The Best Craft Beer in Every State
When it comes to craft beers, every state has a unique brew to try. Did your favorite make the list?
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Alabama: Good People Brewing Company, Snake Handler
As you can probably tell from the name, this beer ain’t for fraidy-cats. The Snake Handler Double India pale ale from this Birmingham brewery is as hoppy and bitter as it gets, an IPA drinker’s dream—and a potential 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. As to the perfect food pairing, that’s a food fact you’ll have to figure out for yourself.
Alaska: Anchorage Brewing Company, A Deal with the Devil
This special reserve beer from Anchorage Brewing Company is available only at certain times of the year, making it a special treat when you can grab a bottle. This American barley wine is aged in cognac barrels, giving it a woody but sweet aroma, with notes of caramel, molasses, and oak. If you’re fascinated by where your food and beverages come from, you’ll be captivated by these McDonald’s facts.
Arizona: SunUp Brewing Co., White Russian Imperial Coffee Stout
You have to like coffee and stouts to take on the White Russian Imperial Stout, made by SunUp Brewing Co. A good winter brew, the White Russian has bold 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, including duck, venison, and aged cheeses like Gouda, Parmesan, and sharp cheddar. If you’re a cheese fan, you may be curious to find out what cheese curds are.
Arkansas: Ozark Beer Co., BDCS
The craft-beer nerd herd over at BeerAdvocate raves about the BDCS (bourbon barrel-aged double cream stout) from Ozark Beer Co. every year when it arrives in Rogers, Arkansas. Brews from past years have been described as dark and creamy, with heavy notes of bourbon and oak. Yum! Perhaps a meal beforehand? Grab a slice (or a few), and read up on the person who invented pizza.
California: North Coast Brewing Co., Old Stock Ale
This is a beer designed to age gracefully—like so many of us, the Old Stock Ale from this Northern Californian brewery is hoppy when young and mellower with age. It’s brewed with two types of hops and a classic Maris Otter malt, all imported from England. It’s a brew that’s perfect for enjoying in the rainy English—or Californian—countryside. Curious about other beverages? It’s time to learn what chai tea is.
Colorado: Broken Compass Brewing Company, Chili Pepper Pale Ale
Colorado is heaven for craft beers, so the best beer in 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 in Breckenridge. 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 accompaniment to any Mexican dish and could even make a good marinade for steak fajitas. And if you like a bit of heat, you’ll definitely be on board with wasabi too.
Connecticut: New England Brewing Co., Fuzzy Baby Ducks
Looking for the best craft beers in Connecticut? The winner had to be a classic New England IPA from Woodbridge. This charmingly named beer is single-hopped with 100 percent citra hops for a delicious citrus flavor with hints of pineapple and mango. Dry malts and juicy, resinous oranges round out this brew. If you prefer coffee to beer, you’ll be interested to learn all about the macchiato.
Delaware: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, 90 Minute IPA
The Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA holds the distinction of being the favorite brew of many IPA drinkers the world over, not just in Milton, Delaware. This Imperial IPA gets its name from the 90 minutes of continuous hopping 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. It’s a good beer to pair with pork chops, something starchy like focaccia bread, or a hot dog—if you can figure out if a hot dog is a sandwich or not.
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. Speaking of, is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?
Georgia: Terrapin Beer Co., The Walking Dead Blood Orange IPA
The official beer of the hit series The Walking Dead, the Blood Orange IPA is an annual brew made by Athens-based Terrapin Brewery. Packed with blood orange and malty flavors, this fruity beer will convert even those who don’t normally like IPAs to the craft-beer lifestyle. 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 Co., Bikini Blonde
Maui Brewing Co.’s easy-drinking Bikini Blonde is perfect for enjoying on a sunny day, or any day that needs a little sunshine in it, even if you’re not lucky enough to be in Kihei, Hawaii. 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.
Idaho: Grand Teton Brewing, Black Cauldron Imperial Stout
For a place with as many months of cold and snow as Idaho, you need strong craft beers to keep you warm on long winter evenings. Hence the Black Cauldon: smoky, creamy, caramelly, and all-around delicious.
Illinois: Goose Island Beer Co., 312 Urban Wheat Ale
A staple in most Chicago fridges, this tasty wheat ale from Goose Island Beer Co. is perfect for sipping on a summer day. It took home the gold medal in the English-Style Summer Ale category at the Great American Beer Festival three times. It’s fruity and crisp and, perhaps best of all, available in most liquor stores for a reasonable price. And if the company name has you thinking of our feathered friends, you may be interested in the white eggs vs. brown eggs debate.
Indiana: 3 Floyds Brewing Co., Zombie Dust
The 3 Floyds brewery in Munster is known for making great craft beers and for commissioning artists to design bizarre labels for those beers. If you can get your hands on some Zombie Dust, you’ll see what we mean—the bottle is decorated with a monster from the mind of artist Tim Seeley. The beer is a hoppy pale ale you won’t want to miss.
Iowa: Confluence Brewing Co., Farmer John’s Multi-Grain Ale
Based in Des Moines, Confluence Brewing Company calls its Farmer John’s blonde ale “amber waves of grain in a glass.” True to its 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.
Kansas: Wichita Brewing Company, Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout
How can you not want to take a sip of something called Buffalo Sweat? Even for craft beers, that’s a little vivid! Don’t worry, this sweet and dark Oatmeal Cream Stout tastes like a liquid chocolate chip cookie. For years, it was made by Tallgrass Brewing Company in Manhattan, Kansas. When the brewery shut down, the stout’s loyal fans mourned its disappearance. But nearby Wichita Brewing has resurrected the fan-favorite beer, and it’s worth a sip. It’s perfect to pair with sweet barbecue or teriyaki, and even better as a dessert with a scoop of ice cream on top.
Kentucky: Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co., Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
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 craft beers like this delicious Bourbon Barrel Ale. The unique ale has won countless awards since its premiere in 2006, thanks to its unique flavors of oak, vanilla, and—of course—bourbon. It’s a perfect after-dinner sipping beer.
Louisiana: Abita Brewing Co., Strawgator
Not everybody likes fruity craft beers, and that’s OK. But for those who do, the Abita Strawgator has got tons of appeal: a delicate lager flavor with lots 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 pairing with fruit desserts or soft cheeses.
Maine: Allagash Brewing Company, Farm to Face
If the name isn’t enough to make you want to try this fruity American Wild Ale from Allagash Brewing Company, then maybe the mouthwatering aromas of green apples and peaches are. This nontraditional craft 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 easily. Earn your beer with some hard work: This is the best place to go apple picking in every state.
Maryland: Burley Oak Brewing Company, Pink Guava, Passionfruit, Coconut 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 available only on tap.
Massachusetts: Tree House Brewing Company, Moment of Clarity
This pitch-black brew is made with breakfast drinking in mind. Crafted with extra-dark maple syrup, Tree House’s Moment of Clarity milk stout is sweet and heavy, with a creamy head on top. You’ll taste chocolate, coffee, and of course, plenty of maple flavor notes throughout. It’s best enjoyed with friends who love craft beers and a stack of pancakes.
Michigan: Bell’s Comstock Brewery, Two Hearted Ale
This American-style IPA is a tasty gateway to India pale ales for people thus far uninitiated into the craft beer scene. The company brews Two Hearted Ale with 100 percent Centennial hops from the Pacific Northwest and rounds it 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.
Minnesota: Surly Brewing Co., Cynic
The Surly Cynic is an accessible “saison” (or farmhouse ale, as they are sometimes called) with a mellow wheat body that’s mild and easily drinkable. With notes of citrus and black pepper, it also has enough bite to please IPA lovers. Pour it into a tulip glass and enjoy it at your next barbecue. It will pair perfectly with some American comfort food.
Mississippi: Lazy Magnolia, Southern Pecan
Located in Kiln, Mississippi’s oldest brewery produces a range of delicious craft beers, and the Southern Pecan brown ale is a nutty, caramelly, boozy brew worth trying. Sip it with a chocolatey dessert for the perfect end to a meal.
Missouri: Side Project Brewing, Fuzzy
Although no longer a side project, Side Project Brewing in Saint Louis continues to make beer with the passion and spirit of experimentation characteristic of a hobbyist. The brewery forgoes making anything easy or quick: All its 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.
Montana: Big Sky Brewing Co., Montana Trout Slayer
Seriously, where do craft beers get these 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, we highly recommend a stop at Big Sky Brewing in Missoula. Speaking of on-the-go food, they’re a classic road-trip snack, but what are hot dogs made of?
Nebraska: Lucky Bucket Brewing Co., Pre-Prohibition Lager
Lucky Bucket boasts that its Pre-Prohibition 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.
Nevada: Banger Brewing, El Heffe
A beer that’s true to its desert roots, Banger Brewing’s El Heffe is made with freshly roasted jalapeño and serrano peppers for a little bit of an afterburn on the tongue. A mellow wheat backbone balances out the fire, making this a surprisingly easy-to-drink hefeweizen. (This style of beer usually has a fruity, banana flavor.) Don’t miss the Banger Brewery on your next trip to Las Vegas!
New Hampshire: Smuttynose Brewing Co., Robust Porter
“It’s a good bet that when Dickens’s 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 easily from this Hampton brewery, the Robust Porter is as tasty in the 21st century as it probably was in 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
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.
New Mexico: La Cumbre Brewing Company, Project Dank
Project Dank isn’t just one of the greatest craft beers. It’s also 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
Packaged in a nearly blank, nondescript green can, Other Half Brewing’s All Green Everything triple IPA is something of a sleeper. It’s got no underlying tropical fruit flavors, it’s just packed to the gills with hops. Crack it open and proceed with caution, kind of how you would in the whole sorbet vs. sherbet debate.
North Carolina: Olde Hickory Brewery, The Event Horizon
The Olde Hickory Brewery, nestled in the foothills of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, has been making delicious beer with fresh snowmelt since 1997. The Event Horizon is one of those quality beers: an imperial stout aged in bourbon oak barrels, released each year in the late fall and early winter. You’ll want to grab a pint of this dark and rich brew when you get the chance.
North Dakota: Fargo Brewing Company, Stone’s Throw
North Dakota has yet to see the explosion in craft breweries that many other states have, but you can still find good beer if you know where to look. Fargo Brewing is one place you should certainly try. The 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
If you want a craft beer that’s as 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.
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 fifth best Belgian session beer in the world. This crisp and refreshing ale is low in alcohol by volume but high on drinkability, making it the perfect table beer. This special brew is only available in kegs and 750-ml bottles, so it’s best enjoyed with plenty of company. While you’re all hanging out, get your friends to do a food quiz for a bit of on-theme fun.
Oregon: 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Cucumber Crush
Oregon is the craft beer capital of the west, so picking just one beer from the state is no easy task. The Cucumber Crush from 10 Barrel Brewing certainly stands out as a unique brew, a traditional kettle sour with a light, refreshing aftertaste courtesy of fresh cucumbers. It’s a crisp, mellow beer for drinking on a sunny day.
Pennsylvania: Tröegs Independent Brewing, Nugget Nectar
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 from January through 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 one of Grey Sail’s year-round craft beers, and it’s arguably their most loved. 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.
South Carolina: Westbrook Brewing Co., Gose
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. As for after-dinner eats, better check out the best dessert in every state.
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, 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
To be honest, you should try all the beers at Tennessee Brew Works—and it’s quite easy to do that, with five-beer flights for only $15 at the 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? Here’s the best all-you-can-eat buffet in the state (and every state).
Texas: 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 (Mosaic) is used in bittering and flavoring, and it makes for a massively hoppy brew. You’ll catch the 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 percent ABV) gives it a strong boozy flavor as well. Enjoy this one poured into a snifter after hitting the ski slopes. First, though, you should try a bubble tea.
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 Beer Advocate, 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. With 9.2 percent alcohol by volume, the Gingerbread Stout is sure to make your season a little merrier.
Washington: Reuben’s Brews, Pilsener
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 nearby Ballard’s Pizza Co. And if that sounds good, find out the best pizza in every state.
West Virginia: Mountain State Brewing Co., Dolly Suds Cranberry Wheat
This Belgian Witbier, 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 complement to watching the game after Thanksgiving dinner.
Wisconsin: New Glarus Brewing Co., Spotted Cow
New Glarus has a sweet story behind its founding: Founder Deborah Carey raised the start-up capital as a gift for her husband, master brewer Dan Carey. Their most famous brew is Spotted Cow, which is only available in the state of Wisconsin. It’s a farmhouse ale, fruity and cloudy and perfect for lunch.
Wyoming: Snake River Brewing Co., Nitro Zonker
One of the darkest and creamiest craft beers, 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. That’s important if you want to fit in both dinner and dessert. Speaking of which, these are the best ice cream shops in every state.