Food Fun & News
50 Must-Try Craft Beers from Each of the 50 States
Did your favorite brew make the list?
Alabama: Good People Brewing Company, Snake Handler
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Good People Brewing
As you can probably tell from the name, this beer ain’t for sissies. The Snake Handler Double IPA is as hoppy and bitter as it gets, an IPA-drinker’s dream—and, potentially, a nightmare for those without the acquired taste. But with notes of pine, citrus, flowers, spice, and pineapple, this light craft beer has some tamer, fruitier flavors to balance it out. Here are 19 beers you should try right now.
Alaska: Anchorage Brewing Company, A Deal with the Devil
This special reserve beer from Anchorage Brewing Company is only available at certain times throughout the year, making it a special treat when you can grab a bottle. This American Barleywine is aged in cognac barrels, giving a woody but sweet aroma, with notes of caramel, molasses, and oak.
Arizona: Sun Up Brewing Co., White Russian Imperial Stout
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Tony Marinella photography
You have to like coffee and like stouts to take on the White Russian Imperial Stout, made by Sun Up Brewing. A good winter brew, the White Russian has huge flavors of coffee and bittersweet chocolate, with notes of vanilla, sweet cream, and plum. This craft beer is a meal on its own, but is also delicious paired with equally big flavors like duck, venison, and aged cheeses like Gouda, Parmesan, or sharp cheddar.
Arkansas: Ozark Beer Co., BDCS
The beer nerds over on BeerAdvocate rave about the BDCS (Bourbon Barrel-aged Double Cream Stout) from Ozark Beer Co. every year when it arrives. The 2017 BDCS will be released in May in honor of American Craft Beer Week, and it’s sure to be a winner. Past years’ brews have been described as dark and creamy, with heavy notes of bourbon and oak. Yum. If you want to feel justified while putting away a pint or three, take a look at these surprising reasons beer is good for you.
California: Five Threads Brewing Co., Lucy
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Five threads brewing co.
Blonde ales are often overlooked as being middle-of-the-road beers, with no intense flavors to set them apart. But the brewers at Five Threads find merit in these highly drinkable brews, and set out to prove their point by making five unique and delicious blondes, including Lucy, the English Blonde. Lucy has a smooth flavor from real English hops and malts, and notes of lavender and honey, perfect for enjoying in the sunny English countryside.
Colorado: Broken Compass Brewing Co., Chili Pepper Pale Ale
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Brandon Smith via Broken compass brewing co.
Colorado is a craft beer heaven, so the best beer out of the state is a topic of much debate. But one brew that unarguably merits a taste is the Chili Pepper Pale Ale made by Broken Compass. Brewed with five different kinds of peppers, this pale ale is still surprisingly easy to drink, with just a subtle fire in the aftertaste. This flavorful beer could make a delicious addition to any Mexican dish, and could even make a good marinade for steak fajitas. Check out some more delicious ways to cook with beer.
Connecticut: Steady Habit Brewing Co., Bigger Badder Bunny
The big brother of Steady Habit‘s hit brew, Big Bad Bunny, Bigger Badder Bunny is a deliciously sweet Milk Stout—a boozy dessert in a glass! With 9.7% ABV, this dark beer is perfect for warming up on a winter day. Enjoy the chocolate and coconut flavors on their own, or drop a scoop of vanilla in your glass for a tasty beer float! If you find yourself tragically without a bottle opener, here are some tips on how to open a beer bottle without a bottle opener.
Delaware: Dogfish Head Craft Brewing, 90 Minute IPA
The Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA holds the distinction of being the favorite brew of many IPA-drinkers the world over. This Imperial IPA earns its name from the 90 minutes of continuous hopping that it goes through—a process originated by Dogfish Head. Although definitely a bitter brew, the 90 Minute has a malty base flavor that balances it out. A good beer to pair with pork chops or something starchy, like focaccia bread or French fries.
Florida: Funky Buddha Brewery, Morning Wood
A little bit of breakfast in a glass, Funky Buddha‘s Morning Wood tastes of maple, bacon, and coffee. This Imperial Porter is made in small batches during the fall, so make sure you get a pint before it’s all gone! Stop by the Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park to grab a bottle of this limited edition brew and some tasty, locally-sourced grub, like a fried green tomato sandwich.
Georgia: Terrapin Brewery, Walking Dead Blood Orange IPA
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Terrapin Brewery
The official beer of the hit series The Walking Dead, the Blood Orange IPA is an annual brew made by the Athens-based Terrapin Brewery. Packed with blood orange and malty flavors, this fruity beer may just convert those who don’t normally like IPAs. The Blood Orange IPA pours out a gorgeous ruby red color with a creamy white head—a treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds!
Hawaii: Maui Brewing, Bikini Blonde
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com,Courtesy Maui Brewing Co.
The Maui Brewing‘s easy-drinking Bikini Blonde is perfect for enjoying on a sunny day, or any day that needs a little sunshine in it. This crisp lager is golden in color and malty in flavor, with notes of honey and plenty of carbonation. A glass of Bikini Blonde would pair perfectly with some Hawaiian burgers topped with pineapple. After you’ve cracked open a cold one, read the strangest food laws in America.
Idaho: Grand Teton Brewing Co., Double Vision Doppelbock
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Grand Teton Brewing Co.
This Doppelbock (or double bock) from Grand Teton Brewing is the perfect choice for anyone who enjoys a dark beer but not the heaviness that comes with stouts and porters. With flavors of malt, dark fruit and vanilla as well as lots of carbonation, the Double Vision is a good any season beer.
Illinois: Goose Island Beer Co., 312 Urban Wheat Ale
A staple in most Chicago fridges, this tasty wheat ale from Goose Island Beer is perfect for sipping on a summer day. It took home the gold medal for the English-Style Summer Ale category from the Great American Beer Festival three times. It’s fruity and crisp and, perhaps best of all, available in most liquor stores for a highly reasonable price. Check out the best festival or fair in every state in America––chances are, local breweries will make appearances.
Indiana: 3 Floyds Brewing Co., Skull’Ole
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
The 3 Floyds brewery are known for making great beer and for commissioning artists to design bizarre labels for that beer. If you can get your hands on a bottle of their Skull’Ole American Sour Ale (harder than it sounds—it’s a seasonal brew released in limited quantities), you’ll see what I mean—the 22 oz bottle is decorated with a monster from the mind of artist Alberto Ugarte and sealed with black wax. The beer is aged in wine barrels and is as sour as sour can be, with tart cherry and blueberry flavors.
Iowa: Confluence Brewing, Farmer John’s Multi-Grain Ale
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Confluence Brewing
The Confluence Brewing calls their Farmer John’s blonde ale “Amber waves of grain in a glass.” True to their home state of Iowa, this easy-drinking summer beer is brewed with unmalted oats, corn, and wheat. If you pick this up in a store, check out comic artist Ron Wagner’s comic-panel-style label for the beer. Find out eight useful things you can do with beer besides drink it.
Kansas: Tallgrass Brewing Co., Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Tall grass brewing/Andrewzender
How can you not want to take a sip of something called Buffalo Sweat? Don’t worry, this sweet and dark Oatmeal Cream Stout made by Tallgrass Brewing in Manhattan, Kansas, tastes like a liquid chocolate chip cookie. You can find Buffalo Sweat at any liquor store worth its salt in the central states—just peruse Tallgrass’ Beer Finder. Perfect to pair with sweet barbecue or teriyaki, and even better as a dessert with a scoop of ice cream on top. Yum.
Kentucky: Alltech’s Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co., Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Alltech Inc.
If Kentucky is known for one thing, it’s bourbon. If it’s known for a second thing, it’s doing interesting things with those leftover bourbon barrels, including using them to brew Alltech’s delicious Bourbon Barrel Ale. This unique ale has won countless awards since its premier in 2006 with its unique flavors of oak, vanilla, and—of course—bourbon. A perfect after-dinner sipping beer. Hungry yet? Check out the best comfort food in each of the 50 states (hint: Kentucky’s includes turkey and bacon).
Louisiana: Abita Brewing Co., Strawgator
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Abita Brewing Co.
Not everybody likes fruity beers, and that’s okay. But for those who do, the Abita Strawgator has got tons of appeal: a delicate lager flavor with tons of fresh Louisiana strawberry juice (no artificial flavors here) thrown in after brewing. This light beer is perfect for drinking on its own on a summer afternoon, or for pairing with fruit desserts or soft cheeses. Here’s the scientific reason beer is such a mood-booster.
Maine: Allagash Brewing Co., Farm to Face
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Allagash Brewing Company
If the name isn’t enough to make you want to try this fruity American Wild Ale from Allagash Brewing, then maybe the mouth-watering aromas of green apple and peaches is. This non-traditional beer is first brewed as an IPA, then fermented in stainless steel tanks for 10 months. After that, generous amounts of farm-fresh peaches are added into the mix. It all makes for a tart and sweet ale that goes down easy.
Maryland: Burley Oak Brewing Co., Pink Guava Passionfruit J.R.E.A.M
The perfect brunch beer. This fruited sour ale is made with passionfruit and guava, resulting in a tasty tropical paradise in a glass. Consider stopping by the Burley Oak Brewery in Berlin, Maryland on your next road trip, as this beer is only available on tap. These are the best states in America for road trips.
Massachusetts: Treehouse Brewing Co., Good Morning
This pitch black brew is made with breakfast drinking in mind. Made with Maxwell Road Maple Grade A Dark Amber Maple syrup, Treehouse‘s Good Morning Imperial Stout is sweet and heavy, with a creamy head on top. You’ll taste brown sugar, coffee, and, of course, plenty of maple flavor notes throughout. Best enjoyed with friends and a stack of pancakes.
Michigan: Bell’s Brewery, Two Hearted Ale
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Bell's Brewery
This American-style IPA is a tasty gateway to IPAs for the uninitiated. Bell’s brews Two Hearted Ale with 100 percent Centennial hops from the Pacific Northwest and rounded out with the fruitiness of Bell’s house yeast, resulting in a brew that’s not too bitter and not too sweet. Named after the Two Hearted River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this brew is perfect for pairing with any outdoor adventure. Check out the best bucket list item in every state in America.
Minnesota: Surly Brewing Co., CynicAle
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Surly Brewing Co.
The Surly CynicAle is an accessible Saison (or Farmhouse Ale, as they are sometimes called) with a mellow wheat body, mild and easily drinkable. With notes of citrus and black pepper, it also has enough bite to please IPA lovers. Pour it in a tulip glass and enjoy at your next barbecue.
Mississippi: Lucky Town Brewing Co., Lucky Town Pub Ale
The Lucky Town Brewing Co. claims the title of Jackson, Mississippi’s first craft brewery, and it remains its finest. Their middle-of-the-road Pub Ale, based on old English ales recipes, is a hearty and delicious meal in a glass, perfect for anytime drinking. If you want to be really traditional about, pair this tasty brew with some fish and chips.
Missouri: Side Project Brewing Co., Fuzzy
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com,Courtesy Side Project Brewing Co.
Although no longer a side project, Side Project Brewing continues to make beer with the passion and spirit of experimentation characteristic of a hobbyist. They forgo making anything easy or quick: all their beers are barrel-aged, including the heavenly Fuzzy Wild Ale. Last year’s blend of Fuzzy was aged for almost three years: two years in French Oak barrels, then racked with white peaches from Missouri and aged for seven months more. The result is a bright, acidic, and fruity brew that you’ll not soon forget. Here’s why you should grab a beer the next time you have a headache.
Montana: Big Sky Brewing Co., Montana Trout Slayer
Seriously, where do craft brewers get these beer names? The Trout Slayer is a dry-hopped wheat ale with a crisp, refreshing taste that’s perfect for warm weather drinking. If you’re road tripping through Flathead Indian Country (one of the best road trips in the western United States), we highly recommend a stop at the Big Sky Brewing in Missoula.
Nebraska: Lucky Bucket Brewing Co., Pre-Prohibition Style Lager
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com,vCourtesy Lucky Bucket Brewing Co.
The Lucky Bucket boasts that their Pre-Prohibiton Style Lager is “the smoothest, most flavorful lager this side of the Mississippi.” Twice filtered and dry-hopped, this additive-free beer throws back to a time when lagers were more robust than the mass-produced beers of the current century. You’ll get notes of brown bread, caramel and toasted nuts in this smooth anytime beer. Speaking of Prohibiton, check out some of America’s oddest liquor laws.
Nevada: Banger Brewing, El Heffe
A beer that’s true to its desert roots, Banger Brewing‘s El Heffe is brewed with freshly roasted jalepeño and serrano peppers for a little bit of an after burn on the tongue. A mellow wheat backbone balances out the fire, making this a surprisingly easy-to-drink hefeweizen. Don’t miss the Banger Brewery on your next trip to Las Vegas!
New Hampshire: Smuttynose Brewing Co., Robust Porter
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Smuttynose Brewing Co.
“It’s a good bet that when Dickens’ Mr. Pickwick sat down for a pint, his beer would have been very similar to our Robust Porter,” says Smuttynose Brewing Co. of its dark and smooth porter. An old-fashioned brew that goes down easy, the Robust Porter is as tasty in the 21st century as the 19th. It has distinct flavors of chocolate and coffee, with enough of a hoppy taste to keep things interesting.
New Jersey: Carton Brewing Co., 077xx
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Bria Cagge at www.idringgoodbeer.com
Inspired by west coast IPAs and given a Jersey twist, this double IPA from Carton Brewing mixes the bitter with the sweet. With flavors of orange, papaya and mango hovering just underneath the hops, this brew is an ideal match for Indian or Mexican food. Here’s the truth about why beer makes you hungry.
New Mexico: La Cumbre Brewing Co., Project Dank
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy La Cumbre Brewing Co.
Project Dank is a continually evolving recipe—a project, quite literally—that the masterminds over at La Cumbre tweak and tinker with each time they make it. Throughout its many iterations, though, one thing remains the same: “hop insanity.” Get ready to pucker up.
New York: Other Half Brewing Co., All Green Everything
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Other half brewing Co.
Packaged in a nearly blank, nondescript green can, Other Half Brewing All Green Everything Double IPA is something of a sleeper. It’s got no underlying tropical fruit flavors—just packed to the gills with hops. Crack it open and proceed with caution.
North Carolina: Olde Hickory Brewery, Event Horizon
The Olde Hickory Brewery, nestled in the foothills of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, has been making delicious beer with fresh snow melt since 1997. Event Horizon is one of those quality beers: an imperial stout aged in bourbon oak barrels, released each year in the late fall/early winter. You’ll want to grab a pint of this dark and rich brew when you get the chance.
North Dakota: Fargo Brewing Co., Stone’s Throw
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Fargo Brewing Co.
North Dakota has yet to see the explosion in craft breweries that many northern states have, but you can still find good beer, if you know where to look. Fargo Brewing is one place you should certainly look. Their Stone’s Throw Scottish Ale is a sweet and smooth brew modeled after the traditional ales of Scotland, a perfect gateway into craft beer for the uninitiated. You’ll taste notes of caramel, malt, and honey sweetness in this full-bodied ale.
Ohio: Great Lakes Brewing Co., Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Great Lakes Brewing Co.
If you want a beer that’s dark as midnight and full of flavor, you’ll find a match in Great Lakes Brewing‘s Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, named after the ill-fated freight ship that sunk in Lake Superior during an unseasonable storm. The creamy porter has won 17 awards between the World Beer Championships and the Great American Beer Festival, so you know it’s good. If you have a bottle left over from your six-pack, try making the Edmund Fitzgerald Pepper Steak Soup.
Oklahoma: Prairie Artisan Ales, Prairie Vous Francais
In addition to having one of the cutest names a beer has ever had, the Prairie Vous Francais has some other notable titles—like being rated the 5th Best Belgian Session Beer in the World by RateBeer. This crisp and refreshing ale is low in ABV but high on drinkability, making it the perfect table beer. This special brew is only available in kegs and 750ml bottles, so it’s best enjoyed with plenty of company. Learn about the most important milestones in the history of beer.
Oregon: 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Cucumber Crush
Oregon is the craft beer capital of the west, so picking just one beer from the state to try is no easy task. The Cucumber Crush from 10 Barrel certainly stands out as a unique brew, a traditional kettle sour with a light, refreshing aftertaste courtesy of fresh cucumbers. A crisp, mellow beer for drinking on a sunny day.
Pennsylvania: Tröegs Brewing Company, Nugget Nectar
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Troegs.com
While the name may not sound the most appealing, we promise that this American Amber from Tröegs is a delicious brew. Nugget Nectar is brewed with fresh Nugget hops at the start of each year and is only available January-March, making it a special springtime treat. Its flavors of pine, mango and papaya pair nicely with pork belly or anything citrusy.
Rhode Island: Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island, Captain’s Daughter
Captain’s Daughter is Grey Sail’s newest year-round craft beer, and it’s already their most loved, scoring a whopping 96 points on BeerAdvocate. This double India pale ale is made with Mosaic hops out of the Pacific Northwest and has aromas of tropical and stone fruits. Pair this with some curry or Thai food. Learn which US state holds the record for the most craft beers on tap.
South Carolina: Westbrook Brewing Co., Gose
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Westbrook Brewing Co.
A modern take on an old German style of beer, the Gose (pronounced “gose-uh”) is a refreshing wheat beer brewed with salt and coriander. While the addition of salt may sound strange, it adds a pleasant twang to an otherwise mellow brew. Westbrook Brewing produces a gose that is low in alcohol content and high in flavor—an ideal beer to share with friends at dinner.
South Dakota: Crow Peak Brewing Co., CP Honey Amber Ale
Craft beer is few and far between in South Dakota, but there’s certainly good stuff to be had. Crow Peak Brewing, located in the scenic hiker’s paradise of Spearfish, South Dakota, makes a lot of that good stuff, including the CP Honey Amber Ale. This sweet and wheaty ale is a refreshing drink after a day of outdoor adventure.
Tennessee: Tennessee Brew Works, Extra Easy
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Tennessee Brew Works
To be honest, you should try all the beers at Tennessee Brew Works—and it’s quite easy to do that, with 5-beer flights for only $10 at their taproom. (Definitely stop by next time you’re in Nashville!) But if you’re only going to try one, make it the Extra Easy: an ESB (extra special bitter) that goes down, well, easy. You’ll taste the malt first, followed by notes of apricot, plum, and caramel that pair exceedingly well with spicy food. Getting hungry? These are the best food halls in America.
Texas: The Lone Pint Brewery, Yellow Rose
Named after a legendary Texas heroine, the Yellow Rose from Lone Pint Brewery is an American IPA made with single malt and single hop varieties. The hop used (Mosaic) is used in bittering and flavoring, as well as in dry hopping. This makes for a massively hoppy brew with aromas of blueberry and grapefruit and a strong, malty backbone.
Utah: Uinta Brewing Co., Dubhe Imperial Black IPA
A pale ale that’s black seems like a bit of an oxymoron, but it sure is a tasty one. Uinta‘s Dubhe is brewed with heaping amounts of both hops and roasted malts, as well as a touch of hemp seed to give it a bit of a funk. The high alcohol content (9.2% ABV) gives it a strong boozy flavor as well. Enjoy this one poured into a snifter after hitting the ski slopes.
Vermont: The Alchemist, Heady Topper
“Drink from the can!” commands the label on the Heady Topper Double IPA, probably suggested for the sake of preserving some carbonation. With a 100 rating from BeerAdvocate, this IPA from The Alchemist ranks among the best in the country, and it’s clear why. It’s a veritable bomb on the taste buds, hoppy beyond all reason: an IPA for those who haven’t met a bitter they didn’t love. Grab a can and buckle up.
Virginia: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Gingerbread Stout
This seasonal brew from Hardywood, only available in the fall, truly does taste like boozy gingerbread. Brewed with fresh local ginger and honey with aromas of cinnamon and vanilla, it’s a perfect craft beer to enjoy around the fireplace during the holidays. Packaged in 750ml and with a 9.2% ABV, the Gingerbread Stout is sure to make your season a little merrier. Here’s what your favorite alcoholic drink says about you.
Washington: Reuben’s Brews, Pilsener
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Courtesy Reuben's Brews LLC
An unassuming name graces this award-winning pilsener made by Reuben’s, a Seattle-based small batch brewery. The Czech-style pilsener is crisp and refreshing, pretty much suited for any season. Stop by the Reuben’s taproom in Seattle for a pint on draft, then order in a slice from the nearby Ballard’s Pizza Co.
West Virginia: Mountain State Brewing, Dolly Suds Cranberry Wheat
This Belgian Wit beer brewed with cranberries is named after Dolly Sods, a plateau in West Virginia known for sweeping vistas, rock formations and wind-stunted pines. With a mellow wheat backbone and aromas of sweet cranberry, this brew is a perfect compliment to watching the game after Thanksgiving dinner.
Wisconsin: New Glarus Brewing + Weyermann Malting, Two Women
The world of craft beer is still very much dominated by men, but some crafty women brewers are chipping away at the status quo. The women who run New Glarus Brewing and Weyermann Malting are two such trailblazers, and their collaboration, Two Women Lager, is a unique testament to their efforts. This crisp, well-balanced brew is perfect to pair with pan-fried trout or pork chops.
Wyoming: Snake River Brewing, Nitro Zonker
A dark and creamy brew, the Zonker Stout is best enjoyed on the Nitro tap at Snake River Brewing‘s brewpub. The heavy flavors of chocolate, coffee and roasted barley are balanced out by the bubbly nitro tingle, making it a delicious beer that won’t fill you up. Craft beer makes a great hostess gift. So do these other best gifts from each of the 50 states.