What constitutes a great beer? Every beer-lover the world over certainly has his or her own definition and dream list of favorites, which likely evolves over time. Narrowing down the best beers in the world to a mere 50 was a daunting and fascinating (not to mention delicious) task.
Almost every country in the world has been making beer for generations if not centuries, and some make literally hundreds and hundreds of varieties. The explosion of the craft beer scene internationally in recent decades has brought even more unique, hearty, and compelling beers to consumers. Tried and true Belgian and German styles are now being brewed in all corners of the world, and trends such as bourbon barrel-aging, artisanal hops, and added lactose and fruit are steaming forward.
Obviously, there can be no perfect method of arriving at a roster of the very best, and many gems — probably including some of your favorites — have undoubtedly been overlooked. To arrive at our consensus, though, we informally polled beer authorities of our acquaintance and scoured the internet, combing through the reviews, ratings, and top lists from RateBeer.com, Beer Advocate, The World Beer Awards, The World Beer Cup, and The Great American Beer Festival, among many others. We weighed the ratings of rising stars next to the time-tested reviews of the old dogs, the beers of fame.
Our list celebrates beers that have been brewed by monks exactly the same way for hundreds of years, side by side with experimental brews crafted on the fly, with no two batches ever fermented in the same location twice. It includes suds you can find at your local grocery store and unicorns so highly sought after that many consumers have merely glimpsed the bottles on the internet. There are everyday session beers and those to be saved for special (and expensive!) occasions. You may not agree with everything on this list and may decry the absences, but we guarantee that these are all amazing specimens that we think everyone should try at least once.