Deciding on a list of the best beers is not a simple request. Ultimately the best will depend on your own beer loving style. There is not merely one beer that is right for everyone. The vast selection and variety of beers in today's marketplace rivals those of specialty wines and liquors. Best is a relative term, so the following list of the top ten best beers is based on distribution, historical significance, and beer tasting awards.
1. Miller Lite
Receiving awards from two of the most renowned beer competitions, The World Beer Cup and The Great American Beer Festival, this light-style brew is widely available from the liquor store to the supermarket. In addition to the award-winning taste, it is low on calories and carbs. Miller Lite has been brewed the same for over 30 years and was the first ever produced light beer.
2. Fuller ESB
Fuller's is one of the United Kingdom's leading independent brewers. In contrast to the number one choice, Miller Lite, Fuller ESB is full of flavors and aromas. Although not a mainstream beer, Fuller ESB has won the Best Strong Ale award from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) on seven separate occasions - more times than any other beer. ESB also received an award at the World Beer Cup in 2006 and is internationally acclaimed. Fuller's focus on traditional ingredients leads to a nicely hopped, extra special bitter integrated with malts. Offering a deep amber hue topped with a creamy head, it presents the aromas of honey and ginger. This best beer is available year-round in a variety of locations.
3. Pyramid Hefeweizen
A three-time award winner at the World Beer Cup and 2004 winner at the Great American Beer Festival, the Hefeweizen is Pyramid's best selling beer. A microbrew that is sold almost everywhere in the United States, it was first inspired in 1985 with Pyramid's offering of a year-round wheat beer. This Hefeweizen is made up of 60% malted wheat, more than traditional versions, and left unfiltered for extra flavor and aroma.
4. Pabst Blue Ribbon
Known affectionately as PBR, the Pabst Blue Ribbon became "America's Best Beer" in the year 1893. Originally known as "Select," it was first established in Milwaukee in 1844. When the beer began to receive various awards, a silk blue ribbon was added to the bottles in 1882. This led to the official name change to Blue Ribbon in 1895. In addition to being the company's best known beer, it was also the first beer to ever be canned. Celebrated as the working-class beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon has been mentioned in numerous movies and television shows, from The Simpsons to Blue Velvet. Most recently PBR has received awards for the best Premium Lager in both the World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival.
5. Corona Extra
Although Corona has not won any awards, it is a sure winner in overall sales and popularity. It was ranked by Information Resources, Inc. as the number one selling beer in 2005. It is also the #1 selling beer brand in Mexico, the #1 selling imported beer in the United States and Canada, the #1 Mexican beer in the world and the #4 best selling beer worldwide. As the leading exported brand, it is currently available in over 150 countries worldwide. First brewed in 1925, Corona Extra is a light pilsner style beer that is easy to drink and great in recipes.
6. Redhook ESB
This extra special bitter is Redhook's flagship beer originating in the year 1987. Styled after the beer served in pubs throughout the U.K., it was an instant favorite. With awards from both the Great American Beer Festival and the North American Brewers Association, Redhook ESB is available year-round in both bottles and kegs. The beautiful copper color and mixture of bitter and sweet tastes have earned it 4 ½ stars out of 5 at Epinions.com.
7. Samuel Adams Boston Lager
One of the first full-flavored beers to grab America's attention, Samuel Adams Boston Lager was awarded the "Best Beer in America" six weeks after its release in 1985. As a brewery, Samuel Adams has won more beer awards and competitions than any other beer manufacturer in history. Their Boston Lager won awards in seven different worldwide competitions for the year 2005 alone. A full and rich beer with a balance of flavors, this lager is created through a specialized brewing process which is a time-consuming, decoction mash and four-vessel procedure.
8. New Castle Brown
The New Castle Brown is an English dark-brown beer first brewed in 1927. It is the best selling bottled beer in the U.K. and one of the best selling beers in Europe. New Castle Brown won its first award in 1928 at London's International Brewers Exhibition and has only continued to grow in popularity. Using a historic, time-proven brewing process, this brown ale provides an easy-to-drink, full flavor. Recently becoming popular in trendy Hollywood circles, the New Castle Brown is fairly available in bottles throughout the United States in addition to Europe.
9. Guinness Stout
Although a brew for the true beer drinker, no best beer list would be complete without the addition of Guinness. A world-famous bitter stout, Guinness Extra Stout grew from the company's time-honored successful porter. A beer that is rich in heritage and taste, it is one of the most flourishing beer brands in the world. Offering a full creamy body, Guinness is a heavier beer with a thick creamy head. One taste will transport you back to the 18th Century, savoring sensations much like a fine wine. A true beer classic, over 2 billion pints have been sold each year since the beginning of the new millennium.
10. Henry Weinhard’s Classic Dark
An award-winning beer crafted in small batches, Henry Weinhard's Classic Dark would be higher on the list if it was only more widely available. It is only sold in selected U.S. states, mostly in the western regions, and only available from October to March. A much sought-after dark lager, Henry's Classic Dark offers the color of stout without the bitterness. A blend of six malts, this beer provides a nutty and crisp finish.