We asked the nation's top brewers to name the last beer that rocked their world, then asked that beer's maker the same question. The result: a taxonomic tree of insanely tasty craft beer, beginning with the man who started it all.
Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada Brewing
"When I want a break from the hoppy, I really enjoy Allagash White. It's a refreshing, consistent, dependable beer."
Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing
"I'm in Colorado right now, and Left Hand's Milk Stout has been my go-to. I love the creamy texture, the thick, light-brown head, and the nice mocha character."
Eric Wallace, Left Hand Brewing
"I recently found myself marveling at the wonderfully balanced NOLA Rebirth Pale Ale. It has a great malt foundation and citrusy hops in a combination both classic and modern."
Peter Caddoo, NOLA Brewing
"Zebulon Artisan Ales Batch No. 1, a traditional farmhouse saison, is now one of 12 batches. From what I know from that first batch, I'm sure the other 11 are phenomenal."
Michael Karnowski, Zebulon Artisan Ales
"The interplay between the funky Brett yeast and the dank hops in Anchorage Brewing's Invasion Farmhouse IPA was a revelation. I said, 'This is the kind of beer I want to make.' "
Gabe Fletcher, Anchorage Brewing
"My mom flew up this week and greeted me with a delicious bottle of Hill Farmstead Arthur. Shaun Hill has a way of creating soft and complex beers that inspire me to be a better brewer."
Shaun Hill, Hill Farmstead
"Cory King's most recent iteration of Side Project's Bière du Pays features a more restrained acid profile, and I found myself impressed by its depth. I could drink it every day."
Cory King, Side Project Brewing
"Sante Adairius Rustic Ales' Capitola Sunset is just lovely — bright, vibrant, and airy but complex. It's exactly what a stainless-aged beer should be."
Tim Clifford, Sante Adairius Rustic Ales
"At the Festival of Farmhouse Ales, I was blown away by Cambridge Brewing Company's Remain in Light, a simple but elegant pilsner. It's a fantastic interpretation of the style."
Will Meyers, Cambridge Brewing
"Jester King Brewery's Le Petit Prince packs amazing complexity in a seemingly simple beer, with superb attenuation and balance — one of the few beers I wish I had an unending supply of."
Jeffrey Stuffings, Jester King Brewery
"Wicked Weed's Fille de Ferme hits all the notes: minerality, rustic malt character, bitterness, acidity, funk, fruitiness, and drinkability. I could drink this beer every day. It's superb."
Walt Dickinson, Wicked Weed Brewing
"The dryness of the finish and hop character don't detract from the soft, doughlike taste of Russian River's STS Pils. The beer ends with a perfect bitterness that finishes clean."
Vinnie Cilurzo, Russian River Brewing
"The first time I had Creature Comforts' Athena Berliner Weisse it just blew me away. Hands down one of the best kettle-soured beers I've ever had."