equilibrium, Vitamin Sea, Omnipollo, The Veil, Monkish, Great Notion, Firestone Walker, Trillium, Lawson's Finest Liquids. Burial, Green Cheek, Alvarado, Schilling, J. Wakefield, Weathered Souls, Phase 3, and 8th State.

And finally, week three concludes with a collection of big, anniversary triple IPAs, wild ales from InBloom, their mixed-fermentation program in the Finger Lakes, and several stouts from the new barrel house at their Washington, D.C. brewery.

To celebrate with them, we're launching the Other Half 8th Anniversary badge on Untappd!

Check out www.otherhalfbrewing.com to find a brewery or taproom near you and follow https://instagram.com/otherhalfnyc for the latest Other Half releases and news.

To earn this badge: Check-in any one (1) beer brewed by Other Half Brewing Co. between January 15 and February 15, 2022

Willettized Coffee Stout (2021)

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Lagunitas Willettized Coffee Stout (2021) badge

Lagunitas' 100% barrel-aged beast of a beer, the Willettized Coffee Stout, has made its glorious 2021 return, and to celebrate we're dropping a special Untappd badge for its release.

This Highly limited release is brewed with Chicago's-own Metropolis Coffee and their Spice Island blend, then aged in single-use Willett Rye oak barrels. While other stouts sometimes blend their barrel-aged beer with nonbarrel-aged beer, every bottle of Willettized is full of 100% barrel-aged bliss, featuring beer that has aged in Willett barrels for 14 months (and more).

It's chocolate-y, vanilla-y, roasty toasty sweetness with a twang of coffee and some heat from the Willett angel's share… a smooth and decadent dessert in a glass.

Find some near you at their handy Lagunitas beer finder, and happy Untapping!

To earn this badge: Check-in one (1) Lagunitas Willettized Coffee Stout between January 15 and February 19, 2022. Note: This badge has been extended from its original run because of qualification issues. All vintages of Willettized Coffee Stout now qualify.

11 Best Non-Alcoholic Beers of 2021

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Photography courtesy of Athletic Brewing Co. 

Many people kick off the new year with Dry January - thirty-one days of abstaining from alcohol. A term first coined by a group in London in 2013, Dry January is a chance for folks to adopt healthier lifestyle.s But nowadays with so many high-quality non-alcoholic brands and beers available, participating in Dry January doesn't necessarily mean that you can't drink beer. 

Can you imagine a beer without alcohol? Seems to be almost as crazy as a beer without hops, right? Well, both exist. And now non-alcoholic (NA) beer has become a growing trend in the U.S. and a popular one around the world, with many craft breweries brewing non-alcoholic beer. 

According to IWSR, a leading global alcohol industry market research firm, NA beer sales grew over thirty percent in terms of volume in 2020. And Drizly reported in its third annual BevAlc Insights by Drizly Retail Report that non-alcoholic products are up 120 percent on the platform since 2020.

As a result, over the past few years many craft breweries have added innovative, flavorful versions of NA beers to their portfolios. And entirely non-alcoholic beer brands are emerging in the market.

For instance, major established brands like Brooklyn Brewery, Boston Beer Co., and Dogfish Head have all crafted their own NA beers.

And solely non-alcoholic beer producers such as Athletic Brewing Co. and Rescue Club (one of Hop Culture's best new breweries of the year) are changing the status quo.

We predict this beer trend will continue to grow and that soon Americans will be drinking non-alcoholic beer all year round. Not just for Dry January. 

What Is Non-Alcoholic Beer?

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Photography courtesy of Athletic Brewing Co. 

Alcohol-Free beers are those that have 0.0% ABV. Non-alcoholic beers are those that fall under 0.5% ABV. So yes, technically some NA beers can still have a very small percentage of alcohol. But, you'd probably have to drink somewhere around nine bottles of alcohol-free beer to equal the ABV kick of a standard beer.

For that reason, the category has been growing. This is especially tree among Millennials, who are interested in a better-for-you, sober-curious lifestyle.

How Do You Make Non-Alcoholic Beer?

Some breweries have their own proprietary methods for making non-alcoholic beer. Such as Brooklyn Brewery that "uses a process that prevents alcohol from being created in the first place while still allowing many of the flavors we associate with beer to still develop," says Eric Ottoway, CEO at Brooklyn Brewery that developed its own line of non-alcoholic beers called Special Effects after about a year and a half of trials.

Generally though, a brewery starts with an alcoholic beer and then de-alcoholizes it.

This can happen one of a few ways.

Some producers heat uncarbonated beer to its boiling point and allow the alcohol to evaporate. Whereas, others decrease the pressure of an uncarbonated beer, allowing the alcohol to boil at room temperature.

Regardless, the goal is to create a beer that tastes like beer…just without an alcohol content above 0.5% ABV.

Europeans Enjoy Non-Alcoholic Beer

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Photography courtesy of BrewDog

For decades alcohol-free beer has been popular in Europe.

One driving factor behind this trend: tough drunk driving laws. In many European countries, consuming even one beer will put you over the limit. And the penalties for drunk driving are much more severe.

"Europeans have long had much more aggressive drunk driving laws than in the U.S., so people have gotten used to the idea of drinking NA beers when they are in situations where they have to drive," says Eric Ottoway, CEO at Brooklyn Brewery, which developed its own line of non-alcoholic beers called Special Effects. In fact, Brooklyn Brewery first launched its NA brand in Sweden (their biggest market outside of the U.S.) in 2018 before hitting the States in 2019.

"It's quite common to see colleagues getting together for afterwork drinks, and several of them have NA beers in their hands," says Ottoway.

Additionally, Europe has developed a NA beer culture: Europeans often drink very low-ABV or NA beers with lunch. "Europeans got used to NA beers being a part of everyday life, and therefore they focused on creating higher-quality offerings," says Ottoway. "As the craft beer movement in Europe matured, it was natural for European craft brewers to focus on NA beers as well."

Because of the popularity of NA beers in Europe, European Breweries like Mikkeller and BrewDog have been producing very successful full-bodied, flavorful non-alcoholic beer for years. 

BrewDog's Nanny State first came onto the scene more than a decade ago. But at the beginning of 2020 (pre-COVID), the brewery opened an alcohol-free bar in London, England, and expanded its line to include Punk AF, Elvis AF, Hazy AF, Wake Up Call, Lost AF, and Ghost Walker — all beers without alcohol.

According to James Hart, Head of Delivery at BrewDog, alcohol-free beers have been the fastest-growing category for BrewDog within their range, and he predicts that alcohol-free beers will continue to grow.

"In general, COVID-19 has made people think more about their health," he says. "Being at home means people can drink at home, but you can't do that every night (although it's tempting) because you'll feel and notice the difference."

Similarly, Mikkeller has been producing in the NA space for seven or eight years now.

Mikkeller's best-selling SKU is its NA wheat beer Drink'in The Sun, while the category as a whole happens to be its best-selling worldwide, making up close to thirty percent of its annual volume worldwide.

Whereas NA beer has flourished across the pond, alcohol-free beer has limped along here in America.

Americans Are Coming Around to Non-Alcoholic Beer

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Photography courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery

Eric Ottoway at Brooklyn Brewery cites American drink habits as one reason for the sluggish growth of NA beer.

"Virtually no one drinks at lunch in the U.S., so that's a whole NA beer occasion that's missing here," says Ottoway. "NA beer culture never really developed in the U.S. and therefore brewers never focused on it."

Now, however, as more and more Millennials crave beverages that are better-for-you, made for an active lifestyle, or lower in calories and lower in ABV, brewers have shifted attention onto non-alcoholic beverages. And they're making some pretty well-thought-out, well-crafted, and exciting iterations

Non-Alcoholic Only Breweries

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Photography courtesy of Rescue Club Brewing Company

Athletic Brewing Co., one of the most well-known completely NA breweries, has created several award-winning craft non-alcoholic options. "We wanted to break out of the cycle and make [non-alcoholic] beer something people were super excited about," says Bill Shufelt, co-founder of Athletic Brewing Co. "We use almost all organic malts, a great blend of hops, and I also think that there has never been anyone else as talented as John [Walker] and our brewing team focusing on it."

As a result, Athletic Brewing has one of the most diverse lineups, spanning from its flagship Run Wild IPA to its All Out Stout to more creative one-offs such as Thai IPA with coconut and Athletic ESB. And they're all alcohol free.

In January 2021, Rescue Club launched as an NA-only brewery. A project between Zero Gravity Craft Brewery in Burlington, VT, and former Citizen Cider Co-Founder Kris Nelson, Rescue Club strives to make high-quality, craft non-alcoholic beer.

"We want to chart our own course," says Nelson, current Co-Founder and Director of Sales for Rescue Club. "When people think of the best quality NA IPA, we want to be a part of that conversation."

Other notable North American non-alcoholic breweries that have popped-up on the radar include: WellBeing Brewing, Surreal Brewing Company, Partake Brewing, and Bravus Brewing Company.

But established American brands are also dipping their toes in the NA pool.

Big Craft Breweries Start Brewing Non-Alcoholic Beer

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Photography courtesy of Boston Beer Company

One of the first to release a non-alcoholic line here in the United States, Brooklyn Brewery set the tone for the potential of the NA category.

Brooklyn Brewery debuted Special Effects in Sweden on Dec. 1st, 2018. The hoppy lager had just a 0.4% ABV but huge flavor from a blend of pale, caramel, and dark roasted Munich malts. Plus, an intense hop character from dry-hopping with Mosaic, Citra, and Amarillo hops.

"Our goal is for Special Effects to allow you to do more without having to compromise. It used to be that flavor came with alcohol, so enjoying one meant having to deal with the other," says Ottoway. " That's great for many occasions, but when you don't want alcohol to be part of the equation, we want to give you the opportunity to still enjoy your favorite beverage. Do more, your way, on more occasions."

It's a philosophy other major brands have picked up on.

Sam Adams' NA beer Just The Haze NEIPA, which launched at the end of 2020 after two years of development, gives consumers transparency and allows them to drink one or two during the day without feeling guilty.

"We see Just The Haze as fitting into a beer drinker's life as a pacer beer, not sacrificing flavor or experience during a beer-drinking occasion," says Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Company. "It is a triumph of brewing technology and the brewer's art… We're defying the expectations and preconceived notions that come with yesterday's non-alcoholic beer."

Similarly, last May, Dogfish Head released its non-alcoholic wheat beer, Lemon Quest. Billed as a refreshing, active lifestyle-oriented, non-alcoholic alternative, Lemon Quest has real lemon puree, blueberry juice, acai berries, monk fruit, sea salt, and Hopsteiner Polyphenol-Rich Hop Pellets™. The beer clocks in at only 0.5% ABV and ninety calories per 12oz can.

What Is the Future of Non-Alcoholic Beer

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Photography courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery

The future of non-alcoholic beer comes down to one word: innovation.

Breweries focused solely on non-alcoholic beers continue to expand their portfolios. We've seen the styles of NA beer that include hazy IPAs, pale ales, blonde ales, wheat ales, kölschs, stouts, adjunct stouts, porters, and more.

Big breweries are also slowly growing their NA lineups.

So far, Brooklyn Brewery's Special Effects series has experienced success. According to Ottoway, Brooklyn Brewery's NA beers globally are now north of fourteen percent of the brewery's sales.

Based on the growth of Special Effects, Brooklyn Brewery announced two new additions to the series last month – Special Effects Pils and Special Effects Hazy IPA. Both new NA beers will be available alongside Special Effects Hoppy Amber and Special Effects IPA in the new Special Effects Variety Pack.

"We seem to have struck the right note," says Ottoway.

From an NA passionfruit gose from a European brewery to a hazy IPA from an all-NA American one, here are the current 11 Highest-Rated Non-Alcoholic Beers on Untappd in 2021.

1.  Free Gelato: Berries & Cream - Funky Fluid

2. Passion Pool Shallow - Mikkeller

3. Non-Alcoholic Juicy IPA - Untitled Art

4. Samuel Adams Just The Haze - Boston Beer Company

5.  Free Wave Hazy IPA - Athletic Brewing Company

6. Limbo Raspberry - Mikkeller

7. Intentional IPA - WellBeing Brewing

8. Limbo Riesling - Mikkeller

9. Holy Faith - Northern Monk

10. Run Wild IPA - Athletic Brewing Company

11. Ghost Walker - BrewDog USA

Powered by Untappd Data (minimum of 1,000 check-ins)

Looking for more? Check out Hop Culture's 17 Best Non-Alcoholic Beers to Drink for Dry January.

12 Best American IPAs of 2021

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Incredibly, for the eleventh year in a row the American IPA finished as the number one most checked-in style on Untappd with over 7.2 million check-ins in 2021. 

This classic, ubiquitous style continues to make its mark in United States history. So much so that we can probably safely say that the American IPA has become as iconic as baseball and apple pie.

It's hard to imagine a time when these floral, fruity, citrus-y, piney, resin-y beers weren't popular. 

But before the turn of the century, the words "American IPA" were as uncommon as "Chicago Cubs Win the World Series." 

In fact, dig into a couple major beer books of the time and you'll discover the dearth of American IPAs. Jack Erickson's Brewery Adventures in the Wild West (1991) only listed 3 IPAs out of 235 beers presented in the book. While Jennifer Trainer Thompson's The Great American Microbrewery Beer Book (1997) included only 8 IPAs out of 187 beers listed in the book.

Much like America itself, the American IPA style is relatively young, emerging with the American Craft Beer Movement in the 1970s. And one that American brewers wanted to use to differentiate themselves from their British counterparts. Whereas British IPAs are more like pale ales -- less hoppy -- American IPAs have bigger grain bills and tons of fresh hops. 

Anchor Brewing probably made one of the first mainstream versions when they brewed Liberty Ale in 1975. In fact, Anchor claims this beer to be the first post-Prohibition American IPA, brewed to commemorate Paul Revere's ride in 1775. Full of Cascade hops, Liberty Ale kicked off what would eventually become a revolution. 

But like many revolutions, this one took time. 

To put it quite simply: The early versions of the style were just too bitter for American's light lager-loving palettes. Still, some managed to set the tone in the 1990s.

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Such as Lagunitas IPA introduced in 1995. 

Stone Brewing's Stone IPA brewed to celebrate Stone's first anniversary in 1997. 

And Bell's Two Hearted Ale launched in 1997, but only as a seasonal. It wouldn't be until six years later that Bell's would finally make the now-iconic, award-winning, American IPA a year-round offering. 

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Consequently, as we turned the corner on the early aughts, brewers started to seriously experiment with the flavor and aroma profiles of hops. As a result, another bevy of well-known breweries jumped on the hoppy bandwagon. 

Dogfish Head pioneered its 60 Minute IPA in 2003.

Firestone Walker brewed its first IPA -- Union Jack -- in 2006.

Sierra Nevada added Torpedo Extra IPA to its lineup in 2008. 

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And Ballast Point released one of its most prolific beers -- Sculpin IPA -- in 2008

The list goes on. And the style grew from just a trend to a full-blown phenomenon. 

Today, every brewery big and small probably makes at least one version of an American IPA. Okay, most likely more than one. Breweries like Tree House Brewing Co., The Alchemist, and Trillium Brewing Company have achieved cult-like status for making some of the best American IPAs in the United States. 

From an American classic to a real "banger," here are the current 12 Highest-Rated American IPAs on Untappd in 2021.

1. Julius - Tree House Brewing Company

2. Spruceplosion - 49th State Brewing Company

3. Focal Banger - The Alchemist

4. TDH Alien Church (Citra & Galaxy) - Tired Hands Brewing Company

5.  Green - Tree House Brewing Company

6. Bank Hotel - Brasserie du Bas-Canada

7. Susan - Hill Farmstead Brewery

8. Solstice IPA - 49th State Brewing Company

9. Alter Ego  - Tree House Brewing Company

10. Double Dry Hopped Summer Street - Trillium Brewing Company

11. Pallet Jack IPA™ - Barley Brown's Beer

12. Mass Riot IPA - Prison City Pub & Brewery

Powered by Untappd Data (minimum of 1,000 check-ins)

Looking for more? Check out Untappd's Highest-Rated Session IPAs and Highest-Rated Double / Imperial IPAs of 2021

Drinking Socially Season Finale!

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Drinking Socially podcast hosts Harrison Hickok and Jon Dispenza cap off another successful season of Drinking Socially with a nightcap…of lager. 

Season four of Drinking Socially - what Harrison and Jon dubbed, 'the official year of the lager' - has officially wrapped! 

How many beers did they drink? What styles did they check in the most? Where did they imbibe often? They finally know the answer because Year in Beer 2021 went live last week. 

Each year Untappd engineers help you round up an ultimate list of your drinking statistics for the year. Read about your own Year in Beer here.  

Looking for more? Check out Untappd's Top 10 Beers of 2021, Top 10 Breweries of 2021, Top 10 Styles of 2021, and Top 10 Cities of 2021

In the meantime relive Harrison and Jon's greatest drinking moments of the year in this week's episode. Since we're reminiscing, drink any beer featured on a Drinking Socially episode in 2021 to unlock the Drinking Socially Badge - Season 4. 

How to earn the badge: From January 20, 2021 - January 19, 2022, check-in one beer that Jon and Harrison review on Drinking Socially in Season 4. Level up with every additional unique check-in that they review. Disclaimer: The Drinking Socially (2021) badge is retroactive for the year, so some levels award retroactively. These retroactive levels do not display on the check-in. If you had a check-in of a beer this year that is now active on the badge, a level will be awarded retroactively to the check-in.

WATCH THE NEWEST EPISODE OF DRINKING SOCIALLY

Hop Culture's 21 Best Beers of 2021

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Photography courtesy of John A. Paradiso

Could this be one of Hop Culture's most exciting pieces of the year? While they love putting together the best breweries of 2021the best new breweries of 2021, and the best beer labels of 2021, this is certainly one of the most incredible and humbling for them to write. Because in this piece, they look back on twelve months of tastings to round up the best craft beers of 2021.

Plus, this year, they decided to call in the help of a few of their friends: Todd Alström of BeerAdvocate, a couple of our colleagues at Next Glass, Roman Estareja aka @theyoungcraftenthusiast, and Milan Freeman aka @gurl.lost. Each brought a unique perspective to this roundup!

With over 9,000 breweries open across the country making countless beers it's impossible to drink everything. And certainly a challenge to name some of the best. But Hop Culture and Co. was up to the task. Read on to discover Hop Culture's 21 Best Beers of 2021

HOP CULTURE'S 21 BEST BEERS OF 2021

The 12 Best Breweries of 2021, According to Hop Culture

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Of all the Hop Culture pieces that people look forward to each year, one of the most popular is their list of the best breweries of the year. Last year, they gave the "Best Brewery of 2020" award to Weathered Souls Brewing in San Antonio, TX. In their 2019 piece, they gave the award to Vitamin Sea Brewing in Weymouth, MA. In 2018, they called Threes Brewing in Brooklyn, NY, their best brewery of the year.

This list is different from their "Best New Breweries of the Year", and it's different from Untappd's Top Breweries of 2021, which ranks breweries based on the most number of check-ins. Simply put, this tally has no qualifiers. To clarify this list means that out of all the breweries in the world, Hop Culture picked the ones they thought were the best — period.

This year to get a representative list, they called on some friends in the industry from different backgrounds and geographies. Of course, any "best" list is open to interpretation, so take these picks with a grain of salt. 

From an underrated Mexican brewery to a Native, woman, Queer-owned brewery in New Mexico here are Hop Culture's picks for the 12 Best Breweries of 2021

FIND OUT HOP CULTURE'S 12 BEST BREWERIES OF 2021

The Top 10 Cities of 2021

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Presented by Oznr

We wrap up our series of Untappd Year in Beer for 2021 by taking a look at the top ten cities of the year based on the total number of venue check-ins globally*. But first, don't forget to check out the top ten breweries of 2021, the top ten styles of 2021, and the top ten beers of 2021!

Check out what cities you checked into most based on venues this past year. For many of these cities our friends at Hop Culture curated their own travel guides, so we included links to those under the corresponding cities. Read those guides to see Hop Culture's recommendations for the best breweries, taprooms, and bars to visit in each city!

*Top Cities based on venue check-ins.

10. Seattle, WA, USA 🇺🇸 

Seattle may be known as a rainy city, but this year it seems to be raining venue check-ins. Hitting tenth on the list with 222k venue check-ins is Seattle, WA in the United States. The popular Pacific Northwest city has helped the entire state of Washington rank fifth in the country in number of craft breweries in 2020 according to the most recent data from the Brewers Association. Specifically, Seattle's Ballard Brewery District has become a destination for craft beer drinkers, sporting nearly a dozen breweries and taprooms within a one-mile radius. Across the entire city breweries such as Reuben's Brews, Fair Isle Brewing, Fremont Brewing, Holy Mountain Brewing Company, Cloudburst Brewing Company, and The Good Society Brewery & Public House are heralded as some of the best. 

Check out Hop Culture's 7 Best Breweries in Seattle, WA.

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The Top 10 Beers of 2021

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Presented by Oznr

It's the list we've all been waiting for -- the Top 10 Beers of 2021 based on check-ins from around the world. For our third post in our series of Untappd Year in Beer for 2021, we're taking a look at the top ten beers of the year based on the total number of check-ins globally. But first, don't forget to check out the top ten breweries of 2021 and the top ten styles of 2021!

Check out what beers you checked into most this past year.

Looking for the best places to buy these beers? Our friends at Hop Culture rounded up the Best Sites to Buy Beer Online. 

10. Traditional Lager - Yuengling Brewery

A newcomer to the top beers list in 2021, Yuengling's Traditional Lager overtakes last year's tenth-spot winner, Sierra Nevada's Hazy Little Thing. At over 78k check-ins, the beer famous for its rich amber color and subtly sweet, roasted caramel notes proves that an OG lager deserves to be a top checked-in beer. 

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The Top 10 Styles of 2021

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Presented by Oznr

Are we all still crazy for hazy? Is this the year of the lager? We're about to find out. For our second post in our series of Untappd Year in Beer for 2021, we're taking a look at the top ten styles of 2021 based on the total number of check-ins. But first, don't forget to read about the top ten breweries of 2021 here!

Check out what styles you checked into most this past year.

10. Pilsner - Other 

A complete newcomer to the Top Styles list, pilsner is a style we're so excited to see here. Crisp and crushable, pilsners are a pale lager first produced by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll in 1842. Historically featuring the noble Saaz hop, pilsners come in all variations today. It's amazing to see over one million check-ins for the humble pilsner this year. The highest-rated beer in the "pilsner - other" category was Cabana Pils from Suarez Family Brewery. Join us in welcoming pilsner to Untappd's Top Styles list of 2021! 

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The Top 10 Breweries of 2021

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Presented by Oznr

Where did the world drink in 2021? This year, cities across the globe began to slowly emerge from hibernation. And with that, people ventured to taprooms in masks. And parked themselves in parklets outside while ordering beers by scanning QR codes on tables. We began to drink with each other at breweries across the world again. Fittingly, in our first post in our series of Untappd Year in Beer for 2021, we're taking a look at the top ten breweries of 2021 based on the total number of check-ins globally. 

Check out what breweries you checked into most this past year!

10. Equilibrium Brewery 🇺🇸

A complete newcomer to the Top Breweries list, Equilibrium rounds out the top ten with over 415k check-ins in 2021. The Upstate New York-based brewery has always taken a scientific approach to brewing hazy IPAs, which could be a reason we saw them crack the top ten this year. It also helped that relaxed regulations allowed Equilibrium to expand its footprint by shipping beer across the country to major states like Washington, D.C., New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and more. 

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Kentucky Breweries Lend a Hand After Deadly Storms. Here’s How You Can Help Too!

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Photography courtesy of Gasper Brewing Co. 

Over the weekend a series of deadly tornadoes ripped through the state of Kentucky. The storm killed dozens and destoryed many buildings and businesses

In the aftermath, many Kentucky breweries stepped up, pitching in to help with the clean up and raising money to support those affected in their communities. 

Breweries like Gasper Brewing in Bowling Green that collected supplies for residents whose homes were destroyed in the storm. As of Wednesday Dec. 15th Gasper Brewing reports that they've delivered over 500 supply boxes and made several hundred free hot meals.

Or Ethereal Brewing in Lexington and Against the Grain in Louisville that helped the Kentucky Guild of Brewers (KGB) create 120 boxes of provisions that went out to fifty families, reports Brewbound. Additionally, Ethereal Brewing stated on its Instagram that they will be donating seventy-five percent of all sales from to-go beer to the Western Kentucky Relief Fund through Christmas. 

Durham-based Hi-Wire Brewing, which has a taproom in Louisville, sent out a call to its followers through Instagram to collect supplies. Unfortunately, the brewery recently posted on Instagram that three people burglarized their Baxter Avenue taproom the morning of Dec. 15th, 2021, taking donated items and merchandise. The brewery is asking for your help if you have any information please call the Louisville Metro Police Department anonymous tip line at (502) 574-5673

And Louisville-based Goodwood Brewing and Spirits set up a special donation to the Warren County Red Cross and Warren County Humane Society. The brewery pledged to send a dollar from every pint sold this past weekend to those organizations. 

Additionally, Gopuff, an e-commerce site that delivers food, home essentials, and alcohol, donated $100,000 to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, Gopuff acquired Liquor Barn this past June. The Louisville-based alcohol retail chain has twenty-three locations throughout Kentucky. 

"As soon as we heard the news, we knew we needed to act quickly to help these impacted communities," Gopuff co-founder and co-CEO Yakir Gola said in a press release. "When the communities we serve need help, Gopuff will be there. We also urge our consumers to donate to Team Western Kentucky Relief Fund." 

This terrible storm comes at the end of another challenging year. But it has been encouraging and empowering to see the brewing community come together to help provide aid and support. 

"It's been a terrible couple of days, but the one thing I will say is, the brewing community – it's not just bars and alcohol, right?" said Derek Selznick, the executive director of the Kentucky Guild of Brewers, in an article for Brewbound. "It is literally being a community space. For example, at Gasper Brewing, family members were meeting each other in Bowling Green finding out if they were safe or not. So, to say that I am proud to be a part of this community is an understatement."

Wondering How You Can Help?

If you'd like to help contribute to the aid and relief efforts in Kentucky please consider donating to one of the following organizations or dropping off supplies at one of the Kentucky breweries listed below. 

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Photography courtesy of Blue Holler Brew Supplies

Donate Directly

Blue Holler Brew Supplies GoFundMe Campaign - The recent storms in Kentucky completely destroyed this local Bowling Green-based homebrew store and taproom. The shop has been a pillar of the beer community in Southern Kentucky. Often staying open on Thanksgiving and Christmas to serve homemade meals to those in need. You can donate directly to Blue Holler Brew Supplies' GoFundMe page to help with their rebuilding efforts. 

DONATE HERE

Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund - Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear set up this fund over the weekend to provide assistance for those in the state affected by the tornados and storms. 

DONATE HERE

The Lee Initiative - The LEE Initiative stands for Let's Empower Employment. The organization strives to bring more equality and diversity in the restaurant industry. The Lee Initiative has set up a campaign to donate to Western Kentucky disaster relief. 

DONATE HERE

Drop Off Provisions and Supplies

If you live in the area consider dropping off supplies and provisions at the following breweries. Each will be collecting donations. Please check each brewery's Instagram account for the most up-to-date information. 

Participating Breweries: 

Against the Grain - both the Against the Grain Smokehouse (401 E. Main St. Louisville, KY 40202) and the Against the Grain Brewery and Public House (1576 Bardstown Rd. Louisville, KY 40205) will serve as donation drop-off spots

LEARN MORE

Gasper Brewing (302 State St. Bowling Green, KY 42101) - is continuing to collect donation items and receive financial donations via Venmo and Paypal to purchase supplies, make free hot meals, and cover other expenses. For Venmo donations use @gasperbrewing and for Paypal donations use [email protected]

LEARN MORE

Ethereal Brewing (1224 Manchester St. Lexington, KY 40504) - has set up a blue bin outside it's front door, courtesy of Operation: Secret Santa Toy & Food Drive. You can stop by and donate new or gently used toys and non-perishable food items. Plus, Ethereal Brewing will be donating seventy-five percent of all sales from to-go beer to the Western Kentucky Relief Fund through Christmas. 

LEARN MORE

Items needed include: 

- Diapers, Baby Formula

- Toothbrushes, Toothpaste

- Soap/Bleach

- Disinfectant wipes/cleaners

- Detergent

- Paper towels

- Toilet Paper

- Paper Towels

- Tissue Boxes

- Zip lock bags

- Garbage bags

- Socks

- Gloves/Scarves/Knit hats

- Blankets

- Batteries

- Non-Perishable Food Items

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