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relates to The 15 Best Beers We Drank This Year
Photographer: Joyce Lee/Bloomberg

The 15 Best Beers We Drank This Year

Even with our craft beer expert staying close to home, there were still plenty of inspiring, creative brews to be discovered, from the traditional to the innovative.

As much as I’d hoped 2021 would be a fresh start, we all know how that panned out. While some of my beer colleagues resumed international travel and partied like it was 2019, I did an admittedly crummy job of getting out of the five boroughs. I made it to just a smattering of beer events—a couple of festivals, a few tastings, a handful of new breweries and bars—so mostly I sampled new beers at home, at friends’ small gatherings, or outdoor events.

I wasn’t the only one: Recent statistics from the Brewers Association illustrate the industry’s struggles. Overall beer sales were down 2.3% in 2020, while craft beer sales fell more than 9%. Retail dollar sales of craft beer decreased by a whopping 22%, the primary reason being a shift from tasting rooms, bars, and restaurants to retail packaged sales.