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The Best Breweries of 2019


Each year, we award the breweries that collectively produce the highest-rated beer of the year as evaluated in our Official Review. In 2019, breweries worldwide demonstrated impressive brewing expertise in a myriad of styles. With the rise of fascinating new trends, such as a return to the limelight for lagers, the continued popularity of sours and the firm establishment of the hazy IPA style, our breweries of the year represent the cutting edge of craft beer.

How We Award

We look at the top three highest-scoring beers (as rated by our judging panel) for each brewery in the calendar year.

We then consider how many of the three place into the 100 to 96: World Class category and the 95 to 91: Exceptional category. For example, a brewery with two world-class beers and one exceptional would rate higher than a brewery with a single higher-scoring world-class beer and two exceptional beers.

The brewery with the most world-class beers followed by the most exceptional beers is awarded the Brewery of the Year.

If two or more breweries have the same number of world-class and exceptional beers, then the brewery with the highest point total wins.

In the event of a tie, a fourth reviewed beer is counted as a tiebreaker.

If a fourth beer was not reviewed, we look at the highest score total among the brewery’s two top-scoring beers.

Read on and raise a glass to this year’s winners!


the beer connoisseur's second runner-up best breweries 2019


monday night brewing logo

Second Runner-Up: Monday Night Brewing

One World Class Beer & Two Exceptional Beers

Total Score: 284

Highest-scoring beers:

Stranger Danger – 96

Lundi – 94

Currant Events – 94

monday night brewing top-rated beers

Monday Night Brewing in Atlanta, Georgia is 2019’s second runner-up for Brewery of the Year.

The brewery’s top-scoring beer in our Official Review was Stranger Danger, an amusingly named beer that featured an astonishing ingredient: chocolate and peanut butter. Any discerning chocolate fan knows that peanut butter and chocolate is one of the finest flavor combinations in the history of food, so a beer that channels this truth was sure to be a hit. The fact that the beer isn’t overly sweet or heavy goes a long way in showing just how skillful the brewers at Monday Night truly are.

Following that, the brewery actually had three beers that received a rating of 94, including Lundi, a smooth and elegant hazy IPA. Brewed with a delectable combination of Simcoe, Mosaic and El Dorado hops, this citrusy and pleasant brew expertly fits the bill for its style.

Rounding out Monday Night’s world-class and exceptional selections is Currant Events, a Wild Specialty Beer brewed with the rarely used adjuncts of black currants and boysenberries. Clocking in at 4.5 percent ABV, this sour tipple is a truly thirst-quenching fruited brew.


the beer connoisseur's first runner-up best breweries 2019



upland brewing co. logo

First Runner-Up: Upland Brewing Co.

One World Class Beer & Two Exceptional Beers

Total Score: 285

Highest-scoring beers:

Juicy Harvest – 96

Bockness Monster – 95

Twain – 94

upland brewing co. top-scoring beers

Upland Brewing Co. of Bloomington, Indiana had a terrific year in this year’s Official Review.

Upland’s slate of world-class and exceptional beers was headlined by Juicy Harvest, a wet-hopped hazy IPA that scored a world-class rating of 96. This beer is part of the brewery’s Side Trail series, which reflects the brewery’s “constant pursuit of the craft,” according to Upland. “Each beer in the series is an innovative result of brewers experimenting with unusual recipes and flavors.”

Just missing a chance at the top spot on our list, Upland’s cleverly named Bockness Monster is sure to surprise imbibers with its powerhouse alcohol content (9.8 percent ABV) and wealth of malt aromas and flavors. Featuring label artwork inspired by its inspiration, the Loch Ness Monster, this behemoth will provide wave upon wave of sultry flavor thanks to its 13 months spent in bourbon barrels.

Well-known for its sour beer program, Upland produced three sours that scored a 94 in our Official Review. The one featured here is Twain, a fantastically unique combination of barrel-aged and non-barrel-aged sours mixed together with cider for a decidedly spritzy drinking experience.


the beer connoisseur's brewery of the year best breweries 2019


pfriem family brewers logo

Brewery of the Year: pFriem Family Brewers

Two World Class Beers & One Exceptional Beer

Total Score: 287

Highest-scoring beers:

Oude Kriek – 96

Brouwer's 14th Anniversary – 96

Golden Coffee Pale – 95

pfriem top-scoring beers

pFriem Family Brewers is our Brewery of the Year for the third time in four years, an absolutely stunning accomplishment that’s perfectly representative of the brewery’s devotion to producing incredible liquid achievements on a regular basis. Just as they did in 2018, pFriem submitted two beers that earned a score of at least 96, giving the brewery a whopping six beers in its history that have been named world-class in the pages of The Beer Connoisseur.

Beyond the two world-class brews, pFriem submitted eight other beers that scored 91 or above, good for yet another incredible year of beer as the best brewery of 2019.

pFriem is making this accolade something of a habit for them, which merits the question: Is pFriem Family Brewers the best brewery in the world? The beers they create are not particularly flashy, nor does the brewery itself chase trends when they are planning their next brew. Instead, they simply focus on classic German- and Belgian-inspired stylesdelivered with high-quality local ingredients. Though elegant in their minimalism, pFriem’s bottle and label designs feature few bells and whistles, and the brewery’s beer names simply describe the beer’s style – nothing more.

While that low-key style might go against the brash and bold nature of craft beer itself, in the end, quality of product is always going to win out when it comes to beer, and, as has been the case for three of the past four years, pFriem produced the best beers our judges reviewed in 2019.

Josh Pfriem, Brewmaster and Co-Founder, was inspired by a bike trip through Belgium, in which he met some of Europe’s greatest brewers, to open pFriem Family Brewers in the summer of 2012. His “ambition to meld European and Pacific Northwestern brewing traditions to create his own signature brand” shines through in each and every one of his brewery’s fantastic beers.

With incredible consistency and a sparkling stable of terrific beers brewed with minute attention to detail, pFriem Family Brewers once again earns the right to be called BC’s Brewery of the Year. Just as we wrote last year, pFriem is truly a beer connoisseur’s paradise and we encourage you, the reader, to visit the brewery and experience world-class for yourself.

pFriem Family Brewers head brewer Josh Pfriem in front of inviting bar

pFriem Family Brewers
707 Portway Ave.
Suite 101
Hood River, OR 97031

Tel.: (541) 321-0490


pFriem Family Brewers submitted an impressive eight beers in the 2019 Official Review that scored in the exceptional category. The brewery’s two top-scoring world-class beers were both Fruit Lambics: Oude Kriek and Brouwer’s 14th Anniversary.

The brewery’s take on the famous kriek style (or lambic with cherries) was a zesty, tangy affair that was beautifully brewed. This hazy, funky and puckeringly tart brew is a near-perfect example of the kriek style, fully showcasing the pFriem brewers’ mastery of their craft.

Brouwer’s 14th Anniversary is another Fruit Lambic brewed with a far rarer ingredient: huckleberries! While the tartness and tangy, crisp mouthfeel remain, the sweetness of the unusual adjunct helps to cut into that sour element perfectly, leading to a world-class example of the style.

pFriem’s Golden Coffee Pale impressed our judge with its wide, light malt structure, hop crispness and scrumptious coffee character – all in perfect harmony with one another.

pFriem's 2019 World Class & Exceptional Reviews

Oude Kriek – 96 Rating

Brouwer’s 14th Anniversary – 96 Rating

Golden Coffee Pale – 95 Rating

Belgian-Style Blonde Ale – 95 Rating

Brett Saison – 93 Rating

Pêche – 93 Rating

Export Lager – 92 Rating

Hazy IPA – 92 Rating

La Mûre – 91 Rating

Brut IPA – 91 Rating



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I like it.

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