This was another record year for small American brewers, surpassing milestones for number of breweries, overall production volumes, and sales. Though overall beer consumption was projected to be down again, craft brewers continued on last year’s 5 percent growth in volume, according to the Brewers Association, leading to a new projected high of over 26 million barrels in 2018. By October, the total number of craft breweries had surpassed 7,000, on pace for a 20 percent increase over 2017.
Which means there’s no better time to be a beer lover and yet no more difficult time to know what to spend your money on. Here, we have collected a sampling of our very favorite American beers that came into the world this year—beers ranging from classic to trendsetting, clean to funky, and rare to mass-produced.