The World’s 50 Best Beers from The World’s 50 Best Beers for 2017

The World’s 50 Best Beers for 2017

Full Story
World's 50 Best Beers

The Daily Meal

The World’s 50 Best Beers

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.

Papaya Rye

nomadabrewing.com

#50 Papaya Rye

Nómada Brewing, Sabadell (Barcelona), Spain

ABV: 9 percent

Dark gold in color, it’s an explosion of fruit, hops, and rye. Malty with hints of tropical fruit and caramel, it’s both intense and extremely drinkable. Nómada Papaya Rye earned spots on RateBeer.com’s lists for both best 100 beers in the world and top imperial IPA.

Here’s how to ask for a beer in 5 different languages.

#49 Viaemilia

birrificiodelducato.it

#49 Viaemilia

Birrifico del Ducato, Parma, Italy

ABV: 5 percent

A perennial favorite, it has consistently won medals at the World Beer Cup and the European Beer Star awards. Birrifico del Ducato was named Italy's Brewery of the Year in 2010 and 2011, and has won many other prizes. This floral, herbaceous beer, malted, with notes of honey, pairs beautifully with the prosciutto that also hails from this region.  

#48 Brio

Brio-Olgerdin-Egill-Skallagrimsson

#48 Brio

Brio, Olgerdin Egill Skallagrimsson, Reykjavik, Iceland

ABV: 4.5 percent

When a brewery is named after a Viking poet, you know you're in for something excellent. Brio contains notes of herbal spicy hops and cracker-y grains. Brewed with Icelandic mountain water, this favorite has taken home medals over the years at the World Beer Cup and World Beer Awards.

#47 Galaxy IPA

otherhalfbrewing.com

#47 Galaxy IPA

Other Half Brewing, Brooklyn

ABV: 6.5 percent

Hazy peach color, resinous, grassy, and surprisingly floral with hints of tropical fruit. Other Half Brewing is a rising star in the craft beer world, and this IPA is considered one of the best in New York.

Learn more about Brooklyn and craft beer.

#46 Nøgne Ø Porter

Nøgne - Ø

#46 Nøgne Ø Porter

Nøgne Ø, Grimstad, Norway

ABV: 7 percent

An outstanding, full-bodied porter brewed in Norway — jet black, with an aroma of dark chocolate and espresso, followed by caramel. It was the winner of the Bronze for Foreign Extra Stout at the 2016 Barcelona Beer Challenge.

#45 ManBearPig

Facebook/Voodoo Brewing

#45 ManBearPig

Voodoo Brewing Co., Meadville, Pa.

ABV: 14.1 percent

Aged in bourbon barrels and made with maple syrup and local honey, this potent brew, pitch-black and complex, offers a bold aftertaste that lingers. A standout among beers, it makes Beer Advocate’s list of top beers in the world for 2016.

#44 Black Eyed King Imp Vietnamese Coffee Edition

BrewDog

#44 Black Eyed King Imp Vietnamese Coffee Edition

BrewDog, Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

ABV: 12.7 percent

Ranked among the top 100 beers in the world for 2016 by RateBeer.com, this is the world’s strongest canned ale. It is pitch black and intense, with strong coffee and cocoa aromas.

Click here to learn more about BrewDog.

#43 Breakside IPA

breakside.com

#43 Breakside IPA

Breakside Brewery, Portland, Ore.

ABV: 6.4 percent

This is a delicious, hop-forward IPA with notes of grapefruit, evergreen, resin, and tangerine. It’s loaded with four types of hops, then dry-hopped. Breakside IPA won the gold medal for American-Style IPA at the Best of Craft Beer Awards 2016.

#42 Lambo Door

grimmales.com

#42 Lambo Door

Grimm Artisanal Ales, Brooklyn

ABV: 8 percent

Grimm describes it as “pure hop candy.” Brewed with Citra, El Dorado, and Simcoe hops, this double IPA came out No. 1 in Paste magazine’s blind taste test of 115 double IPAs. Grimm is pioneering a growing trend in craft beer, “gypsy brewing” — going to other breweries and using their equipment.

#41 Samiec Alfa

artezan.pl

#41 Samiec Alfa

Browar Artezan, Błonie, Poland

ABV: 11 percent

This barrel-aged dream ranks among the top 50 imperial stouts on RateBeer.com. It has a sweet aroma, low bitterness, and strong vanilla and fudge notes with a creamy body.

#40 St. Feuillien Triple

st-feuillien.com

#40 St. Feuillien Triple

Brasserie St-Feuillien / Friart, Le Roeulx, Belgium

ABV: 8.5 percent

Pale amber color with a distinctive maltiness. A second fermentation in the bottle yields a distinctive aroma due to the yeast, and it has a lingering finish as a result of its long storage period. It was the winner of the gold for Belgian tripel (a type of strong ale) in the 2016 Barcelona Beer Challenge.

Belgian beer is now officially considered an international heritage.

#39 Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel

mikkeller.dk

#39 Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel

Lervig Aktiebryggeri, Copenhagen, Denmark

ABV: 10.9 percent

This top 50 imperial stout is brewed with some of the world’s most expensive coffee, which happens to be made from coffee beans that have passed through the digestive systems of civet cats, the notoriously picky Southeast Asian mammals that eat only the ripest and finest coffee berries. Civet, or Weasel, coffee is quite rare, with a sharp aroma. This lends the beer an intense, smoky profile, with notes of toasted bread and roasted vanilla.

Avec Les Bons Voeux

brasserie-dupont.com

#38 Avec Les Bons Voeux

Brasserie Dupont, Tourpes-Leuze, Belgium

ABV: 9.5 percent

A blonde, high-fermentation beer that’s coppery in color, light in body, dry, and tart. This tasty Belgian farmhouse ale is ranked among the world’s top abbey tripels. It’s perfect to drink at cellar temperature, or chilled as an apéritif.

#37 Julius

treehousebrew.com

#37 Julius

Tree House Brewing Company, Monson, Mass.

ABV: 6.8 percent

With notes of mango and sweet citrus fruit and a rounded bitterness, this IPA is frighteningly easy to drink. Beerishealthy.com declares it to be currently the “Best IPA in the world.”

#36 Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier

Fastenbier-Schlenkerla

#36 Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier

Braueri Heller, Bamberg, Germany

ABV: 5.5 percent

Reddish-brown body with a big white head, this unfiltered beer has the distinct aroma of smoked meat, which is balanced by the flavors of cinnamon toast and caramel. Fastenbier means “lent beer,” and this favorite is only available during Lent each year, from Ash Wednesday to Easter.

Can’t make it to Munich for Oktoberfest?  Here’s a guide to the best beer gardens in NYC.

#35 Orval

orval.be

#35 Orval

Brasserie d'Orval, Florenville, Villers d’Orval, Belgium

ABV: 6.2 percent        

An orange, coppery body with a gigantic white head and an aroma full of yeast, lemons, and a light — not overpowering — funk. Floral, citric, and complex, this is a medium-bodied, dry beer. It’s also the only beer made for the general public by the Orval Trappist Brewery.

#34 Double Barrel Jesus

eviltwin.dk

#34 Double Barrel Jesus

Evil Twin Brewing, Westbrook Brewing Co., Brooklyn

ABV: 12 percent

One of RateBeer.com’s top 100 beers in the world for 2016, this imperial stout is opaque black with bourbon and vanilla notes, and a fudge-like body.

Duck Duck Gooze

lostabbey.com

#33 Duck Duck Gooze

The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, Calif.

ABV: 7 percent

Sourish in aroma and flavor, with notes of apples and citrus, a crisp, tart finish, and just enough sweetness for balance, this ale has been one of the brewery’s most sought-after beers since it was first released in 2009. It’s extremely difficult to come by, as it is only produced once every three years in limited quantities.

#32 Oude Geuze

oudbeersel.com

#32 Oude Geuze

Brouwerij Oud Beersel, Beersel, Belgium

ABV: 6 percent

A classic Belgian ale, this hazy, honey-colored brew has a wine-like flavor, a lemony tartness, and a kick of spice, with tiny bubbles and zingy carbonation. Considered the sparkling wine of the ale world, it also won “World’s Best Sour Beer” in the 2016 World Beer Awards.

Here are 5 rare beers, and how you can get your hands on them.

#31 Kormoran Imperium Prunum

browarkormoran.pl

#31 Kormoran Imperium Prunum

Browar Kormoran, Olsztyn, Poland

ABV: 11 percent

One of RateBeer.com’s top 100 beers in the world and the No. 1 Baltic porter in the world. Bursting with dried plum, smoked fruit, chocolate, and malt.

#30 Zombie Dust

Facebook / 3 Floyds

#30 Zombie Dust

Three Floyds Brewing Company, Munster, Ind.

ABV: 6.2 percent

The label alone makes this intense pale ale worth a gander, but if you come for the atypical art, you'll stay for the superiority of the brew. A nose redolent of pine and citrus, with a flavor that evokes grapefruit and honey, Zombie Dust is among the 50 greatest beers in the world, according to Men’s Fitness and thefiftybest.com.

#29 Péché Mortel

dieuduciel.com

#29 Péché Mortel

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!, Quebec, Canada

ABV: 6.5 percent

Coffee is infused during the brewing process, creating an intense, dense black imperial stout with the aroma of roasted beans and a slightly astringent finish. It is rated one of the highest imperial stouts on Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine.

#28 Two Hearted Ale

bellsbeer.com

#28 Two Hearted Ale

Bell’s Brewery, Galesburg, Mich.

ABV: 7 percent

Named after the Two Hearted River in Michigan’s upper peninsula, this crisp IPA is bursting with notes of pine and citrus. It is considered by Beer Advocate contributors to be one of the beers that will “stand the test of time.”

Here are the 50 best craft breweries in America.

#27 Darkness

surlybrewing.com

#27 Darkness

Surly Brewing Company, Minneapolis

ABV: 9.6 percent

Darkness is a complex, massive Russian imperial stout. With aromas of dark chocolate, fruit, and toffee, it has medium carbonation and is finished with non-traditional aroma hops. It has almost 10,000 near-perfect reviews on Untappd.

#26 Oude Geuze Vintage

Facebook / Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen & lambik-O-droom

#26 Oude Geuze Vintage

Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen, Beersel, Belgium

ABV: 6 percent

This is 3 Fonteinen’s reserve series geuze (a blend of lambics — beers fermented with wild yeasts), and is limited to local distribution in Belgium. It is released many years after being bottled and stored in Drie Fonteinen’s cellars, unlike the regularly released Oude Geuze, which has a six-month maturation period. It is up to the brewer’s discretion to identify which geuze will be declared vintage, and is based on its perceived aging potential, as well as taste. Oude Geuze Vintage is No. 18 on Beer Advocate’s 250 Beers of Fame, based on more than 10 years of reviews.

#25 Dinner

mainebeercompany.com

#25 Dinner

Maine Beer Company, Freeport, Maine

ABV: 8.2 percent

Dry-hopped twice, with more than six pounds of hops per barrel, this double IPA has a hazy golden color and a dry, refreshing character. Craft Beer & Brewing magazine gives it a perfect score of 100 among IPAs.

#24 Hopslam

bellsbeer.com

#24 Hopslam

Bell’s Brewery, Galesburg, Mich.

ABV: 10 percent

A double IPA brewed with Northwest hop varietals may not seem like much to write home about. Perhaps it’s the elusive nature of Hopslam, causing frantic calls to every beer store in town on just the faintest hint of the rumor they obtained five six-packs. A touch of honey permeates each sip, and the complex hopping schedule creates a beer that’s citrusy, crisp, bitter, and aromatic.

Check out the best bar in every state.

#23 Supplication

russianriverbrewing.com

#23 Supplication

Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, Calif.

ABV: 7 percent

This brown ale is aged for about 12 months in former pinot noir barrels from Sonoma County wineries, with sour cherries and yeasts. The result? Bright, sour fruit and some funk, and the pinot noir barrels make their presence known.

#22 Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier

weihenstephaner.de

#22 Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier

Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan, Freising, Germany

ABV: 5.4 percent

A traditional-style hefeweissbier (unfiltered wheat beer), it is medium-bodied with an earthy forest aroma, and is well-balanced, fruity, and dry. It’s the winner of the gold medal for South German-Style Hefeweizen in the 2016 World Beer Cup.

#21 The Abyss

deschutesbrewery.com

#21 The Abyss

Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore.

ABV: 11.1 percent

Hints of licorice on the nose, The Abyss is dry-hopped with cherry bark and vanilla beans and aged in oak barrels. It’s the 2016 winner of America’s Best Imperial Stout by the World Beer Awards.

Visit Bend, Oregon, for adventure, beer, and fresh mountain air.

#20 Speedway Stout – Bourbon Barrel Aged

alesmith.com

#20 Speedway Stout – Bourbon Barrel Aged

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, Calif.

ABV: 12 percent

Opaque black in color with a dark tan head. Contains chocolate and licorice aromas with a smoky roasted coffee flavor. Creamy and lush, this beer ages extremely well, and received a perfect score of 100 from Craft Beer & Brewing magazine.

#19 La Fin du Monde

unibroue.com

#19 La Fin du Monde

Unibroue, Quebec, Canada

ABV: 9 percent

A cloudy, yeasty, floral, triple-style golden ale, medium in body but very rich in flavor. Unibroue says it is brewed “in honor of the intrepid European explorers who believed they had reached the end of the world when they discovered North America, ‘the new world’.” It has won more awards than any other Canadian beer.

#18 Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout

Three Floyds

#18 Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout

Three Floyds Brewing Company, Munster, Ind.

ABV: 15 percent

Dense and caramel-y, with suggestions of chocolate and coffee in the nose, and dried fruit and brown sugar on the palate. It’s available at the brewery only one day a year, Dark Lord Day, usually in April but on May 13 this year.

#17 Parabola

firestonebeer.com

#17 Parabola

Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, Calif.

ABV: 13.1 percent

Firestone’s Parabola is the imperial stout that’s talked about like a fine wine. Don’t be surprised to hear someone mention hints of tobacco and oak, or dark coffee and vanilla. A truly complex Russian imperial stout, it’s both sweet and bitter, and often incredibly difficult to find. It’s aged in a blend of bourbon barrels from Pappy Van Winkle, Woodford Reserve, Elijah Craig, and more.

#16 Schneider Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock

schneider-weisse.de

#16 Schneider Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock

Schneider Weisse G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH, Kelheim, Germany

ABV: 12 percent

According to the brewery, "Legend has it that Aventinus barrels froze during transport in cold winter days. Brewers tasted the liquid that had remained unfrozen and were most delighted." We can understand why. This beer is legendary, with a nose of bananas and flavors of dark fruit, cocoa, and clove. 

Check out the 20 best restaurants in Germany.

#15 Mornin’ Delight

Toppling Goliath Brewing Co.

#15 Mornin’ Delight

Toppling Goliath Brewing Company, Decorah, Iowa

ABV: 12 percent

With a massive espresso aroma and a thick, rich body, this imperial stout ranked No. 3 on RateBeer.com’s top 50 beers in the world. Jason Alstrom, founder of Beer Advocate and a 17-year veteran of the beer industry, said he thought Toppling Goliath beer would be “a favorite for a long time,” according to the Des Moines Register.

#14 Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout – Double Barrel Aged

cigarcitybrewing.com

#14 Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout – Double Barrel Aged

Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, Fla.

ABV: 11 percent

Tickets for $200 to $400 go on sale every December for Hunahpu’s Day, Cigar City Brewing’s craft beer festival in March that gives fans first access to taste the newest incarnation of this perennial favorite. Tickets include four to 12 highly sought-after bottles of this spicy, rich imperial stout that’s aged 50 percent in rum barrels, 50 percent in apple brandy barrels.

#13 Pliny the Elder

russianriverbrewing.com

#13 Pliny the Elder

Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, Calif.

ABV: 8 percent

The ancient Roman naturalist and philosopher Pliny the Elder coined the botanical name for hops, Lupus salictarius, which means “wolf among willows” — though it's not certain that the plant he applied it to was hops. In any case, this double IPA is hazy, coppery gold in color with an aroma of pine. It's crisp, with perfectly balanced hops and a taste of fresh grapefruit. This beer has taken the gold medal in the World Beer Cup and The Great American Beer Festival, and is considered to be one of the best West Coast IPAs ever made.

#12 Westvleteren Extra 8

sintsixtus.be

#12 Westvleteren Extra 8

Westvleteren Abdij St. Sixtus, Westvleteren, Belgium

ABV: 8 percent

Only six Belgian beers can claim to be produced within the walls of a Trappist abbey, and the monks at The Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren produce the least number of barrels of all these abbeys, making their dark ale especially scarce. With notes of chai, raisin, and dark bread, this dubbel has a well-carbonated mouthfeel and a big, foamy head.

3 things to do in Bruges, Belgium.

#11 Kentucky Breakfast Stout

foundersbrewing.com

#11 Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, Mich.

ABV: 11.2 percent

Taking its incredibly popular Breakfast Stout to the next level may have seemed an impossible task for Founders, but they managed. Cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels, this imperial stout is in a class of its own. Brewed with chocolate and coffee, the KBS is for breakfast aficionados who demands a touch of bourbon with their breakfast beer.

#10 Ann

hillfarmstead.com

#10 Ann

Hill Farmstead Brewery, Greensboro Bend, Vt.

ABV: 6.5 percent

Hill Farmstead was recently named the “Best Brewery in the World” by RateBeer.com. The brewery’s honey saison, Anna, is aged in French oak wine barrels over many months in the presence of microflora to become Ann. Naturally carbonated, Ann showcases a complex, lemony tartness with hints of green apple.

#9 Lou Pepe Kriek

cantillon.be

#9 Lou Pepe Kriek

Brasserie Cantillon, Brussels, Belgium

ABV: 5 percent

Every year, Cantillon manages to procure one to two tons of delicate, rare Schaerbeek sour cherries, which are hard to come by due to unpredictable harvests. These cherries, used exclusively for blending Kriek, are soaked for two to three months to produce this tart, juicy lambic. Production is limited to a few thousand bottles per year due to the limited fruit supply. Lou Pepe Kriek ranked among Thrillist’s Best Beers of 2016.

#8 Celebrator

ayinger.de

#8 Celebrator

Brauerei Aying, Aying, Germany

ABV: 6.7 percent

The outlier of German styles, this doppelbock (a strong, malty lager) is strong but not overpowering, with a frothy head. Aged for half a year, it’s an excellent party beer to share with family and friends.

#7 St. Bernardus Abt 12

sintbernardus.be

#7 St. Bernardus Abt 12

St. Bernardus Brouwerij, Watou, Belgium

ABV: 10 percent

Big, rich, spicy, creamy, malty, potent — like drinking high-proof fruitcake with chocolate and caramel thrown in. It’s an abbey ale, brewed in Belgium’s classic quadrupel style (stronger than tripel) after an old Trappist recipe. St. Bernardus is considered among the beer community to be one of the best beers in the world.

24 hours in Munich, Germany.

#6 Bourbon County Brand Stout

gooseisland.com

#6 Bourbon County Brand Stout

Goose Island Beer Company, Chicago

ABV: 13.8 percent

This limited-release stout does not kid around. It has a rich black hue with a short, caramel-colored head and strong aromas of bourbon, vanilla, and fig. Chocolate and molasses notes follow.

#5 Heady Topper

alchemistbeer.com

#5 Heady Topper

The Alchemist, Waterbury, Vt.

ABV: 8 percent

Incredibly difficult to procure (unless you live within 20 miles of the brewery), this Vermont double IPA is beloved by beer enthusiasts around the world. Award-winning and elusive, this beer sells out the minute it hits the shelves.

#4 Rochefort Trappistes 10

merchantduvin.com

#4 Rochefort Trappistes 10

Brasserie Rochefort, Rochefort, Belgium

ABV: 11.3 percent

A traditional Belgian quadrupel, the Rochefort "Blue Cap" is one of the few remaining true Trappist beers. At 11.3 percent, this beer is malty and dark, with hints of plum and apricot at colder temperatures, and a complexity that only expands the closer this beer gets to true cellar temperature. A slow-sipping beer with the complexity of a fine scotch or wine, it’s the winner of Belgian Beer Journal’s blind tasting of "quads" last October.

#3 Pliny the Younger

russianriverbrewing.com

#3 Pliny the Younger

Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, Calif.

ABV: 10.25 percent

Named after the aforementioned Pliny the Elder’s nephew (and adopted son), who documented his observations at the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius (where his uncle died) in the year 79 A.D. A true triple IPA (with three times the amount of hops of a conventional one), it is extremely difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to make. Pliny the Younger has a medium bitterness and a beautiful copper color. It’s available in pub draft only and was released at the brewery on the first Friday in February for two weeks only.

Click here for 22 great craft beers with oddball names.

#2 Westvleteren 12 (XII)

westvleterenbeers.com

#2 Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Westvleteren Abdij St. Sixtus, Westvleteren, Belgium

ABV: 10.2 percent

This one clearly belongs near the top, and some experts would argue that it deserves the No. 1 spot. A true Trappist beer, brewed by Trappist monks on the grounds of the Saint Sixtus Abbey, it’s dark chestnut brown with a nose of dark fruit and brown sugar. Complex and spicy, this quadrupel (a term used in Belgium to denote brews over 10 percent ABV) is full of lively carbonation. Westvleteren 12 is RateBeer.com’s No. 1 Abt/quadrupel in the world, and earned a perfect score of 100 from Craft Beer & Brewing magazine.

#1 Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout

Toppling Goliath Brewing Co.

#1 Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout

Toppling Goliath Brewing Company, Decorah, Iowa

ABV: 12 percent

A barrel-aged imperial stout brewed with coffee, this beer is notoriously difficult to track down. It has a massive maple aroma, followed by hints of chocolate and hazelnut. It was ranked in 2015 on Esquire Magazine’s “10 Great Beers You Will Never Taste,” and was No. 1 on Beer Advocate’s top 250 beers in the world.

You've just watched...

World's 50 Best Beers

The World’s 50 Best Beers for 2017