Rolling across my beer newswire recently were two "best of" lists that featured Montana breweries.
First up was Thrilllist.com's "The Best Craft Brewery In Every State" which chose Big Sky Brewing Co. for Montana.
This list was followed a few days later by Businessinsider.com's "24 American Microbreweries Every Beer Lover Should Know." According to the article the authors "found the 24 coolest microbrewers making waves in the American craft beer industry," with microbrewery defined as producing less than 15,000 bbls per year. The site chose Red Lodge Ales for its sustainability practices, certainly a worthy choice among many "cool" breweries.
As a beer writer focusing mostly on Montana beer related topics, I'm always happy to see Montana's breweries featured in wide ranging publications. Yet, I have a love/hate relationship with "best of" lists. It is a concern I've been wrestling with over the past month or so - well before these two lists came to my attention. Most generate very predictable responses from craft beer fans. Some seem downright ignorant or serve poorly disguised advertisements.
What do you think? Are they useful? Valid? Fun? Harmful? I've got a number of thoughts I'm working on for an upcoming post, but I'd love to hear your ideas.