The 8 Best Craft Beers That Aren't Craft Beers

The 8 Best Craft Beers That Aren’t Craft Beers

There’s a heated debate currently going on in the world of craft beer. If a small, craft brewery is sold to a giant conglomerate, but they don’t change much, are they still considered to be “craft”? Take for example the Scotch whisky industry. Pretty much every famous distillery is owned by a giant corporation like Beam Suntory, Pernod Ricard or Diageo. Does this stop whisky aficionados from enjoying a finely aged bottle of Glenlivet or Macallan? Many good breweries are owned by the big boys. Take a hint from Scotland. Drink it if you like it regardless of who owns it. Here’s a handy guide to who owns who, and here are some of our favorite craft beers that aren’t really craft beers:

  • Elysian Space Dust (AB InBev)

    Elysian Space Dust (AB InBev)

    Beer fans were pretty bummed when Seattle’s Elysian was sold to AB Inbev. But, years later, they are still making great brews including Space Dust. This 8.2% IPA is chocked full of Chinook, Citra and Amarillo hops and is a must for any fans of the Westcoast IPA. It doesn’t hurt that you can now find it at MLB stadiums, concert venues, and bottle shops from coast to coast. Link

  • Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin (Constellation Brands)

    Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin (Constellation Brands)

    This is one of the most beloved craft beers in America and has a 95 rating from Beer Advocate. You would think the addition of grapefruit would take away from an already great IPA, but it only enhances it. Don’t worry that this brewery is owned by Constellation Brands and drink this brew all summer long. While some of Ballast Point’s recent fruit additions have been misses, this one is a grandslam.  Link

  • Boulevard Long Stange Tripel (Duvel Moortgat)

    Boulevard Long Stange Tripel (Duvel Moortgat)

    This 9.2% Belgian Tripel really doesn’t taste like a product made by a giant corporation. That’s because, even though Boulevard is owned by Duvel Moortgat, they are allowed to craft beers as they please. Sipping on this rich, yeasty beer will make you feel like you’re sitting at a café in Bruge. Link

  • Firestone Walker Union Jack (Duvel Moortgat)

    Firestone Walker Union Jack (Duvel Moortgat)

    Most people either don’t realize or don’t care that Firestone Walker is owned by Duvel Moortgat. This 7% Westcoast IPA isn’t mouth-puckeringly bitter like some IPAs from that side of the country. It’s balanced, hoppy and full of enough citrus character to appease the most die-hard IPA fans. Link

  • Devils Backbone Vienna Lager (Ab InBev)

    Devils Backbone Vienna Lager (Ab InBev)

    Technically, Devils Backbone hasn’t yet been sold to Anheuser Busch, but that didn’t stop brewers in Virginia from banning the brewery from the state’s largest craft beer festival (even though it was held at the brewery). The Vienna Lager is one of their best. This amber lager is malty, rich and full of toasted caramel sweetness.  Link

  • 10 Barrel Apocalypse IPA (AB Inbev)

    10 Barrel Apocalypse IPA (AB Inbev)

    10 Barrel’s Apocalypse IPA is the brewery’s flagship beer (it’s also their best). This extremely drinkable, 6.5% brew is perfectly suited for summer drinking. Bring it camping or to the beach and spend a whole day sipping on this perfectly balanced beer. Link

  • Blue Point Toasted Lager (AB InBev)

    Blue Point Toasted Lager (AB InBev)

    Blue point is owned by Anheuser Busch, but the brewery hasn’t stopped crafting tasty brews in Patchogue, Long Island. Their top beer is the Toasted Lager, a 5.5% amber lager. It’s full of sweet, toasted, malty flavors that pairs well with barbeque and hamburgers. Link

  • Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (Ab InBev)

    Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (Ab InBev)

    Craft beer fans hate when their favorite breweries get scooped up by the “big boys,” but they took Anheuser Busch’s acquisition of Goose Island extra hard. That doesn’t stop them from lining up every fall to purchase the brand’s most beloved beers: Bourbon County Stout. Nothing beats the original 13.8% bourbon-barrel aged Imperial Stout. It’s legendary, and it remains as good today as it was years ago. Even if you feel like some of Goose Island’s standard offerings have fallen off after the purchase, BCBS has not—not even close. Link