Sometimes, it feels like the conversations about craft beer in America are centered around just a handful of states. And yes, Michigan, California, Vermont, and Maine really do contain many of the world's best beers and the most high-profile breweries in America, but as craft beer continues to gain popularity, each and every state in the union has incredible, unique brews that locals go crazy for and in-the-know beer fans will travel for.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. And when it comes to those juggernaut states, we had to do a battle royal to see what beer truly is the best in every state.
To determine the best beer in every state (and Washington, D.C.), we first consulted our own rankings of the best beers in America and the best beers in the world. If an American brew can stand up to the beers from Belgium, it's probably the best in its state. Then, we consulted beer ranking and rating sites such as Beer Advocate, Untappd, and RateBeer to see what locals are loving. Finally, we took our own editorial staff into account and tapped into their knowledge and love of craft beer around the country.The result is a good portrait of beers across America. This list is dominated by beer geek favorite styles like imperial stouts, double IPAs, and porters, but you'll also find classic American IPAs, sour ales, and even a smoked beer or two. You never know what the best beer in your home state is if you don't read on to find out.
Alabama: Snake Handler Double IPA, Good People Brewing Company (Birmingham)
ABV: 10 percentGood 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. And if that sounds intense, don't worry. This brew still goes down smoothly and easily. It's the Birmingham brewery's most requested beer for a reason, and that reason is it's delicious.
Good People Brewing Company
Alaska: A Deal With the Devil, Anchorage Brewing Company (Anchorage)
ABV: 17.3 percentBarleywines aren't the easiest thing to drink, sometimes it feels like you're doing a deal with the devil. And oh hey! That's what Anchorage Brewing Company named the best beer in Alaska. This bold brew packs a world of flavor in every single sip with flavors of caramels and malts. A Deal With the Devil will cost you a pretty penny; the October 2017 release of this beer ran for $300 per six-pack.
Courtesy of Anchorage Brewing Company
Arizona: Tower Station IPA, Mother Road Brewing Company (Flagstaff)
ABV: 7.3 percentThe Tower Station IPA is named after an iconic stop on Route 66, Mother Road Brewing Company, and this IPA is just as refreshing as a much-needed break in a road trip. The taste of this beer comes to you in waves. At first, it's a classic, bitter beer. But then you get orange and grapefruit sweetness thanks to plentiful amounts of hops.
Courtesy of Mother Road Brewing
Arkansas: BDCS, Ozark Beer Company (Rogers)
ABV: 10.2 percentOzark Beer Company's Bourbon Barrel Aged Double Cream Stout is aged for seven months in 12-year-old Kentucky bourbon barrels with coffee beans from a local roaster. The result is everything you could imagine. There are obvious notes of whiskey and cocoa, with smaller hints of vanilla and spice. It has a luxuriously smooth and creamy pour, making it a true dessert beer.
California: Pliny the Younger, Russian River (Santa Rosa)
ABV: 10.25 percentThis true triple IPA is extremely difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to make. Thus, it's only available on draft at Russian River Brewing Company on the first Friday in February and two weeks after that. 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 beautiful copper color of this brew. And trust us: They have tried.
Courtesy of Russian River Brewing Company
Colorado: Ten FIDY, Oskar Blues (Longmont)
ABV: 10.5 percentNot every famous beer lives up to its reputation, but not every famous beer is Ten FIDY from Oskar Blues. This rich, creamy imperial stout pours pitch black, but don't think it's one note. There's dynamic flavors of dark chocolate, roasted malts, caramel, chocolate, and even a little bit of pine. At 10.5 percent, it's a big beer, but it's the perfect beer for winter.
Connecticut: Fuzzy Baby Ducks, New England Brewing Co. (Woodbridge)
ABV: 6.2 percentBrewed with Citra hops, New England Brewing Co.'s Fuzzy Baby Ducks pours with a hazy orange color - think of the actual color of a fuzzy baby duck, and that's what you get. Despite the adorable small name, this is a big ol' beer with an ungodly amount of hoppy citrus fruit flavors: Just think of mango, orange, and pineapple, and you've got it down.
New England Brewing Company
Delaware: 90 Minute IPA, Dogfish Head Brewery (Milton)
ABV: 9 percentDogfish Head has a wide array of beers that could be considered top of their class, but it's still hard to beat their signature 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.
Florida: Double Barrel Hunahpu's Imperial Stout, Cigar City (Tampa)
ABV: 11.5 percentIt should be no surprise that Tampa's Cigar City has the best beer in Florida; beer geeks around the country seek out this Tampa brewery's goods. 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. But good luck getting it. It's only sold one day a year at a special event called Hunahpu's Day, and passes are pricey (and almost always sell out).
ABV: 9.4 percentWake-n-Bake, formerly known just as W-n-B, is definitely worth getting out of bed for... not that we recommend day drinking. (Just kidding, we totally do!) This imperial stout from Athens' Terrapin Beer Co. is made with a collaboration between the brewery and Jittery Joe's Coffee, a local café chain and coffee roaster. So with a base that good (and local), the resulting beer has to be similarly amazing. It's got plenty of rich coffee flavor with just enough chocolate and caramel flavor to mimic the taste of a perfect morning beverage.
Courtesy of Terrapin Beer Company
Hawaii: Imperial Coconut Porter, Maui Brewing Company (Kihei)
ABV: 9 percentMaui Brewing Company's Imperial Coconut Porter won the gold medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival for Field Beer, and it's been a favorite of fans and critics alike ever since. Thanks to its malted toasted coconut flavor and creamy, silky mouthfeel, this 9 percent brew goes down so smoothly.
Courtesy of Maui Brewing Company
Idaho: Lost Continent Double IPA, Grand Teton Brewing (Victor)
ABV: 8 percentIf you want hops on hops on hops, you need to try the Lost Continent by Grand Teton Brewing. With Columbus, Centennial, Simcoe and tons of Bravo hops, this beer has a strong foundation of dank tangerine and grapefruit flavors. The result is a double IPA that is somewhere between an American and British brew, making this beer's name quite appropriate.
Courtesy of Grand Teton Brewing
Illinois: Bourbon County Brand Stout, Goose Island (Chicago)
ABV: 14 percentGoose Island's limited edition Bourbon County Brand Stout makes waves in beer circles every time it's released, and that's not easy to do when everyone is. 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.
Indiana: Zombie Dust, Three Floyds (Munster)
ABV: 6.2 percentConsider Zombie Dust from Three Floyds the juggernaut that powers you through the apocalypse, because this pale ale is anything but undead. The intensely hopped brew is floral on the nose and citrusy on the tongue with a slight bread-iness at the finish. As an added bonus, the comic-style bottle label is seriously dope - but not for the faint of heart.
Three Floyds Brewing Company
Iowa: Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout, Toppling Goliath Brewing Company (Decorah)
ABV: 12 percentIf you can get your hands on this beer, you're one lucky ducky. 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 Toppling Goliath brewery. If you manage to nab one of these elusive beers, you will taste a massive maple aroma, followed by hints of chocolate and hazelnut. And then, you'll understand why this is considered to be among the best beers in the world.
Goliath Brewing Co.
Kansas: Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat, Tallgrass Brewing Company (Manhattan)
ABV: 5.2 percentIf you think this name is off-putting, you're not alone. Buffalo Sweat? Umm... But we can promise you that no buffalo were harmed in the making of this beer. Tallgrass Brewing Company started experimenting with barrel-aging in 2012, and the result of the first experiment was this creamy oatmeal stout, infused with whole vanilla beans. If you love the iconic combination of chocolate and vanilla, then this beer is the one for you.
Tallgrass Brewing Company
Kentucky: 70K, Against the Grain (Louisville)
ABV: 13 percentAgainst the Grain 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 is perfectly bourbon-soaked, with flavors of vanilla, bittersweet chocolate, and roasted malts.
Courtesy of Against the Grain
Louisiana: Ghost in the Machine, Parish Brewing Co. (Broussard)
ABV: 8 percentParish Brewing Co.'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 (especially if that is you).
Courtesy of Parish Brewing Co.
Maine: Dinner, Maine Brewing Company (Freeport)
ABV: 8.2 percentThere are a lot of breweries in Maine making hazy, New England-style IPAs. But no matter how hard they may try, newcomers cannot top Maine Brewing Company's Dinner. 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.
Jeremy Lindberg/Maine Beer Company
Maryland: Gonzo Imperial Porter, Flying Dog Brewery (Frederick)
ABV: 9.2 percentFlying Dog's Gonzo Imperial Porter was named for a style of journalism famously practiced by Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, who used first-person narratives and satirical devices in his reporting. His close friend, Ralph Steadman, actually illustrated this imperial porter's label. Beyond the name, the brew itself features roasted chocolate, coffee, and vanilla malt flavors with a unique burst of floral hops. That's definitely worth writing about.
Massachusetts: King Julius, Tree House Brewing Co. (Charlton)
ABV: 8.2 percentTropical fruits such as pineapple, mango, and papaya are at the front of this insanely juicy IPA from the highly-regarded brewery Tree House. Honestly, any number of their beers could have been Massachusetts' No. 1, but thanks to its thick, hazy hoppy flavors, we got to give it to King Julius. The best part about this beer? It goes down so smoothly, it barely hints at its 8.2 percent ABV.
ABV: 11.7 percentFounders 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 perfectly sweet. Founders doesn't release CBS regularly, but we anxiously await our next opportunity to sip this beer.
Courtesy of Founders
Minnesota: Darkness, Surly Brewing Company (Minneapolis)
ABV: 12 percentDarkness from Surly Brewing Company, like many limited-availability beers, has a lot of buzz surrounding it. But this massive Russian imperial stout deserves the love it gets. With aromas of dark chocolate, fruit, and toffee, it delivers on those rich chocolatey and caramel flavors with hints of nuttiness. This is a big beer with a big, intense name (and label), so proceed into the darkness with caution.
ABV: 4.9 percentBeer? It's what's for breakfast, at least if the Devil's Harvest Breakfast IPA from Southern Prohibition Brewing is to be believed. Why breakfast? Well, this relatively low-ABV beer has a cloudy appearance thanks to a dash of oats in the brewing process. Those oats also help to cut through the bitterness IPAs tend to have, making this beer easy drinking at any time of day.
Courtesy of Southern Prohibition Brewing
Missouri: Abraxas, Perennial Artisan Ales (St. Louis)
ABV: 10 percentIt's not often that a beer is branded as "challenging," but Perennial's imperial stout Abraxas leans into that description. With mind-bending ingredients like ancho chile peppers, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and cinnamon sticks, this brew really makes you think. And we think it's a winner.
Aitor Rodriguez Godoy
Montana: Ivan The Terrible, Big Sky Brewing Company (Missoula)
ABV: 9.5 percentBig 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 smooth sipping. Brewed in the traditional style using English hops and American malts, this brew tastes of dried fruit, roasted cocoa, and bourbon. It's the perfect thing for winter nights by the fire (or any time of the year).
Courtesy of Big Sky Brewing Company
Nebraska: Black Betty, Nebraska Brewing Company (Papillion)
ABV: 11.3 percentWith 14 different awards to its name, 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. It may look like oil, but it goes down as smooth as anything.
Courtesy of Nebraska Brewing Company
Nevada: Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, Joseph James Brewing Company (Henderson)
ABV: 9.5 percentJoseph James' Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout is insanely popular in Nevada, and we get why. With notes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, and bittersweet chocolate, this rich brew is smoother than smooth and a premium example of what a drinkable Russian imperial stout should taste like.
Courtesy of Joseph James Brewing Company
New Hampshire: Hopulization, Stoneface Brewing Company (Newington)
ABV: 8.9 percentWith an 8.9 percent ABV, Stoneface Brewing Company's double-dry-hopped beer Hopulization is a certifiable juice bomb. Galaxy and Calypso hops give this medium-bodied beer notes of lemon, spice, and dry hoppiness perfect for fans of classic IPAs. Yes, despite a hazy appearance, this brew is not a New England-style IPA. It's all old-school and all delicious.
Courtesy of Stoneface Brewing Company
New Jersey: Sunday Brunch, Kane Brewing Company (Ocean)
ABV: 9.2 percentLike a lot of things in life, New Jersey's craft beer scene often gets overshadowed by its neighbor, New York. But every craft beer fan in New York City knows the name Kane Brewing Company. Any number of this brewery's beers could be deemed the best in New Jersey, but Sunday Brunch earns its status well. Thanks to tasting notes of cinnamon, maple, coffee, and lactose, this rich, dark-pouring porter is like a decadent sweet brunch in bottle form.
Courtesy of Kane Brewing Company
New Mexico: La Cumbre Elevated IPA, La Cumbre Brewing Company (Albuquerque)
ABV: 7.2 percentLa Cumbre is well known for its IPAs, but none top its flagship Elevated IPA. Though it clocks in at just 7.2 percent ABV, this beer is full of pure hop flavor. It's a classic IPA with no frills but a deep copper color and a dank, piney flavor that matches the appearance. It's a sharp beer for people who still wish they could order an IPA and get just that.
La Cumbre Brewing Company
New York: All Green Everything, Other Half Brewing (Brooklyn)
ABV: 10.5 percentBrooklyn's Other Half Brewing is known for two things: insanely long lines at their can releases, and dropping delicious, juicy Northeast-style IPAs at said can releases. Any number of Other Half's limited-releases beers could be deemed the best beer in New York, but you may not ever be able to try them. A reliable Other Half beer you'll usually be able to find? All Green Everything. With Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic and Motueka hops, this imperial IPA shows the dynamics of this beer style and makes for easy (and highly alcoholic) sipping.
Courtesy of Other Half Brewing
North Carolina: The Event Horizon, Olde Hickory Brewery (Hickory)
ABV: 8.5 percentThe Event Horizon from Olde Hickory Brewery is brewed with honey and aged in oak bourbon barrels, and the outstanding flavor profile of honey, fudge, and particularly strong bourbon reflects the creation process. But don't expect to chug this one, because it's incredibly thick. This brew will coat your mouth with every sip and leave a pleasant sweet vanilla aftertaste dancing on your tongue.
Olde Hickory Brewery
North Dakota: 1.21 Gigahops, Fargo Brewing Company (Fargo)
ABV: 8.9 percentFargo Brewing Company has a well-earned strong reputation for churning out great 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 pleasing enough for every kind of beer fan.
Courtesy of Fargo Brewing Company
Ohio: Columbus Brewing Company Bodhi (Columbus)
ABV: 8.3 percentOhio is the home to a lot of great beers and breweries. There's Hoof Hearted, Great Lakes, Fat Head's, Jackie O's, Hoppin' Frog, and many more. But the best beer in Ohio remains Columbus Brewing Company's Bodhi. This golden IPA doesn't have a lot of hype, but it highlights Citra hops in a truly balanced and delicious way.
Courtesy of Columbus Brewing Company
Oklahoma: Bomb!, Prairie Artisan Ales (Tulsa)
ABV: 13 percentNo brewery is more popular or well regarded in the state of Oklahoma than Prairie Artisan Ales. Its Bomb! beer is aptly named because, well, it's the bomb. With a 13 percent ABV and dynamic notes of espresso, chocolate, vanilla and ancho chile pepper, this beer is a true explosion of flavor.
Courtesy of Prairie Artisan Ales
Oregon: The Abyss, Deschutes Brewery (Bend)
ABV: 11.4 percentWith hints of licorice on the nose, The Abyss 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 and yours alone.
Pennsylvania: Alien Church, Tired Hands Brewing Company (Ardmore)
ABV: 7 percentAliens need Jesus, too. Alien Church from Tired Hands Brewing Company is brewed with oats and hopped with Mosaic, Citra, Chinook, Centennial, and Columbus hops. Drinkers can expect out-of-this-world bitter and tart tastes of blueberry, orange, melon, guava, papaya, pineapple, passionfruit, and grapefruit. If that sounds like a dynamic, juicy beer, that's because it is.
Tired Hands Brewing Company
Rhode Island: Captain's Daughter, Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island (Westerly)
ABV: 8.5 percentHead to Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island in Westerly any time of the year and order the Captain's Daughter. This imperial IPA is the perfect shade of hazy orange, and the taste reflects this beer's signature IPA look. It's hoppy, with plenty of layers of pine, citrus, and even a little bit of grassiness. It's a crisp brew, perfect for any time of year and any occasion.
Courtesy of Grey Sail Brewing
South Carolina: Mexican Cake, Westbrook Brewing Co. (Mt Pleasant)
ABV: 10.5 percentSouth 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. Cacao 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!
Yelp / Scotty C.
South Dakota: Pile O' Dirt Porter, Crow Peak Brewing Company (Spearfish)
ABV: 6 percentDon't worry, this beer from Crow Peak Brewing Company doesn't taste like a pile of dirt, it was just named after one. The only earthiness you'll get from this brew is a slight herbal bitterness, but that's to be expected from any well-balanced beers. Instead, Pile O' Dirt has robust espresso and flavors that are similarly bold: dark malts, chocolate, roasted coffee, mild smoke, and brown sugar.
Courtesy of Crow Peak Brewing
Tennessee: Sue, Yazoo Brewing Company (Nashville)
ABV: 9.2 percentSue from Yazoo Brewing Company is rich, bitter, hoppy, and heavily smoked with burnt barley malts and cherry wood. Smoked? Oh yeah. Tennessee is known for its smoked meats, so this beer is an ode to that process. But unlike a lot of other smoked beers, Sue is balanced. The smokiness is sweet before it's anything else. For skeptics of smoked beers, this is the perfect beer to start with.
Courtesy of Yazoo Brewing
Texas: Atrial Rubicite, Jester King (Austin)
ABV: 5.8 percentUnfiltered, 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.
Yelp / Tiff T.
Utah: Big Bad Baptist, Epic Brewing Company (Salt Lake City)
ABV: 11.8 percentYou may not think of big, bold beers when you think of drinking culture in Utah, but Epic Brewing Company's Big Bad Baptist defies everything you might think. With an 11.8 percent ABV and big, bold coffee and chocolate flavors, this imperial stout stands boldly in all its bourbon barrel-aged glory.
Epic Brewing Company
Vermont: Heady Topper, The Alchemist (Stowe)
ABV: 8 percentBetween 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 the true classic: The Alchemist's Heady Topper. This flagship IPA is not overrated, though it can be hard to find outside of Stowe, Vermont. It's perfectly floral yet complex, and every drinker has his or her own experience of flavors, making this a simply glorious brew.
Yelp /BostonBestEats X.
Virginia: Whiteferrari, The Veil Brewing Co. (Richmond)
ABV: 8 percentIt takes a lot of work to get an IPA right, and Richmond, Virginia's The Veil Brewing Co. put in the work before releasing Whiteferrari. And what is Whiteferrari? Like the car its named after, this double IPA is smooth as heck with flavors of grapefruit, grassy pine, and a hint of orange citrus. But unlike a Ferrari, you'll want to take one slow and savor all the dynamics of a perfectly executed beer.
Courtesy of The Veil Brewing Company
Washington: The Rusty Nail, Fremont Brewing Company (Seattle)
ABV: 13 percentFremont 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 consumed slowly.
Courtesy of Fremont Brewing Company
Washington, D.C.: On the Wings of Armageddon, DC Brau Brewing Company
ABV: 9.2 percentDC 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 and flavors of citrus, mango and a bit of pine, making it sweet but shippable in a way that does not give way to its weighty 9.2 percent ABV.
Yelp / Greg J
West Virginia: Moxxee Coffee Stout, Bridge Brew Works (Fayetteville)
ABV: 5.5 percentSmooth, 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.
Wisconsin: Belgian Red, New Glarus (New Glarus)
ABV: 4 percentWisconsin's New Glarus may be most well-known for its Spotted Cow, but its Belgian Red is truly the brewery's best beer. At just 4 percent alcohol, this fruit beer has over one pound of cherries in every bottle, giving you perfect fruit flavor. It also helps to prove that beers don't need to be big and boozy to be the best in their state. Instead, this beer thrives because of its perfect pucker and deep red color.
Courtesy of New Glarus Brewing Company
Wyoming: 2x4 DIPA, Melvin Brewing (Alpine)
ABV: 9.9 percentWith a "stupid amount of hops," Melvin Brewing's 2x4 DIPA is danker than dank, and that's a good thing. Clean and crisp yet intensely floral and citrusy, this 9.9 percent ABV beer has everything you could ever want from its style. And if you want even more beers that you need to try, consider our list of the 101 best beers in America.More From The Daily Meal:The World's 50 Best Beers
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