Beer always has a story to tell. For some, the David-and-Goliath tale of small versus Big Beer endures. For others, attention has shifted to person-centered issues like diversity, inclusion, and business practices that prioritize reaching broader audiences and being welcoming to all. Of course, a majority are also here for beer itself, seeking the best possible options to spend our hard-earned cash on among the nation’s nearly 7,500 brewers — or how to brew it ourselves, with expert advice from an award-winning homebrewer and Advanced Cicerone.
Below, VinePair lists our most popular beer stories of 2019. We’ve covered a lot of important ground this year. Here’s to continuing to share the stories that need to be told, tasting and ranking the beers we think you’ll love, and reporting on the wonder that is White Claw, whether we like it or not.
In our annual ranking of our favorite beers of the year, the VinePair team narrowed down hundreds of beers we enjoyed most to the 50 Best Beers of 2019. These are VinePair’s 50 best beers of 2019.
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An ongoing racial discrimination lawsuit between Founders Brewing Company and former employee Tracy Evans filed in 2018 made national headlines this year after the Detroit Metro Times published a leaked court transcript of a deposition between Evans’ lawyer, Jack Schulz, and Founders’ Detroit general manager, Dominic Ryan. Ryan’s remarks were salt in the wound of the festering issue, and understandably upsetting to many people. However, the deposition and its aftermath were a small part of a much bigger-picture problem at Founders and the craft beer community at large.
In 1992, a generic beer brewed by Drummond Brewery in Red Deer, Alberta, was “simply called, ‘Beer Beer.’” It was a hit — until it was banned. Saskatchewan’s local government deemed the generic brand “illegally cheap.”
Lily Waite, an artist and beer writer seeking to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues in the beer industry, launched the Queer Brewing Project (TQBP) in February 2019. It kicked off in the U.K. with ongoing series of collaboration beers, and breweries to date include partnerships around the world. While the project is queer-focused, Waite, who is trans, is intentionally working with a variety of brands with and without queer leadership, in an effort “to reinforce the idea that inclusivity is an issue to which everybody has a responsibility.”
Hard seltzers flooded the marketplace in 2019. VinePair tasted nearly 50 spiked seltzer brands and similar beverages. Here are our impressions of 20 hard seltzers, with flavors ranging from citrus mixes to botanicals to various takes on “rosé.” Those with asterisks signify our 10 favorites.
This year was rife with legal battles involving breweries. Anheuser-Busch is entangled in a lawsuit for allegedly hijacking the Patagonia clothing brand, and its recently acquired Platform Beer Co. is in a trademark dispute with Bottle Logic Brewing over the two brands’ extremely similar logos. Yuengling and Anchor Brewing are disputing who owns the term “steam” beer, and, in May 2019, Guns ‘N’ Roses sued CANarchy for trademark infringement over Oskar Blues Guns ‘N’ Rosé ale. And, perhaps most publicly, MillerCoors and Stone Brewing have been publicly battling over the former company’s Keystone label’s use of the name “Stone.”
With so many breweries, and evolving intellectual property laws, many companies struggle to create innovative labels and styles without crossing legal lines. But as the craft beer world gets bigger, so can repercussions for these illegal flirtations. Brendan M. Palfreyman argues such behaviors could potentially damage a brewery’s brand, as well as its bottom line.
One of the best parts of being a homebrewer is sharing your beer. However, if you’ve noticed your friends don’t quite finish their pints, or give a generic, “It’s good!” when you ask for feedback, you may be running into one of these very common mistakes. Here, VinePair columnist and award-winning homebrewer Mandy Naglich takes us through the four reasons your homebrew is subpar, and what you can do about it.
Not all beer trends are created equal. Some have staying power and become national or global phenomena, while others fizzle quickly. First, we asked brewers about the absolute worst trends and gimmicks that deserve a “good riddance.” Then, we asked about the best.
White Claw has quickly become the most talked-about hard seltzer brand on the market. Launched in 2016, the 100-calorie, two-carbohydrate, 5-percent-ABV fizzy treat now accounts for about half of spiked seltzer sales in the U.S. Wondering what the hype is about? Here are nine things you should know about White Claw.
IPAs are a strange beast. First famous for bold, bitter flavors, then celebrated in tandem with how much they resemble juice or even milkshakes, the IPA is ever-evolving. As such, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the range of IPA styles, rotations, and new releases. From hazy and juicy to clear and dry; boozy to sessionable to non-alcoholic; and East Coast to West Coast to whatever a Mountain-stye IPA is, this beer is incredibly varied.
VinePair took a look at the IPAs dominating tastings, headlines, and bar tabs, and charted a list of the most important IPAs right now. This includes the ones everyone’s already talking about, plus those we should be — and will be — drinking more in the months to come.