The beer industry continues to reinvent itself with the rise of microbreweries and craft brewers. It\u2019s safe to say that the king of beers now shares that throne with a plethora of unique brews that have redefined the conventional standards. The best microbreweries in America are willing to experiment with new ingredients, taste profiles, and fermentation processes. Let\u2019s explore what is on tap.\nDefining a Microbrewery\nBefore we delve into our top picks, we\u2019ll begin with some definitions. The federal government regulates all breweries that sell beer. It spells out the rules for ingredients, usage, and alcohol content. It also considers production. Mass-produced beers will produce millions of barrels each year. Craft beers, on the other hand, make up around 6.2 percent of the $107.6-billion beer market.\n\nHowever, that doesn\u2019t tell the whole story. The industry as a whole has seen lackluster growth in the last five years. Craft brewers have shaken up the industry by shifting the market landscape with nearly 14 percent growth between 2012 and 2017. A craft brewery produces between 15,000 and 6 million barrels each year. They make up about 73 percent of this segment. Microbreweries account for 20.4 percent.\n\nMicrobreweries produce less than 15,000 barrels. However, state laws vary on production limits. Arizona, for example, allows up to 200,000 with restrictions on distribution and sales. The key word is limit. That means the products of many establishments don\u2019t have the following that national brands will. While that may sound like a disadvantage, these businesses have capitalized on consumer support which has driven the industry\u2019s growth.\nHow Microbreweries Differ from Other Breweries\nA microbrewery is a different operation from the ground up which gives it an edge on several fronts. The business culture is the polar opposite of a nationally available product. They often have just one or more owners and a smaller number of investors. While production is lower, they have more latitude to create their brand and offerings.\n\nThat becomes evident from product names to beer styles\u2014and everything in between. A microbrewery puts the craft in craft beer. For example, compare the ingredients of Budweiser to Minnesota-based Surly Furious. The former gives the consumer some information, but the latter speaks to connoisseurs. They list the type of malt, yeast, and hops used in the product along with specs for color and original gravity. \n\nPart of the reason is that the connection between production and the consumer is closer. The brewer approaches it in a different manner not unlike how a vintner looks at wine. Microbreweries craft beer rather than just make it. They experiment with different ingredients and types of the stables of yeast, malt, hops, and water. \n\nThey\u2019ll use other fermentation methods including cask aging. They may add helper ingredient or adjuncts to complement this process. The result is a more complex beer with nuances that mass-produced products can\u2019t touch. You\u2019ll often see it in the number of offerings that a brewery has. Surly, for example, has produced over 100 types including seasonal, anniversary, occasional, and now retired beers.\nConsumer Connection\nMicrobreweries are often fixtures in their communities. That gives them an enormous advantage when it comes to fostering consumer loyalty. Many have tap rooms to build stronger relationships with buyers. They may offer entertainment or food options which makes them more than just a brewery.\n\nThe formula has worked. Of the microbreweries that have opened since 1980, 76 percent are still operating. And the trend still continues with 1.2 breweries opening every day. There are 3,132 microbreweries in the country which is a 21 percent increase since 2015. That leads us to the next question. What are the best microbreweries in America?\nOur Picks for the Top Microbreweries\nSifting through the overwhelming number of excellent microbreweries isn\u2019t an easy task, but someone had to do it. We looked to the experts in the industry who their craft the best to home in on the ones that stand out among their peers. Of course, it\u2019s not an exhaustive or conclusive list. But it certainly can give you a good excuse to join a microbrew of the month club to expand your beer horizons.\nSunriver Brewing\nSunriver Brewing in Sunriver, Oregon is a new player in the microbrew scene. Its year-round lineup has some different styles that are sure to capture the attention of the beer connoisseur. They include Ripping (northwest ale), Fuzztail (Hefeweizen), Vicious Mosquito (IPA), and Paddy\u2019s (Irish stout). The inclusion of an IPA is a smart choice given that it is one of the most popular of the craft beers.\n\nIt produces four seasonal beers which is another excellent move on the brewers\u2019 part. It also has an impressive list of seven limited release and specialty beers. It has some great credentials including its the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) silver medal for its Ripping NW ale and a gold medal for its oak-aged barleywine. It is also picked the 2017 Small Brewing Company of the Year\n\nPros:\n\n \tSunriver Brewing likes to push the boundaries with different styles.\n \tInformation about its beers is easy to find.\n \tConsistency reigns supreme with the brewery winning awards every year.\n\nCons:\n\n \tWe\u2019d love to see better availability of some of its limited release offerings including its Belgian strong pale ale.\n\nSunriver Brewing is a consistent winner that likes to branch out with different beer styles that makes it worth a look.\nMelvin Brewing\nMelvin Brewing got its start in Jack\u00adson Hole, WY in 2000. Beer is in the blood of co-founder, Kirk McHale, who began home brewing at age 14. The brewery\u2019s lineup includes four styles of pale ale, a Mexican lager, and an IPA. Almost all of its beers have received awards except the lager. Its Herbert MPA received a gold medal at the 2017 Great Amer\u00adi\u00adcan Beer Fes\u00adti\u00adval. It also received the 2015 Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year.\n\nPros:\n\n \tIt\u2019s the brewery with the beers you\u2019ll enjoy if you\u2019re a fan of ales and IPAs.\n \tThe brewery produces a line of collaboration beers which is great for the community and beer drinkers looking for something more.\n\nCons:\n\n \tThe brewery only offers its beers in cans which can be a buzz-kill for some.\n \tThe selection of styles is limited if you\u2019re looking to try something different.\n\nMelvin Brewing has a narrower focus on beer styles, but it does it well even if you\u2019re jonesing for a stout.\nRip Current Brewery\nRip Current Brewery has two locations in San Marcos, CA and San Diego, CA. It has an interesting selection of beers that include a few sure to please the beer drinker looking for something such as its Delaminator Doppelbock or Rescue Buoy Russian Imperial Stout. It even has a tart sour beer called Peach Guava Tart. The brewery received the 2015 Very Small Brewing Company and Very Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year GABF award.\n\nPros:\n\n \tThe wide range of styles it produces means there\u2019s something for everyone.\n \tInformation about the beers is straightforward and easy to understand even for the novice.\n \tThe brewery has 10 beers available year-round.\n\nCons:\n\n \tTheir beers come in cans.\n \tAll beers are not available on tap at the San Marcos location.\n\nRip Current Brewery is a destination if you\u2019re looking to refine your beer palate with some different offerings.\nOn Tour Brewing Company\nOn Tour Brewing Company in downtown Chicago is another brewery that likes to experiment with new styles. We loved the fact you can try different ales including rye, brown, Belgian, and, of course, IPA. It produces not one, but two porters. It received the 2017 Very Small Brewing Company and Very Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year from GABF.\n\nPros:\n\n \tYou can take a virtual tour of its tasting room.\n \tThe website is very user-friendly with information for getting to the brewery by the L or bike through a Divvy station.\n \tThe brewery offers its beers in a variety of sizes including 5-ounce tastings.\n\nCons:\n\n \tNot all styles are available for purchase in growlers.\n\nThe On Tour Brewing Company ticks off a lot of the boxes for a brewery that understands its consumers with brews that stretch the bounds.\n\nPicking a top microbrewery isn\u2019t an easy task. Taste, of course, is so subjective. We focused on the diversity of offerings and the styles that each one sells. That said, the On Tour Brewing Company takes high honors as the winner of the best microbreweries in America. We liked the fact that it offered variations on several styles so that you can see the craftsmanship at work. \n\nIt is definitely a business that understands its clientele and what they want out of their beer drinking experience. Having tasting sizes available is just one example of this trait. Besides, the tasting room has a cool steampunk kind of vibe about it that we really enjoyed. If you\u2019re in the area, it\u2019s worth a stop if just to do a flight of its different ales and IPAs.