This Is Who Really Makes Kirkland Beer

If you ever show up to a party with a six-pack of Kirkland beer, let's just admit right now that it'll probably stay in the cooler the whole night. Despite its proven high quality, Kirkland beer, unfortunately, doesn't have the greatest reputation amongst customers. In fact, many who have tried it have gone so far as to firmly place it in the "worst beer ever" category (via Reddit). But are they really being fair?

This snobbery may have something to do with the fact that Kirkland's stuff is a generic beer from a department store. But the real truth is that you can find the exact same beer under a different label with a more authentic-sounding name. That's because, according to The Takeout, Costco contracts its beers from two separate breweries: Matt Brewing and Gordon Biersch, which also does business as Hopfen Und Malz Brewing Co. Each brewery produces Kirkland beers for distribution to Costco stores on opposite sides of the country. Gordon Biersch is based in San Jose, California, while Matt Brewing's supply comes out of Utica, New York.

Which Kirkland beer is the best to buy?

As is the case with most Costco products, there's a wide selection of Kirkland beers to choose from. Whether you prefer ale, IPA, lager, pilsner, porter, or stout, Costco just about has it all. Well, except for a light beer atrocity that was discontinued in 2018 due to some seriously negative reviews (via Business Insider). Most of these beers average a rating of three stars on both Untappd and Beer Advocate. However, because there are so many variations in each category, it might be hard to tell which ones are actually the best. 

However, if you shop at Costco on the West Coast, your best bet is definitely Kirkland's German-style lagers and ales, because Gordon Biersch specializes in German beer. As for Costco on the East Coast, go for Kirkland's pale ale and its similarly styled IPA. In 2020, Matt Brewing's pale ale and IPA received gold medal recognition for being two of the best in the world (via Observer-Dispatch). In the complicated world of beer opinions and ratings, that's as good an indicator as any. As it turns out, Costco's not a bad place at all to get a decent beer at an affordable price. You just may have to do some convincing at the next party when you bring Kirkland beer to the cooler.