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The World’s 50 Best Beers for 2018 Ranking

Your beer bucket list, brewed up fresh
beer
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The World’s 50 Best Beers for 2018

The World’s 50 Best Beers for 2018
iStock

Benjamin Franklin may have never actually uttered the phrase “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” but we’ll be darned if that doesn’t feel true. Is there anything that is more refreshing and soothing at the end of the day than a high-quality beer, whether it be on your couch, at the bar, or with dinner? We don’t think so. And so to honor the wonderful invention that is beer, we’ve put together out list of the world’s 50 best brews.

#50 Les Trois Mousquetaires Porter Baltique

#50 Les Trois Mousquetaires Porter Baltique
Courtesy of Les Trois Mousquetaires

Brossard, Quebec, Canada
ABV: 10 percent
Brewed in a traditional style and inspired by true Baltic Sea beers, this Canadian dark lager is malty and warming and has just the right amount of dark chocolate and dried fruit flavor. Creamy but not too heavy, this beer proves Canada has more to offer than Molson.

#49 Prairie Artisan Ales Bourbon Paradise

#49 Prairie Artisan Ales Bourbon Paradise

Lisa W./Yelp

Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
ABV: 15.9 percent
Among the highest ABV beers on our list, this offering from Prairie earns its bourbon-loving name. This imperial stout has virtually no carbonation and pours a deep, thick black with a light tan head. The flavor is pure bourbon and oak. Sip this one slowly and savor the intensity.

#48 Nøgne Ø Porter

#48 Nøgne Ø Porter

Grimstad, Norway
ABV: 7 percent
An excellent, strongly carbonated beer from Norway, this brew is pure jet black, with an aroma of dark chocolate and espresso, followed by caramel. Pair it with dark chocolate or a perfectly cooked steak for a truly indulgent experience.

#47 Brasserie Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux

Tourpes-Leuze, Belgium
ABV: 9.5 percent
This Belgian farmhouse ale is ranked among the world’s top abbey tripels. It’s perfect to drink at cellar temperature, or chilled as an aperitif thanks to its light-in-body, dry, and tart taste.

#46 Angry Chair German Chocolate Cupcake Stout

#46 Angry Chair German Chocolate Cupcake Stout

Myk F./Yelp

Tampa, Florida, U.S.
ABV: 7.5 percent
The sweet milk stout is oftentimes dismissed by beer enthusiasts, but Angry Chair’s German Chocolate Cupcake Stout proves this is one of beer’s most fun and customizable styles. With coconut, Madagascar vanilla beans, and cacao nibs, this beer truly tastes like its namesake dessert.

#45 Jester King Atrial Rubicite

#45 Jester King Atrial Rubicite

Yelp / Tiff T.

Austin, Texas, U.S.
ABV: 5.8 percent
Unfiltered, unpasteurized, and 100 percent bottle-conditioned, Jester King’s Atrial Rubicite is a sour brew that won’t make you pucker your lips despite having literally hundreds of pounds of fresh raspberries in its mix. A subtle dryness makes this beer far more complex than the juice bomb it sounds like.

#44 Buxton Brewery/Omnipollo Yellow Belly

Buxton, England
ABV: 11 percent
Named after the cowardly among us, there’s nothing lacking in this beer. With a sweet, smooth taste and texture and hints of peanut butter, oats, and milk chocolate, this brew is like dessert in a bottle.

#43 Side Project Fuzzy

#43 Side Project Fuzzy

St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
ABV: 8 percent
Few wild ales truly feel wild, but Side Project’s Fuzzy does. This blonde American wild is aged in chardonnay barrels and on locally-grown white peaches, giving this limited edition beer an addictively tart taste.

#42 Browar Kormoran Imperium Prunum

Olsztyn, Poland
ABV: 11 percent
Bursting with dried plum, smoked fruit, chocolate, and malt flavors, this Polish beer is considered one of the very best Baltic porters in the world. With each sip, you’ll realize different colors and flavors in this truly dynamic brew.

#41 The Lost Abbey Duck Duck Gooze

#41 The Lost Abbey Duck Duck Gooze

iso b./Yelp

San Marcos, California, U.S.
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 Lost Abbey’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.

#40 Brasserie d'Orval Orval Trappist Ale

#40 Brasserie d'Orval Orval Trappist Ale

Scott S./Yelp

Villers d’Orval, Belgium
ABV: 6.2 percent
The Belgian Trappist ale features 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, making it highly sought-after yet attainable.

#39 Old Chimneys Good King Henry Special Reserve

Diss, England
ABV: 11 percent
Not many imperial stouts are described as “easily drinkable,” but not all imperial stouts are Old Chimneys Good King Henry. With a thick, black pour, this beer looks intimidating but is beautifully sweet and balanced.

#38 Trillium Headroom

#38 Trillium Headroom

Justin K./Yelp

Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
ABV: 8 percent
Boston’s best-kept secret is its world-class beer; and we’re not talking about Sam Adams. We’re talking about Trillium. This bottle-only brewery makes some of the dankest IPAs around, and Headroom is their hoppiest offering yet. With galaxy, mosaic, and Columbus hops, this summertime offering is as good as they get.

#37 Lawson's Finest Double Sunshine IPA

#37 Lawson's Finest Double Sunshine IPA

Craig G./Yelp

Warren, Vermont, U.S.
ABV: 8 percent
The Double Sunshine IPA is made by Lawson’s Finest Liquids, and boy this beer sure is fine. This double IPA is packed with hoppy flavor alongside bright herbal and juicy tropical fruit notes. Both sweet and bitter, this beer proves that the East Coast really does make the finest IPAs.

#36 Bokkereyder Framboos Noyaux

Hasselt, Belgium
ABV: 6 percent
This Belgian lambic is brewed with fresh raspberries, Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla beans, and peach pits, resulting in a delightful pink shade and a tart flavor. Sour beers are an emerging beer trend, and as always, Belgium is ahead of the curve on this one.

#35 Surly Darkness

#35 Surly Darkness

Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
ABV: 10.3 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. Like many beers on this list, you can only get it one day a year — in this case at Surly’s annual Darkness Day.

#34 Deschutes The Abyss

#34 Deschutes The Abyss

Jon M./Yelp

Bend, Oregon, U.S.
ABV: 11.4 percent
With hints of licorice on the nose, this brew from Deschutes is dry-hopped with cherry bark and vanilla beans and aged in oak barrels. After you’re lucky enough to procure a bottle, you can drink it immediately for a fresh, molasses-infused taste or let it age and meld over time. The choice is yours alone.

#33 Evil Twin Double Barrel Jesus

#33 Evil Twin Double Barrel Jesus

Brooklyn, New York, U.S./ Copenhagen, Denmark
ABV: 12 percent
This imperial stout is opaque black with bourbon and vanilla notes and a fudge-like body. With a name that says this beer is godly, expectations are high. And Evil Twin delivers. This brew has a 4.49/5 on Untappd, a perfect 100 on RateBeer and a world-class distinction on Beer Advocate.

#32 Unibroue La Fin du Monde

Chambly, Quebec, Canada
ABV: 9 percent
A cloudy, yeasty, floral, triple-style golden ale, La Fin du Monde has won more awards than any other Canadian beer. With a flavor that’s rich but medium in body, this beer is malty yet perfectly refined.

#31 Firestone Walker Parabola

#31 Firestone Walker Parabola

Paso Robles, California, U.S.
ABV: 14 percent
Firestone Walker’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.

#30 Maine Dinner

#30 Maine Dinner

Freeport, Maine, U.S.
ABV: 8.2 percent
Maine is known for its hazy, New England-style IPAs. But few newcomers can top the iconic Maine Dinner. 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 that is pure perfection in a bottle.

#29 Craig Allan Yigarcheffe

#29 Craig Allan Yigarcheffe
Courtesy of Craig Allan

Plessis-de-Roye, France
ABV: 9 percent
Named by RateBeer as the No. 1 beer in France, Yigarcheffe is a limited-edition brew that beer geeks will be hunting down for years to come. With a rich chocolate flavor that’s accompanied by just the right amount of roasted coffee flavor, this imperial stout is strong yet balanced, a true accomplishment.

#28 Cloudwater Brew Co. NW DIPA Citra

#28 Cloudwater Brew Co. NW DIPA Citra

Manchester, England
ABV: 9 percent
Cloudwater Brew Co. was recently named the No. 2 brewery in the world by RateBeer, and its signature beer NW DIPA Citra proves why it deserves that distinction. With a hazy golden color and a fierce hop flavor with hints of tropical fruit and grass, this beer proves IPAs aren’t just for Americans.

#27 Bell's Black Note Stout

Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.
ABV: 11.2 percent
A mix of their Expedition Stout and Double Cream Stout, Bell’s highly sought-after Black Note Stout is complex, with notes of coffee, bourbon, and plums. The smooth, velvety texture and flavor is everything you want your bourbon barrel-aged stout to be.

#26 Dieu du Ciel Péché Mortel

#26 Dieu du Ciel Péché Mortel

B M./Yelp

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
ABV: 9.5 percent
French for “mortal sin,” Péché Mortel is infused with coffee during the brewing process, creating an intense, dense black imperial stout with the aroma of roasted beans and a slightly astringent finish. Savor this beer; its coffee flavor is not understated but instead boldly and powerfully bitter.

#25 Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier

#25 Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier

Janet X./Yelp

Freising, Germany
ABV: 5.4 percent
A traditional-style hefeweizen, this classic German brew is medium-bodied with an earthy forest aroma, and is well-balanced, fruity, and dry. It’s a crisp, refreshing beer that exemplifies the idea that a perfectly-executed wheat beer is just as good as more experimental styles.

#24 St. Bernardus Brouwerij Abt 12

#24 St. Bernardus Brouweri Abt 12

Photo Courtesy of St. Bernardus

Watou, Belgium
ABV: 10 percent
This Belgian beer is big, rich, spicy, creamy, malty, and potent — like drinking high-proof fruitcake with chocolate and caramel thrown in. St. Bernardus is considered among the beer community to be one of the best beers in the world, and it’s far more accessible than some of its contemporaries.

#23 Funky Buddha Morning Wood

#23 Funky Buddha Morning Wood

Jonathan C./Yelp

Oakland Park, Florida, U.S.
ABV: 12 percent
Most breakfast stouts leave out tasting notes of one of the most important breakfast foods: bacon. But not Morning Wood. Along with expected flavors such as maple syrup and freshly roasted coffee, this beer has a surprising element of smoke that makes it stand out in the crowded breakfast stout market.

#22 7 Seven Island Brewery Citra Blast

Corfu, Greece
ABV: 6.5 percent
Named by RateBeer as the No. 1 beer in Greece, 7 Seven Island’s Citra Blast is a hop lover’s dream come true. Don’t let the level of hops freak you out, this beer is insanely smooth, with hints of pine, tropical fruit, and citrus.

#21 Three Floyds Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout

#21 Three Floyds Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout

Julie O./Yelp

Munster, Indiana, U.S.
ABV: 15 percent
One of the most sought-after beers in America, those lucky enough to try Dark Lord will find a bold, caramel-y imperial stout, 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, which will take place on May 19, 2018.

#20 Founders CBS

#20 Founders CBS
Bmosh99/Dreamstime.com

Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
ABV: 11.7 percent
Founders KBS tends to get all the love on “best beers” list because it’s released annually, but in late 2017, beer geeks were blessed with a surprise release of a more elusive Founders breakfast stout: Canadian Breakfast Stout, better known as CBS. Made with the same base and aging process as KBS but with the addition of maple syrup as a nod to their neighbors up north, this brew is rich and velvety, and the hint of syrup adds the most astounding sweet flavor.

#19 Schneider Weisse G. Schneider & Sohn Aventinus Eisbock

#19 Schneider Weisse G. Schneider & Sohn Aventinus Eisbock

LeAn H./Yelp

Kelheim, Germany
ABV: 12 percent
This beer is legendary, with a nose of bananas and flavors of dark fruit, cocoa, and clove. This is a strong beer, clocking in at 12 percent ABV, but its taste is pleasantly sweet and smooth complimented by the syrupy mouthfeel.

#18 AleSmith Speedway Stout

#18 AleSmith Speedway Stout

Dominic B./Yelp

San Diego, California, U.S.
ABV: 12 percent
Alesmith’s Speedway stout earns its name with its opaque black color. The intensity follows with waves of chocolate and licorice aroma with a smoky roasted coffee flavor. Creamy and lush, this beer ages extremely well, and received a perfect score of 100 from RateBeer and a solid 4.21 on Untappd

#17 Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen Zenne y Frontera

#17 Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen Zenne y Frontera

Scott S./Yelp

Beersel, Belgium
ABV: 7 percent
With Zenne y Frontera 3 Fonteinen sought to bridge the gap between the worlds of beer and wine. The result is this remarkable lambic brew, which was aged for 12 months in 40-year-old wine casks. The taste is layered and complex, with nutty, floral, and tangy notes. This beer has earned a perfect 100 score on RateBeer.

#16 Tree House King Julius

#16 Tree House King Julius

Kylie S./Yelp

Charlton, Massachusetts, U.S.
ABV: 8.2 percent
Tropical fruits such as pineapple, mango, and papaya are at the front of this insanely juicy IPA from the highly-regarded brewery Tree House. King Julius is thick and hazy and filled with hoppy flavors. However, it goes down so smooth, barely hinting at its 8.2 percent ABV.

#15 Brauerei Aying Celebrator

#15 Brauerei Aying Celebrator

Dominik B./Yelp

Aying, Germany
ABV: 6.7 percent
Doppelbock, a strong, malty lager, is an outlier among German styles, and this one is powerful but not overpowering and has a frothy head. Its malty taste is a favorite among fans of the style; this beer has a perfect 100 score on RateBeer and is distinguished as “outstanding” on Beer Advocate. Celebrator is aged for half a year, leading to a full taste with hints of coffee.

#14 Perennial Abraxas

#14 Perennial Abraxas

K D./Yelp

St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
ABV: 10 percent
It’s not often that a beer is branded as “challenging,” but with ingredients like ancho chile peppers, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and cinnamon sticks, Perennial’s imperial stout Abraxas really makes you think. The spice is the most thrilling tasting note here.

#13 Bottle Logic Fundamental Observation

#13 Bottle Logic Fundamental Observation

Sylvia D./Yelp

Anaheim, California, U.S.
ABV: 13.6 percent
Oh, your beer is aged in one bourbon barrel? That’s cute. Bottle Logic’s imperial vanilla stout Fundamental Observation is aged in four different bourbon barrels and blended with Madagascar vanilla beans. If it sounds like it’s full of delicious vanilla flavor, that’s because it is. But don’t think that it’s overly sweet; this limited-edition release has a beautiful bitter note to it, adding much-needed balance.

#12 Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel

#12 Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel

Scott S./Yelp

Copenhagen, Denmark
ABV: 10.9 percent
This 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. Don’t think about the “poo” in this beer. It lends Beer Geek Brunch Weasel an intense, smoky profile, with notes of toasted bread and roasted vanilla. It’s the perfect thing for true beer geeks to sip on a cold winter evening.

#11 Hill Farmstead Ann

#11 Hill Farmstead Ann

Julio H./Yelp

Greensboro Bend, Vermont, U.S.
ABV: 6.5 percent
Hill Farmstead was recently named the “Best Brewery in the World” by RateBeer.com, and everything they make is masterful. However, Ann, the barrel-aged version of their brewery’s honey saison, Anna, is their finest creation yet. 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.

#10 Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout

#10 Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
Carolyn Menyes

Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
ABV: 14.1 percent
One of the OGs of limited-release bourbon barrel-aged beers, Goose Island’s signature Bourbon County Brand Stout still holds up after all these years. This 14 percent beer pours a thick, oily black. Despite the intimidating color, this stout is insanely balanced with rich notes of dark chocolates, raisins, and dates. Just a little finish of smoky flavor makes this beer one of the true best in the world.

#9 Brasserie Cantillon Fou' Foune

#9 Brasserie Cantillon Fou' Foune

Monica H./Yelp

Brussels, Belgium
ABV: 5 percent
It’s not every day you hear of a beer that tastes exactly like apricot jam, but that’s what Fou' Foune from Brasserie Cantillon is. This bold, slightly tart and tangy lambic proves that a beer doesn’t have to be hopped to high heaven or aged in bourbon barrels to be among the best in the world. It earns its top 10 distinction from its soft, fresh flavor and can easily stand up to the bigger, bolder brews.

#8 Omnipollo/Siren Lorelei

Stockholm, Sweden
ABV: 10.5 percent
Based on a recipe submitted by home brewer Dave Strachan, Swedish brewery Omnipollo and English microbrewery Siren collaborated for Lorelei, a booming toasted coconut porter. It has an intoxicating aroma of sweet maple syrup, fudge, vanilla, and a bit of coconut. The accompanying taste is just as scrumptious with the added bonus of a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

#7 Cigar City Hunahpu's Imperial Stout - Double Barrel-Aged

#7 Cigar City Hunahpu's Imperial Stout - Double Barrel-Aged

Michelle M./Yelp

Tampa, Florida, U.S.
ABV: 11 percent
Tickets for $200 to $370 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. If you’re lucky enough to score a ticket, you’ll be able to procure this rich imperial stout that’s aged 50 percent in rum barrels, 50 percent in apple brandy barrels.

#6 Szałpiw Buba Extreme Whiskey Barrel Aged

Poznań, Poland
ABV: 16 percent
A true oily black quad, this Polish beer has a full body and even fuller flavor. Pour a glass of this smooth beer, and your nose will be instantly hit with hints of whiskey, toasted caramel, dates, and dark sugars. This is a rich brew with a beautiful balance of booze from the Jack Daniels barrels it’s aged in. Simply put, it’s an extraordinary beer and has earned the elusive perfect 100 on RateBeer and an impressive 4.71 rating on Untappd.

#5 Brasserie de Rochefort Trappistes Rochefort 10

#5 Brasserie de Rochefort Trappistes Rochefort 10
Venemama/Dreamstime.com

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, this beer has scored a perfect 100 on Rate Beer and is deemed “world class” by Beer Advocate.

#4 Russian River Pliny the Younger

#4 Russian River Pliny the Younger

Travis H./Yelp

Santa Rosa, California, U.S.
ABV: 10.25 percent
This true triple IPA is extremely difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to make. Thus, it’s available in pub draft only and is released at the brewery on the first Friday in February for two weeks only. It has a lot of hype, but it’s well deserved. There have been many imitators since Pliny the Younger first debuted in 2005, but no other triple IPA has bested the balanced, medium bitterness and a beautiful copper color of this brew.

#3 The Alchemist Heady Topper

#3 The Alchemist Heady Topper

Sue S./Yelp

Waterbury, Vermont, U.S.
ABV: 8 percent
The double IPA is a divisive beer type; oftentimes, the battle for getting the dankest, hoppiest brew overrides any hint of complementary flavors. This is not the case for The Alchemist’s flagship brew, Heady Topper. 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 thanks to its intoxicating aroma and pure hop flavor that comes in waves of oranges, pine, and spice.

#2 Brouwerij De Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren Westvleteren 12 (XII)

#2 Brouwerij De Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Brigitte C./Yelp

Westvleteren, Belgium
ABV: 10.2 percent
A true Trappist beer, brewed by Trappist monks on the grounds of the Saint Sixtus Abbey, this Belgian quad is a rich chestnut brown color with a nose of dark fruit and brown sugar. Complex and spicy, this brew is full of lively carbonation. What makes this beer so special is not only its taste but its rarity. Procuring a bottle is notoriously difficult; the monks are only allowed to make enough beer each month to support themselves and no more.

#1 Toppling Goliath Brewing Company Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout

#1 Toppling Goliath Brewing Company Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout

Justin S./Yelp

Decorah, Iowa, U.S.
ABV: 12 percent
If you can get your hands on this beer, you’re one lucky person. A barrel-aged imperial stout brewed with coffee, this beer is only released once a year, 300 to 400 bottles at a time, and only at the brewery. If you manage to nab a beer, you will taste a massive maple aroma, followed by hints of chocolate and hazelnut. This iconic beer is not just hype; it’s been consistently rated the top beer in the world by Beer Advocate, RateBeer, and of course, The Daily Meal. And if you’re looking for even more great beers, check out our list of the best beer in every state.

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