Some states are better known for their craft beers than others. Michigan, California, Vermont, and Maine seem to contain all of the world’s best beers at times and oftentimes dominate the beer conversation in America. But hop heads, stout devotees, and pilsner people all across the United States know that each and every state has its shining beacons of beer.
So, we decided to give Alabama, South Dakota, and even Utah some love by finding out what beer reigns supreme in the less talked about areas of the country.
We combed through Beer Advocate, RateBeer, Untappd, and winners from the Great American Beer Festival to determine that beer everyone orders and seeks out in your state. Some of these beers are ultra-rare and much-coveted. But others are everyday flagship IPAs and lagers that are just really, really well done.
Good People Brewing Company’s Snake Handler Double IPA is a celebration of all things hoppy, with five different varieties of hops and aromas of pine, citrus, and grass. But don’t worry, it’s still described as “dangerously drinkable.” It’s the Birmingham brewery’s most requested beer for a reason.
Barleywines aren’t for everyone, but Anchorage Brewing Company’s A Deal With The Devil packs a world of flavor in every single sip. Complex with flavors of caramels and malts, this smooth yet thick beer is a flawless example of its style.
Gilbert, Arizona, brewery Arizona Wilderness uses seven pounds of locally-roasted coffee beans for every batch of its Superstition Coffee Stout. It pours jet black, but don’t be intimated by the color. It’s aged on Madagascar vanilla beans for a week, leading to a sweet aroma and flavor.
Released at Russian River Brewing Company on the first Friday in February and available for only two weeks at the pub, Pliny the Younger is The Daily Meal’s third best beer in the world. So obviously it’s the best brew in California. Those lucky enough to get a glass of this understand how beautiful the blend of hops in this triple IPA truly is.
Colorado is home to many, many beautiful beers, but WeldWerks Brewing Company’s Medianoche takes the cake for 2017. Brewed to celebrate the brewery’s first anniversary, this full-bodied imperial stout has deep notes of vanilla, bourbon, oak, and cocoa.
Brewed with Citra hops, New England Brewing Co.’s Fuzzy Baby Ducks pours with a hazy orange color and tastes like big, juicy citrus fruits. Think of mango, orange, and pineapple. But just because it’s hazy doesn’t mean it’s bitter; the flavor is wonderfully restrained.
Dogfish Head has a wide array of beers that could be considered top of their class, but it’s still hard to beat their 90 Minute IPA. Brewed continuously with hops for, you guessed it, 90 minutes, this amber imperial IPA tastes vaguely of brandy and caramel, but it’s beautifully balanced with a ton of hops. There’s a flavor here for everyone.
It should be no surprise that Tampa’s Cigar City has the best beer in Florida. And while they have many wonderful offerings, their Double Barrel Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout is the best of the best. Aged 50 percent in rum barrels, 50 percent in apple brandy barrels, this sought-after imperial stout is spicy yet rich and the 14th best beer in the world.
Balance is an important part of any IPA, and Creature Comforts Brewing Co.’s Tropicália has all the balance. This fruit-forward beer tastes of passionfruit and citrus, but don’t worry about bitterness. This beer is as refreshing as they come.
Maui Brewing Company’s Imperial Coconut Porter won the gold medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival for Field Beer thanks to its malted toasted coconut flavor and creamy, silky mouthfeel. We wouldn’t expect any less from this tropical state!
Malts get all of the love in Jagged Shard, a red ale from Boise Brewing. Against its strong malted backbone, hints of citrus and hops come through at the back of your tongue, resulting in a balanced drinking experience.
Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout may be hard to track down, but when you find a bottle of this Toppling Goliath Brewing Company brew, hold it tight. Seriously. Riots have broken out over this stuff. And one taste of this smooth maple syrup- and coffee-flavored stout, and you’ll know why it’s the best beer in the world.
Against the Grain Brewing Company took its popular 35K stout and doubled it. The result was — you guessed it — the 70k. Double the roasted deliciousness, double the creaminess, this imperial milk stout has scored the elusive 100 on RateBeer.
Parish’s Ghost in the Machine pours a hazy yellow-orange hue, and while it’s full of juicy, big hop flavors, it still goes down with ease. Lightly sweet with notes of mango, tangerine, and peach, this beer is perfect for the hop lover in your life.
Stillwater Artisanal Ales’ Gose Gone Wile is funky with “massive” amounts of Citra and Amarillo hops, but don’t worry. It’s still a crisp and sour gose with noticeable notes of yeast. At just 4.3 percent ABV, it’s insanely drinkable.
You can’t go wrong with any IPA from Boston’s Trillium Brewing Company, but the Double Dry Hopped Congress Street takes the cake. With a milky, yellow-orange appearance, this brew is the perfect example of what Galaxy hops can turn in to. Each glass simply explodes with flavors of grass, tropical fruits, and the slightest creamy malt (for balance).
Southern Prohibition Brewing’s Hex Clouds pours cloudy and hazy. It has a malty taste up front, but then the hops really hit you with flavors of pine and tropical fruits. This beer is dank, perfect for serious hop lovers.
Side Project’s Fuzzy is a blonde American wild ale that’s almost as much of a wine as it is a beer. Aged in chardonnay barrels and on locally-grown white peaches, the resulting taste of this limited edition brew is perfectly tart.
Big Sky Brewing Company’s Ivan the Terrible is a thick, dense Russian imperial stout, but don’t think that means it’s difficult to drink. It’s surprisingly easy sipping. Brewed in the traditional style using English hops and American malts, this brew tastes of dried fruit, roasted cocoa, and bourbon.
With numerous awards, Nebraska Brewing Company’s Black Betty Imperial Stout is what puts Nebraska beer on the map. True to its name, it pours pure black and has notes of rich chocolate, oak, and coffee.
With an 8.9 percent ABV, Stoneface’s double-dry hopped beer Hopulization is a certifiable juice bomb. Galaxy and Calypso hops give this medium-bodied beer notes of citrus and pineapple perfect for any IPA fan.
Albuquerque’s La Cumbre is well known for its IPAs, but none top flagship Elevated IPA. Though it clocks in at just 7.2 percent ABV, this beer is full of hops. With a perfect 100 score on RateBeer, you know this beer is the perfect example of its style.
Fargo Brewing Company makes plenty of wonderful beers, but 1.21 Gigahops is perhaps their finest brew. With a dark, hazy orange color, it may look like this beer has an overwhelming amount of hops, but its balance of bitterness and sweet malts is beyond pleasing.
Ohio is the home to many stellar breweries that make incredible beers, but Columbus Brewing Company’s Bodhi just may take the cake. This golden IPA highlights Citra hops but is truly balanced in every sense of the word.
Voodoo Brewing Company’s ManBearPig can be quite elusive, but it’s worth tracking down a bottle. With local honey and syrup in its recipe, this beer is beautifully sweet. But don’t think that’s all there is to ManBearPig. It’s aged in bourbon barrels and brewed with smoked malts, adding layers of flavor to every bottle.
Proclamation Ale Company/Yelp
Proclamation Ale Company’s Derivative: Galaxy pale ale is milky and hazy — it isn’t just another IPA. With scents of peaches and oranges and a distinctive creaminess, this beer is like a hopped up creamsicle. Lightly sweet, lightly bitter, and plenty juicy, this beer is all you could ever want.
Yelp / Scotty C.
South Carolina’s Westbrook Brewing cooked up their Mexican Cake as a first anniversary celebration for themselves, but beer fans are really the ones who have something to celebrate with this imperial stout. Cocoa nibs and vanilla beans give this beer a rich, sweet flavor and the Mexican influence comes into play perfectly with hints of cinnamon and habanero pepper. Happy birthday, indeed!
South Dakota isn’t necessarily known for its stellar beers, but The Knuckle Brewing Company’s flagship beer Knuckle Head Red is a fine beer. Amber ales are often underrated, but this coppery beer has nice caramel notes with a slight grassy, floral taste that’s worth appreciating.
Yelp / Torri M.
Wiseacre Brewing’s Astronaut Status is a limited-edition beer, but you need to hunt it down whenever you can. With an inky black color and a big chocolate taste, this thick, creamy beer is almost like dessert.
Yelp / Tiff T.
Unfiltered, unpasteurized and 100 percent bottle conditioned, Jester King’s Atrial Rubicite is a sour brew that won’t make you pucker your lips. Raspberry undertones shine to give this beer a beautiful balanced taste.
Epic Brewing Company’s Big Bad Baptist defies everything you might think about Utah and its relationship to alcohol. With an 11.8 percent ABV and big, bold coffee and chocolate flavors, this imperial stout is bold in all its bourbon barrel-aged glory.
Between the brewery juggernauts of Hill Farmstead and The Alchemist, picking the best beer in Vermont is quite the task. But we had to go with a classic: The Alchemist’s Heady Topper. This flagship IPA is not overrated. It’s perfectly floral yet complex, and every drinker has his or her own experience of flavors, making this a simply glorious brew.
Hardywood Park’s Gingerbread Stout is aged in bourbon barrels to make the brewery’s finest beer: Kentucky Christmas Morning. Notes of vanilla, coconut, and coffee come through to this beautiful ginger-spiced beer for a drink that’s perfect for the most wonderful time of year.
Fremont Brewing Company’S The First Nail is already an epic oatmeal stout, but it takes on a whole new life when aged in bourbon barrels. Then, it’s christened as The Rusty Nail, Washington’s best beer. Spicy, full-bodied, and warming with notes of chocolate, licorice, and cinnamon, this beer is best savored slowly.
Yelp / Greg J
DC Brau Brewing Co.’s On the Wings of Armageddon is a world-class imperial IPA. Though many imperial IPAs are held in high regard, this single-hopped beer has a marvelous mellow bitterness that does not give way to its weighty 9.2 percent ABV.
Smooth, creamy, and perfectly bittersweet, Bridge Brew Works’ winter seasonal Moxxee Coffee Stout blends together chocolate and coffee flavors so flawlessly, you’d swear you were drinking a beautiful mocha on Christmas morning.
With a “stupid amount of hops,” Melvin Brewing’s 2x4 DIPA is dank as heck. Clean and crisp yet intensely floral and citrusy, this 9.9 percent ABV beer has everything you could ever want from its style.