Homebrewers rank West Michigan beers tops in US

Pliny the Elder knocked from top of American beer heap in new rankings

Pliny the Elder knocked from top of American beer heap in new rankings

At one time, Michigan's license plates read "Winter Wonderland".

All members are asked each year to list 20 beers available commercially that they consider the best in the country, and for years the list has been dominated by IPAs and double IPAs, including the Pliny-like Heady Topper from Vermont brewery The Alchemist which has in recent years been crowned the Best Beer In the World by other publications like RateBeer and Beer Advocate, earning a flawless score of 100 from both.

Larry Bell started the brewery in 1985 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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New rankings from a survey conducted by Zymurgy magazine - published by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) - and released this week, listed a new king of beers, though Pliny and its parent Russian River Brewing Co. continued to fare exceptionally well. That honor belongs to Two Hearted Ale, an IPA from Bell's Brewery in MI.

Founders All Day IPA, which makes up more than 60 percent of its production, ranks No. 13, and Backwoods Bastard ranks No. 27.

Bell's Two-Hearted Ale edged out Pliny, which came in second.

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Celebration Ale from Chico's Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., came in tied for eighth, one notch ahead of Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing, a San Diego brewery whose co-founder Pete A'Hearn earned his master brewer's certificate from UC Davis.

"This is an incredible honor for us", Laura Bell, Bell's Brewery CEO, said in a statement. "We got our start as homebrewers - and that's how my dad got going - so we really identify with the homebrewing community".

Here's the full list.

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