What is the number 1 beer in California?

Answered by Arthur Reyes

As an expert sommelier and brewer, I have had the pleasure of trying numerous beers from all over California. It is a state known for its rich culture and diverse scene. While it is difficult to crown just one beer as the number one in California, there are a few that stand out for their exceptional quality, popularity, and impact on the beer industry.

One of the top contenders for the number one beer in California is Pliny the Elder by Russian River Company. This beer has achieved legendary status among beer enthusiasts and is highly sought after. Pliny the Elder is an Imperial that is known for its intense hop character, balanced backbone, and superb craftsmanship. It showcases the bold and hop-forward style that has become synonymous with California IPAs. With its complex flavors, smooth bitterness, and impeccable balance, Pliny the Elder has become a benchmark for hoppy beers not only in California but also across the country.

Another strong contender for the top beer in California is the legendary Sierra Nevada Pale . This beer has been a trailblazer in the craft beer movement and is often hailed as one of the most influential beers in American brewing history. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a classic American pale ale that is known for its hop-forward character, showcasing the Cascade that give it its signature citrusy and floral aroma. It is a well-balanced beer with a solid malt backbone that complements the hop bitterness, making it a favorite among both beer novices and seasoned enthusiasts.

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company is another iconic California beer that deserves mention. It is a historic beer style that originated in San Francisco and has been brewed by Anchor since 1896. Anchor Steam Beer is a unique hybrid style that combines elements of lagers and ales, resulting in a beer with a crisp and clean profile, yet with a complex and flavorful character. It is known for its deep amber color, rich maltiness, and subtle hop bitterness. Anchor Steam Beer has played a significant role in preserving and popularizing California's brewing heritage.

Moving on to the craft beer scene, one cannot overlook the influence of Firestone Walker Brewing Company. Their flagship beer, Firestone Walker 805, has gained a massive following and has become one of the top-selling craft beers in the state. Firestone Walker 805 is a light and refreshing blonde ale that offers a smooth and easy-drinking experience. It is a versatile beer that appeals to a wide range of palates, making it a go-to choice for many Californians.

In addition to these notable beers, California is home to an abundance of exceptional breweries and a wide variety of beer styles. From the hop-forward West Coast IPAs to the innovative and experimental brews coming out of smaller craft breweries, there is something for every beer lover in California.

It's important to note that taste preferences can vary greatly, and what I consider the number one beer in California may be different from someone else's opinion. The beauty of the beer world lies in its subjectivity, and exploring different breweries and beer styles is part of the joy of being a beer enthusiast.

While it is challenging to crown just one beer as the number one in California, Pliny the Elder, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Anchor Steam Beer, and Firestone Walker 805 are all exceptional beers that have made a significant impact on the California beer scene. However, the true number one beer ultimately depends on personal preferences and the ever-evolving craft beer landscape in California.