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Mississippi fullfilling its proud tradition
August 26, 2014 8:41 AM   Subscribe

US states, ranked by beer.
posted by MartinWisse (66 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Have they ever been to New Mexico?
No, we’re not going to make a Breaking Bad joke. But we are going to ding New Mexico for being hot as balls, which makes drinking a thick, delicious microbrew extra difficult. Also making it difficult is the fact that, despite the efforts of great brewers like La Cumbre and Chama River, nobody thinks of beer when they think of New Mexico. Except maybe Schraderbrau. And... DAMMIT!
There are mountains here, and a chance for great summer storms. It's only hot as balls if you don't get north of I-10. De La Vega's Pecan Beer is delicious, and the Imperial Java Stout by Santa Fe Brewing Company is rated as "outstanding" by Beer Advocate, and I concur. But I'll take that #30 ranking proudly, as it means we're not ranked last, or battling it out with Mississippi for worst in something.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:48 AM on August 26 [4 favorites]


Badly, too. #3 should be #1; there is no sense in which Oregon beer is better than Colorado beer. Probably more to the point, half of these rankings seem to be rankings not of the quality of beer but of what a state's beer reputation is – is there anything more silly? "... despite the efforts of great brewers like La Cumbre and Chama River, nobody thinks of beer when they think of New Mexico." Who the hell cares what people "think of?" The beer is good! La Cumbre is as good as the best breweries in California, that's for damned sure.
posted by koeselitz at 8:49 AM on August 26 [4 favorites]


'Gansett isn't even brewed in RI anymore and hasn't been for quite a while, excepting the "craft" beers associated with the brand (which are mostly terrible -- although the Narragansett Coffee Milk Stout is pretty tolerable, but that's about it). There's a lot more beer in RI than 'Gansett. This makes me suspect of the amount of effort that went into this list.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:50 AM on August 26 [5 favorites]


8. Pennsylvania
Tröegs, Stoudt’s, Yards, Victory, Voodoo, Sly Fox, Weyerbacher: all always fantastic.


This is not even close to being correct. I used to live about three miles from Stoudt's, and I still wouldn't buy their crap. Victory and Troeg's have a lot of lousy beers, too.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:55 AM on August 26


This list is bad and I feel bad for reading it.

No great Georgia beer? I'm gonna go open up a Creature Comforts Tropicalia and an Orpheus Atalanta just so I can sit here and say, "I refute you thusly." Then I'm gonna drink them. So, I win. Twice.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:55 AM on August 26 [5 favorites]


I think there's a problem with nationally ranking states based on local breweries. It's like ranking colleges based on who has the best intramural dodge ball. It's not about who has the best teams, it's about having fun while having a cold one!
posted by rebent at 8:56 AM on August 26 [2 favorites]


I might put PA above Vermont and Washington, otherwise I can't really argue.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:58 AM on August 26


Like all clickbait beer ranking, I hate this and feel bad for dignifying it with a response.

But...

Mentioning Boscos for Tennessee is just weird. Sure they've been around a long time but it's a tiny brewpub that doesn't distribute outside of their own walls. They could have mentioned Blackstone, which has also been around a long time, or any of the many many newer Tennessee breweries like:

Jackalope, Fat Bottom, Calfkiller, Cool Springs Brewing, Tennessee Brew Works, Czanns, Little Harpeth, Mayday, Turtle Anarchy, Chattanooga Brewing Company, Black Abbey...and more.
posted by ghharr at 9:00 AM on August 26 [3 favorites]


There's a lot more beer in RI than 'Gansett.

Yeah, but all of it is kinda bad last I checked. Which is to say -- someone go there and open a good microbrewery?
posted by likeatoaster at 9:00 AM on August 26 [3 favorites]


Oh and Stoudt's is awesome we are gonna have to fight now Chry. *assumes Karate Kid crane kick stance*
posted by Drinky Die at 9:00 AM on August 26 [2 favorites]


This entire list seemed like an excuse to give Oregon a giant handjob.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:05 AM on August 26 [4 favorites]


I'm not an avid beer fan, but there are several good microbreweries here in Nebraska and I kinda doubt the person making the list knows that they exist, let alone has tried them to see if they qualify as good or not.
posted by PussKillian at 9:06 AM on August 26 [2 favorites]


There's a lot more beer in RI than 'Gansett. This makes me suspect of the amount of effort that went into this list.

Really? Compared to any other state in New England, RI has a really lousy native craft beer selection.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 9:08 AM on August 26


RI has plenty of good beer for a state its size:

FoolProof
Trinity
Coastal Extreme
posted by grubby at 9:11 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


No sense splitting hairs because lists like that miss the point.

The point of all those beers is, when you're somewhere you've never been before and might never be again, you get a beer that only exists there, too. And you enjoy it because of where you are - not in comparison to everywhere else in the world.

There's no sense comparing some local Tennessee brew to some Oregon ale because you're never going to have to choose between the two and because who gives a shit you're missing the point of enjoying beer and enjoying life.
posted by entropone at 9:11 AM on August 26 [13 favorites]


It basically all comes from Portland, a beer boomlet that challenges even its West Coast namesake

Check your history, guy. East Coast came first.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:11 AM on August 26 [4 favorites]


This entire list seemed like an excuse to give Oregon a giant handjob.

So, I agree that this isn't a great list….you could put something like this together based on population, availability of brews, indexed with beeradvocate scores.

But I still think my lovely home-state of Oregon would be in the top 5 easy, if only because there's good beer everywhere. It's not even hard to find. I live in a really shitty neighborhood of Portland, and I've got a really nice selection of craft 22's and a growler fill station at my local (read; my wife doesn't feel comfortable going there, and I don't even let my kid tag along) mini mart. My local bar has some really good beers on rotation, and not just your typical stuff. Low rent bar slinging pretty nice, midrange beer. The lack of hunting for quality beer is really pleasant. Its actually pretty remarkable when I get a 'bad' beer, not one that I don't like, but just a gross beer. It doesn't really happen.

Also, it's cheap here. Not as cheap as like, Wyoming (wtf are you guys doing there? Its cheaper to buy beer than it is to buy wonderbread). Bars are cheap. 6 Packs are cheap. There's good cheap stuff. We lived in Maine for a little over a year, and we were blown away at how much a pint cost at a bar. It was insane! Even local brews in bombers or 6 packs were waaaaay more expensive than in Oregon. The whole NE corner of the country seems to be like this, for no obvious reason. I mean the tax rates are a bit different, but even down in Mass they're charging Thunderdome prices for beer in bars. I had some truly amazing beers in the NE during our stint there, but in terms of quality, they were double, sometimes triple the cost of a comparable beer back home.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:12 AM on August 26


Ahhhh OK thanks for clarifying. Because, I hadn't heard about how orgasmic beer is in Portland in the last 8 minutes.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:20 AM on August 26 [2 favorites]


North Carolina's low standing on the list obviates the rest of it.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:21 AM on August 26 [4 favorites]


Pretty lazy list if you ask me. They missed so many micros in the Midwest it's criminal. At least it wasn't presented as a slideshow.
posted by Ber at 9:22 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


> Have they ever been to New Mexico?

Having just stood in front of an extremely well-stocked fridge of craft beers in Washington, DC regretting my return to humidity and trying to will a six-pack of Santa Fe's Happy Camper IPA into existence, I was going to make the same remark.
posted by Westringia F. at 9:22 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


BE'RE NUMBER 9! BE'RE NUMBER 9!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:22 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


ITT: a lot of people offended that their state isn't #1 on an opinion piece about beer.
posted by Redfield at 9:22 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


FWIW, I haven't been to North Carolina in maybe fifteen years. I just happen to work in the beer industry and have informed opinions.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:25 AM on August 26


Because, I hadn't heard about how orgasmic beer is in Portland in the last 8 minutes.

I tried to substantiate the fact that Oregon has large quantities of good beer, that is cheap, compared to other regions of the US. There's a level of accessibility when it comes to quality beer here in Oregon that many other states don't necessarily have. Thats all I was trying to convey.

There's really good beer in every region of the US. Sometimes it is harder to find, and sometimes it is very expensive. Oxbow is a really good example; phenomenal beer. Their Heritage IPA has yet to be knocked from my top five favorite beers of all time; It was really expensive. Its a straight medium-difficulty to find, even in the state where its brewed. And thats a bummer. Their capacity is growing, but their market is still really small, so the availability just isn't always there.

In the NE, those cheap to mid-range beers are really hit or miss; you can't just cruise into a mini mart and blindly pick up something that's better than average…you can do that in Oregon, even in small towns away from city centers. It's quite impressive from a distribution standpoint.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:31 AM on August 26


FoolProof, Trinity, Coastal Extreme

Trinity, while decent, is a brew pub that fills Growlers; they don't distribute as far as I know. I'm not sure you can compare to the others on the list. I think Newport Storm is pretty lousy beer, but it is an option. FoolProof looks interesting, I'll have to pick up a 6-pack.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 9:32 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


I know other people have mentioned this, but the list is very bad
posted by Greg Nog at 9:40 AM on August 26


Drinky Die: "Oh and Stoudt's is awesome we are gonna have to fight now Chry. *assumes Karate Kid crane kick stance*"

YMMV, of course. But I found Lancaster Brewing Company stuff to be a lot better, if you wanted to be super-local. Also, I had a really terrible chicken pot pie at the Stoudt's eatery, so I am biased.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:45 AM on August 26


Wisconsin may no longer be #1 in making beers, but we're still #1 in binge drinking.
The general alcohol consumption rate for the state is 30 percent higher than the national average.
posted by desjardins at 9:45 AM on August 26


Mississippi is only starting to get fully-operating breweries into the state after changing state law to allow higher-alcoholic content beers to be sold here, so... Bah to the utterly lazy reportage here.
posted by raysmj at 9:51 AM on August 26 [3 favorites]


New Mexico sucks, it's hot, cartels, meth, scorpions, no good beers and the food is awful, we are full, please go away, thanks, bye.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 9:51 AM on August 26 [3 favorites]


It's pronounced Ory-gun.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:55 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


Natty Boh is made in Milwaukee. It says so on the can. I guess it used to be brewed in Baltimore. Shrug.

Thrillist is kind of lame. It's like the dude-bro's Buzzfeed, gussied up to seem flashy.
posted by discopolo at 9:58 AM on August 26


Any list that has Vermont finishing outside the top 5 is a list penned by a madman.
posted by Mayor West at 10:04 AM on August 26 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but all of it is kinda bad last I checked.

Well, yeah, mostly, but better than 'Gansett.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:08 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


Trinity does produce a bottled IPA. It's mostly distributed in RI, I think, but maybe in MA and CT, too.

Foolproof has some pretty good beers and there brewery tour is worth the effort. I like some Newport Storm beers, but they have a tendency to go insane and stuff fruit into everything for months on end, so it's kind of seasonal for me. Grey Sail is OK. I have heard nothing about Bucket and Ravenous (who knew there was a brewery in Woonsocket?), and I guess there are a couple of other starting up. So, yeah, RI beer is a lot more than Gansett.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:11 AM on August 26


Crap list but absolutely 100% right about Hill Farmstead, though. (Except for the origin story. I like it and the place really is a creaky old barn on the the outside and modestly impressive on the inside in Bum Fuck Nowhere.)
posted by Kitteh at 10:13 AM on August 26


YMMV, of course. But I found Lancaster Brewing Company stuff to be a lot better, if you wanted to be super-local. Also, I had a really terrible chicken pot pie at the Stoudt's eatery, so I am biased.

*crane kicks face* Winner! Violence solves everything!
posted by Drinky Die at 10:14 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


DC Brau's logo "Fermentation Without Representation" is doubly appropriate here, considering that the District of Columbia is absent in this listing of states.
posted by exogenous at 10:14 AM on August 26


GenjiandProust: Bucket is in the building in which I work. They're actually pretty good -- they have an excellent maple stout that tastes more resin-y than sweet. I remember their porter being really tasty, too, but I don't think they're very well distributed -- I haven't seen them in a store, I don't think. Maybe Bottles?
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:16 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


Ahhhh OK thanks for clarifying. Because, I hadn't heard about how orgasmic beer is in Portland in the last 8 minutes.

Really?
{Pulls up a bar stool}
Ok, well, we should probably start with a history of brewing in America...
====

But seriously, though, furnace.heart is right. Craft beer in Oregon is so ubiquitous at this point, it's part of the landscape, in a way that you don't generally see in the rest of the U.S.
Podunk convenience store, in the middle of nowhere with a leaking ice chest, they'll have a row of micros above the 30-packs of bud.
Generic office park deli, serving pre-made Sysco sandwiches, if they have beer, they'll have a micro.
Hell, the movie mega-plex at the mall has Ninkasi on tap.
We've even gone so full-circle, we have places that specifically _don't_ sell local beer. As a distinguishing characteristic.


I'm not claiming it's all great beer, some of it is pretty bad, but it is definitely part of the fabric of the state.
posted by madajb at 10:18 AM on August 26


Redfield: “ITT: a lot of people offended that their state isn't #1 on an opinion piece about beer.”

Well, like I said above, I don't care as much about that as the fact that the list is clearly and blatantly based on stupid things. You would expect a piece headlined "Every state in the USA, ranked by its beer" to actually, er, discuss the quality of beers from various places – wouldn't you? But this list is about a completely different thing: the reputation of beers from various places. The authors literally say that New Mexico has great beer, but it's hot (?) and people don't think there's good beer there (??) so it gets a low ranking. Hawaii gets rated low because the authors are not in Hawaii – that is actually what they say about it. And the ranking of Tennessee...

“Whiskey, yes. Country music? Yep. Connie Britton’s charismatic turn as fading Nashville star Rayna Jaymes? Oh hell yes! Beer? Meh. That’s not to say that there’s not great beer -- what up, Nashville’s Yazoo and Memphis’s Boscos -- but the drop from great to mediocre is steeper than a Smoky Mountain cliff face. Plus, ain’t nobody -- not even Rayna Jaymes -- ever wrote a classic country song while drinking a fancy porter.”

This doesn't even begin to make sense to me. Apparently the fact that there's crappy beer too negates the presence of great beer? What exactly are we ranking here? And they end by saying, again, that Tennessee isn't a great beer state because nobody thinks of Tennessee as a great beer state. That's utterly ridiculous, isn't it? A bunch of the other entries talk about state ABV restrictions and homebrew regulations, which – uh, okay, but aren't we supposed to be ranking the quality of beer here?
posted by koeselitz at 10:22 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


I have spent quality time drinking beer in WA, CA, OR, and MI and it would be hard to place one over the other. They all have fantastic craft brews. CA is so massive that it probably is the best, for sheer diversity and volume, although I wonder how that will change as water prices continue to rise.
posted by cell divide at 10:24 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


They pegged Florida pretty well. Funky Buddha does great brews, and Cigar City is fucking fantastic. I'm disappointed there is little else in the southeast, otherwise I'd start planning road trips to regional breweries.
posted by I am the Walrus at 10:25 AM on August 26


likeatoaster: Yeah, but all of it is kinda bad last I checked. Which is to say -- someone go [to Rhode Island] and open a good microbrewery?

Yep: Foolproof, Gray Sail, Bucket Brewery, and plenty of others. Sheesh!
posted by wenestvedt at 10:31 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


Hmmm, I notice that there is a Rhode Island Brew Bus. Maybe we should plan a meetup....
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:33 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


If anyone wishes to really get down to comparing beer production on a state-by-state basis, here is a wonderfully fun interactive infographic from the Brewers' Association. Just select a state from the dropdown, and the chart will tell you number of breweries, economic impact, production by barrel, and other interesting information.
posted by koeselitz at 10:33 AM on August 26 [3 favorites]


Regarding his Massachusetts writeup, I pretty much agree with the ranking, but I'll take Mayflower and Pretty Things over Jack's Abby and Clown Shoes any day.
posted by A dead Quaker at 10:48 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


considering that the District of Columbia is absent in this listing of states.

Uh, it should be absent in a listing of states, yes? Much like Puerto Rico and Guam?
posted by craven_morhead at 11:07 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


More on the changes afoot in Mississippi, thanks to a 2012 law change. It's still a poor state, without the big tourist draws of some other socially conservative states--say, Utah, although the state's longest-operating brewery, Lazy Magnolia of Kiln MS, is widely available in the New Orleans market. So the verdict is out on whether the market is open to many breweries, long term. Anyway, the number of breweries is now up to eight, with more likely planned, although in-state brewing operations are just really getting started or nearing completion in a few cases listed there.
posted by raysmj at 11:16 AM on August 26 [4 favorites]


I mean, I know rankings lists are written for the sole purpose of raising ire and clicks, but it does seem odd that the contributors of said list don't actually talk about actually, like, drinking the beer of the states they are ranking.

I guess I take this about as seriously as I would a ranking of states by music done by someone who hasn't actually listened to the music they're talking about, but they've read about it a bit.
posted by Think_Long at 11:38 AM on August 26 [2 favorites]


I was surprised North Carolina was so far down the list. I lived out there for a few months this past year and they were all about their beer in a similar way to Portland. Maybe it was just the area I was in though (in and around Asheville.)

I was also surprised to move back to RI this spring and find that there were breweries popping up everywhere.
posted by geegollygosh at 12:21 PM on August 26


Yeah, Asheville is beer central.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:24 PM on August 26


This list is awful. But it includes the two breweries in Akron, which makes it good. In conclusion, click bait articles are a study in contrasts.
posted by slogger at 12:35 PM on August 26


Completely aside from the beer, "Indy" should only be used as a short form for Indianapolis, never for Indiana, as the author does here. (And none of the Indiana beers he mentions are from Indianapolis, so it can't reasonably be argued that by "Indy" he meant Indianapolis.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:32 PM on August 26


In conclusion, beer is a land of contrasts.
posted by The Legit Republic of Blanketsburg at 2:36 PM on August 26 [2 favorites]


Yeah, listicles suck and etc. But Alaska should have been rated higher than #25 simply on the basis of Hopothermia,, one of the most complex beers I've ever had. The liquor store guy on the corner, more of a beer connoisseur than I am, agrees. I hate to cheerlead for another state, since I am a Coloradan, but we're in the top five as we should be. We're touted here for a few beers, including a new sour beer brewery, which I'll avoid. I'm a hop boy.
posted by kozad at 3:08 PM on August 26


RI has plenty of good beer for a state its size

Pffft. If you have more than one Representitive, there's no excuse.
posted by maryr at 3:28 PM on August 26


One of my favorite things about Minnesota is the local beers, but my most favorite thing is living an hour from the Wisconsin border so I can maintain a steady supply of New Glarus (which I can buy there in GAS STATIONS. On SUNDAY!
posted by padraigin at 5:58 PM on August 26


+1 for mentioning Founder's, +1 for Three Floyds.
posted by Zerowensboring at 8:31 PM on August 26


MartinWisse, coming up with a headline like "Mississippi fullfilling its proud tradition" because it has the fewest microbrews would be like me saying "Holland fullfilling its proud tradition" because they still run around in blackface over there once a year.

Actually, mine might be more accurate.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:43 PM on August 26 [2 favorites]


Now Martin, I know that's a kinda mean comment, and please don't take it personally: obviously I have no idea how you feel about or where you stand on all that Zwarte Piet stuff… it's just that Mississippi gets dumped on so heavily and so often that, well, it can get a little tiresome, after all. It's such an easy target. But goddammit, Mississippi gave the world THE BLUES fer chrissake. And that IS one hell of a proud tradition.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:41 PM on August 26 [2 favorites]


Before the 1960s there were no craft beers in the US because of prohibition (and distribution-protection) laws. I was going to argue about the inclusion of Anchor Steam in the list, a good, but not exceptional beer, until I read this.

It is claimed that it is the first post-prohibition craft beer in the US, after California changed its laws, followed closely by Sierra Nevada. (Homebrewing wasn't legal until 1978). Then beer drinkers in other states started saying "Hey, how can California get away with that? You mean we can actually change these laws?"
posted by eye of newt at 9:44 PM on August 26


Your defense of Mississippi is that people have made singing about the misery of life there an art form?
posted by maryr at 10:01 PM on August 26


Your defense of Mississippi is that people have made singing about the misery of life there an art form?

/begin American Music Culture 101 derail

The song art form known as the Mississippi Delta blues (aka country blues or pre-war blues) boasts a very wide variety of subject matter and emotions. Singers have historically addressed love, loss, work, travel, drink, drugs, politics, gambling, murder, farming, magic, superstition, war, death, etc. etc. There is wide popular misunderstanding, largely based on non-familiarity with the genre, that Delta blues songs are, on the whole, overwhelmingly sad and express little beyond misery and complaint. Though the lives of the African-Americans who lived in Mississippi in the 1920s and 1930s were, of course, often desperately difficult and fraught with the dangers of systemic racism, singers were hardly limiting themselves to "singing about the misery of life there". Aside from the fact that many, many songs do not express misery at all, it should be noted that many of the songs that do express misery, regret, longing, etc, most often do so within the framework of subject matter that is not in any way unique to Mississippi as a geographical location. Incredible as it may seem, for example, women in California and Maine have been known to leave their man, and gambling appears to have been popular in New Jersey as well as Ohio.

But all-too-frequently tossed-off assumptions about what the blues *is* (as in the linked article: "There’s a reason that Mississippi’s the home of the blues. It has a lot to do with the fact that the state’s got fewer breweries than Blind Willie Nine Fingers has digits.") stubbornly persist. The Delta blues is reduced to nothing more than one easily digestible and insultingly oversimplified definition: songs about how miserable Mississippi was. This lazy assumption does nothing to further anyone's understanding of just how rich, deep and sophisticated the Delta blues really is. It gives short shrift to the geniuses who invented the music, to the depth and breadth of their artistry, and could ultimately be seen as a kind of condescension that might be rooted in a certain kind of racism.

/end derail
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:10 PM on August 26 [3 favorites]


These lists are always kind of crap and totally divisive. I think that we should just spend the time we would normally spend arguing about them giving silent thanks to Jimmy Carter.
posted by brand-gnu at 8:24 AM on August 27


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