The accolades just keep pouring in for Massachusetts craft breweries.
Beer rating and information site RateBeer held its annual Best Beer Festival this past weekend in Santa Rosa, CA, part of which includes honoring a slew of breweries from around the world in their Best Awards across categories like Best New Brewers, Best Beer by State and, the big one, Top 100 Brewers in the World.
Results for the Top 100 Brewers aren't officially announced until Feb. 3, but I've learned that three Massachusetts breweries have made the list, including Trillium Brewing Co., which rose to the No. 3 spot this year.
"We're pretty honored and proud to be on a short list with some insanely talented brewers," Trillium founder Esther Tetreault told me in an email from California. "We met people at the RateBeer Fest from Belgium, Sweden, Canada, Japan, the UK, California, Florida, South Korea (to name a few) ... all whom had the most positive feedback to share about their experiences with Trillium.To be rated one of the top 10 breweries in the world shows us the appreciation from all of you drinking our beer!"
RateBeer ranks just the top 10 breweries from their list of 100. Making the list this year with Trillium is Tree House Brewing Co. out of Monson, MA (expanding as we speak to nearby Charlton) and Framingham's Jack's Abby Craft Lagers (who debuted its new experimental arm, Springdale, this year as well).
"It's very humbling to receive such an honor from RateBeer. We started out 6 years ago with the goal of changing people's perception of craft lagers and it is incredibly rewarding to see people respond to that goal positively," Jack's Abby Co-founder Jack Hendler told me. "We are incredible grateful to our fans and our staff who work so hard to make a great product!"
Jack's Abby won the award for best taproom in Massachusetts at last year's event.
"It's humbling to hear that the folks on RateBeer considered our beer to be of the high quality needed to receive such wonderful recognition," Tree House's Nate Lanier told me. "Equally humbling is that we had seven beers in the Top 100 Best Beers in the World and three beers in the Top New Beers of 2016 (out of 60,000)."
Speaking with each brewery founder made one thing clear: These are team wins, not individual ones. "Every single person at Trillium kills it every day to make beer we love and share it with pride," Esther told me. Our "fans never lose their thirst," Romanow echoed, "so we’re going to put this feather in our cap and get back to work, brewing some of the best beer we know how to brew."
RateBeer named Tree House's King JJJuliusss, a flavor-bomb of an Imperial IPA, as the state's best beer for 2016. The state's top brewer went to Trillium. And the best new brewer award was given to Norwood's Castle Island Brewing Co.
"It’s a very humbling and exciting honor," Castle Island founder Adam Romanow told me, who didn't know they'd been recognized until this morning. "It also sounds trite, but none of it would be possible without the amazing team we have here at Castle Island. All but a few of us came here with zero brewery experience, but with a hunger and drive to brew some of the best damn liquid we can, and I’m so proud of all that we’ve accomplished in our very short time on the scene. And, of course, we wouldn’t have received this honor without the enthusiasm and encouragement of our fans, for whom we’re incredible grateful."
Vermont's Hill Farmstead is the reigning champ, taking home the top spot once again.
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