16 Best Traditional German-Style Breweries in America
As with most things in our culture, America has taken it to the extreme and is currently obsessed with highly intense flavors in beers. Both ends of the spectrum are covered with Double IPAs and Imperial Stouts. Don't get me wrong, both of these beer styles are great, but some of the delicate, subtle flavors that many brewers try to achieve can easily be covered up or hidden in these extreme styles. The untrained beer palate will also more easily lock on to these extreme styles because the flavors are so in your face. Picking out noble hops, beautiful Pilsner, Vienna and Munich malts that have been accentuated from decoction mashing, and slight sulfur aromas isn't as sexy these days as toe curling hop bitterness and intensely sweet bourbon and malts.
Well if you get excited about the thought of 1 liter beer steins, lederhosen, fresh German air, tradition, crisp, clean subtle malty and noble hopped German beers that can be enjoyed all day long, this post is for you. Many American brewers are also enthralled with the tradition and great flavors of German beer and brewing. Here is a list of the 16 best German-style breweries in America.
#16 - Trapp Family Lodge - The beer isn't amazing, but nothing says Germany more than engulfing yourself in German architecture for a weekend of cross-country skiing from hut to hut enjoying German beer along the way.
Beer Beers: Trapp Dunkel Lager, Trapp Golden Helles Lager
GABF Medals: 0
#15 - Jack's Abby - Normally when you see abby in the name of a brewery you think of monasteries of Belgian beers, but Jack's Abby is inspired by the monastic brewing of Germany. They definitely put an American twist on some of their lager beers, but they are also mastering lagering techniques that are rooted in German tradition.
Best Beers: Saxonator Dunkles Doppelbock, Fire in the Ham Rauchbier
GABF Medals: 2
#14 - Prost Brewing -
Prost Brewing in Denver brews only German-style beers using all german ingredients, equipment and process. And it really shows in the outcome of their beers. Rich and malty, yet clean and crisp beers are coming out of Denver.
Best Beers: Altfrankisches Dunkel Bier, Marzen Oktoberfest
GABF Medals: 1
#13 - Gordon Biersch -
Dan Gordon, or known as "The Dan", was traditionally trained in the 5 year brewing engineering program in the famous Weihenstephan Germany. His beers are perennial winners at the Great American Beer Festival in many German-style beer categories. Very traditional beers
Best Beers: Gordon Bierch Marzen, Gordon Biersch Dunkelweizen, Gordon Biersch FestBier
GABF Medals: 24
#12 - Grimm Brothers Brewhouse -
Founded by a group of Denver area homebrewers that fell are captivated by the rich tradition of European beers.
Best Beers: Little Red Cap, Randolph, Fearless Youth
GABF Medals: 3
#11 - Pennyslvania Brewing Company -
There slogan says it all, "brewing craft beer before craft beer was cool". Founded in 1986 in Pittsburgh's Deutchtown neighborhood Penn Brewing is making traditional German-style beers adhering to the Reinheitsgebot in honor of the immigrants that originally came to this neighborhood.
Best Beers: Penn Dark, Penn Gold, St Nikolaus Bock Bier,
GABF Medals: 16
#10 - August Schell -
August Schell came to the German settlement of New Ulm Minnesota in 1860, built his brewery and prospered until the days of Prohibition in the early 1900s. The brewery was one of few that withstood the adversity of Prohibition. Many of the brewers today travel to Germany for their brewing education to remain as traditional as possible.
Best Beers: Star of the North Berliner, Schell's Firebrick Vienna, Schell's Pils
GABF Medals: 9
#9- Sly Fox Brewing Company -
Sly Fox makes many styles of beer but they also do a great job making German-style lagers.
They are a bit more American than most because they are canning their beers rather than using the more traditional bottling method.
Best Beers: Pikeland Pils, Royal Weisse, Oktoberfest
GABF Medals: 8
#8 - Olde Mecklenburg -
The owner of OMB lived in Germany for 16 years prior to losing his job and returning to the US and coming up with the idea to start a traditional German-style brewery because he missed the wonderful beers he had tasted for so many years in Germany
Best Beers: Dunkel Lager, OMB Copper, Mecktoberfest, Captain James Jack Pilsner
GABF Medals: 1
#7 - Great Lakes Brewing -
Ohio's first craft brewery continues to grow and improve their beer and process every year. Great Lakes also brews many non-German style beers, but has the technology, equipment and knowledge to brew some of the best German style beers in America.
Best Beers: Eliot Ness, Oktoberfest, Dortmunder Gold
GABF Medals: 12
#6 - Stoudts Brewing Company -
Some of the best to style German beers in the country and they have the GABF hardware to prove it!
Best Beers: Stoudt's Pils, Stoudt's Gold Lager, Smooth Hoperator, Karnival Kolsch
GABF Medals: 29
#5 - High Point Brewing Company -
Owner/brewer Greg Zaccardi brewed for many years in Germany before returning to America to start HPB. All hops, yeast, and malts are imported directly from Bavaria for his Ramstein beers. Decoction mashing is even used at this brewery!
Best Beers: Ramstein Eisbock, Ramstein Winter Wheat, Ramstein Double Platinum Blonde
GABF Medals: 1
#4 - Troegs Brewing Company -
Best Beers: Sunshine Pils, Cultivator, Troegenator Double Bock
GABF Medals: 18
#3 - New Glarus Brewing Company -
Best Beers: Staghorn, Thumbprint, Hometown Blonde, Back Forty
GABF Medals: 32
#2 - Capital Brewery -
Best Beers: Autumnal Fire, Capital Dark, Blonde Doppelbock
GABF Medals: 22
#1 - Victory Brewing Compoany -
Best Beers: Prima Pils, Braumeister Pils, St. Victorious, Moonglow Weizenbock
GABF Medals: 5