America’s 40 Most Delicious Beers

June 11, 2019 by Steven M. Peters

Source: artJazz / Getty Images
According to a 2018 Gallup poll, 42% of Americans who drink alcohol prefer beer. (Wine came in second, at 34%.) Luckily for us, we not only have access to most of the best beers from around the world — with brews from Mexico, Ireland, Belgium, and Holland numbering among the biggest beer brands in the country — but produce plenty of our own.

There were more than 7,000 breweries in America in 2018, large and small, with another thousand or so expected to open this year, according to the Brewers Association. While massive brands like Budweiser, Coors, and Miller — most of them owned either by Anheuser-Busch InBev or Miller-Coors — still dominate the market, their sales declined overall by 1.5% last year from 2017, while sales of craft beer rose 4.7%.

There’s nothing wrong with an icy lager from a big commercial brewery. Such beers are superbly thirst-quenching, reasonably priced, and easy to find. Serious beer lovers tend to look for the more artisanal products from craft brewers, though, in their search for variety, and for complexity and/or intensity of flavor.

Click here for America’s 40 most delicious beers.

Based on reviews and ratings from numerous sources, 24/7 Tempo has assembled a list of the 40 most delicious beers made in America, drawn from 19 states around the country. Many of these beers are IPAs — India Pale Ales, a style with a pronounced hop flavor. Others are stouts, dark beers made with roasted malt or barley, sometimes with additional flavors (like coffee, chocolate, even chiles) added; or lagers, beers made in a lighter, more refreshing style.

The rankings include fewer beers brewed with extraneous ingredients, and more straightforward, sometimes lighter, beers — reflecting the fact that flavor and heft aren’t always synonymous.

Fair warning: Craft beers can be hard to find, some of them extremely so. Some breweries sell special bottlings only by lottery or make them available only for a single day each year. They’re also often quite expensive, in some instances $50 or $100 a bottle or more, reflecting the high costs of production on such a small scale, as well as their rarity.

A number of specialist publications and organizations rate craft beers regularly, among them the American Homebrewers Association, Rate Beer, Beer Advocate, and 52 Brews. The list that follows is based on their most recent ratings, as well as other lists of what are widely considered the best-tasting beers American breweries have to offer from sites including 10Best, Ranker, Vinepair, and Paste. Beer Advocate scores are given as a point of reference. Because the ratings are drawn from numerous sources, these scores don’t correspond with each beer’s place on the list.

Source: Courtesy of Kros Strain Brewing

40. Helles Creek
> Brewery: Kros Strain Brewing (Nebraska)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 3.82 out of 5

A very attractive German-style lager, bright and clear; lightly hopped, with a touch of sweetness.

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Source: Courtesy of Founders Brewing Co.

39. All Day IPA
> Brewery: Founders Brewing Company (Michigan)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 3.87 out of 5

Clean, crisp, bright, and well-balanced between hop and malt flavors; the can describes this as a session ale, meaning that its comparatively modest kick (4.70% ABV) makes it easily drinkable in some quantity — all day, as it were.

Source: Courtesy of Sam Adams

38. Samuel Adams Rebel IPA
> Brewery: Boston Beer Company (Massachusetts)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 3.85 out of 5

Plenty of hops in the nose, and good hop and malt character in the mouth; medium-bodied, low-key, and very drinkable.

Source: Courtesy of Bell’s Brewery, Inc.

37. Hopslam Ale
> Brewery: Bell’s Brewery (Michigan)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.45 out of 5

Heavily hopped (six different varietals are used), but softened with a touch of honey; intensely fragrant and reasonably potent (10% ABV).

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Source: Courtesy of Full Sail Brewing, Inc.

36. Full Sail Pilsner
> Brewery: Full Sail Brewing Company (Oregon)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 3.89 out of 5

A bright golden summertime pilsner, grassy, citrusy, crisp, and nicely bitter, with a rich aroma and a clean, dry finish.

Source: Courtesy of H-E-B. Central Market Division

35. Yellow Rose
> Brewery: The Lone Pint Brewery (Texas)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.41 out of 5

Formerly called Pioneer Yellow Rose. Full-bodied and malty, with an abundance of fruity hops; the nose is particularly attractive.

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Source: Courtesy of Ska Brewing Company

34. Modus Hoperandi
> Brewery: Ska Brewing Co. (Colorado)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.1 out of 5

A smooth, almost elegant American-style IPA, as forthrightly hoppy as its name would suggest, with a rich mouth-feel and a nice bitter finish.

Source: Courtesy of Resident Culture

33. Vicky Virago
> Brewery: Resident Culture Brewing Company (North Carolina)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.52 out of 5

Ranked “world class” by Beer Advocate; tropical fruit in the nose, rich and citrusy on the palate; tastes deceptively soft for its 8.50% ABV. (Resident Culture is known for its imaginative beer names — Whatever You Feel Just Dance It, The Inevitability of Change, Inked in the Womb, Quantum Wobble, etc.)

Source: Courtesy of Night Shift Brewing

32. Whirlpool
> Brewery: Night Shift Brewing (Massachusetts)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.13 out of 5

A classic New England-style IPA, with assorted citrus and tropical fruits in the nose, with more fruit and some spice in the yeasty flavor.

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Source: Courtesy of Green Bench Brewing Co.

31. Saison de Banc Vert
> Brewery: Green Bench Brewing Co. (Florida)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 3.83 out of 5

A Belgian-influenced saison (farmhouse ale), earthy and fruity, with a crisp, dry finish.

Source: naiserie / Flickr

30. Abner
> Brewery: Hill Farmstead Brewery (Vermont)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.63 out of 5

A double dry-hopped IPA, unfiltered and cloudy orange in color; plenty of fruit in both the aroma and flavor; smooth and luscious.

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Source: Courtesy of Columbus Brewing Company

29. Bodhi
> Brewery: Columbus Brewing Company (Ohio)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.47 out of 5

A rich golden-hued IPA, citrusy and hop-forward. A suggestion of pine resin flavor, with a long, dry, almost silky finish.

Source: Courtesy of Lawson’s Finest Liquids

28. Sip Of Sunshine
> Brewery: Lawson’s Finest Liquids (Vermont)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.56 out of 5

Classic IPA, generously hopped but with plenty of malt coming through; floral, with a resiny character and notes of citrus and tropical fruit.

Source: Courtesy of Del Mesa Liquor

27. Focal Banger
> Brewery: The Alchemist Brewery (Vermont)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.57 out of 5

Crisp and lemony, but with a malty sweetness offset by bitter notes; comparatively light, but full of flavor.

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Source: Courtesy of Tree House Brewing Company

26. Green
> Brewery: Tree House Brewing Company (Massachusetts)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.58 out of 5

A “cross-continental” IPA (according to the brewery), flavored with Australian and American hops and lots of them; tropical fruit in the aroma and flavor, pronounced bitterness, and excellent balance.

Source: Courtesy of 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

25. Zombie Dust
> Brewery: 3 Floyds Brewing Co. (Indiana)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.58 out of 5

Formerly marketed as Centopath. Strongly hopped; very resinous in the nose, less so on the palate; fruity and yeasty.

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Source: Courtesy of 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

24. Dreadnaught IPA
> Brewery: 3 Floyds Brewing Company (Indiana)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.4 out of 5

Malt and citrusy hops come through vividly in both aroma and flavor, with an attractive bitterness and some yeasty character.

Source: Courtesy of Toppling Goliath Brewing Co.

23. King Sue
> Brewery: Toppling Goliath Brewing Company (Iowa)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.6 out of 5

Quintessential double IPA, luminous orange in color, bitter, citrusy, herbaceous, and full of intense tropical fruit aromas and flavors.

Source: Courtesy of Fifth Hammer Brewing Co.

22. Fire and Rainbows
> Brewery: Fifth Hammer Brewing (New York)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.12 out of 5

Fifth Hammer describes this IPA as “a tropical Orange Julius,” and orange predominates in the nose and on the palate; very fruity overall, smooth, and hoppy but not particularly bitter.

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Source: Courtesy of The Wine Wave

21. Sour Monkey
> Brewery: Victory Brewing Company (Pennsylvania)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.02 out of 5

Tart and sourish, with some grass and green apple in the nose; refreshing and clean on the palate, with medium body and a sweetish finish.

Source: Courtesy of Elysian Brewing

20. Space Dust
> Brewery: Elysian Brewing Company (Washington)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.08 out of 5

Caramel, citrus, and stone fruits in the nose; round and smooth, with some earthy, grassy notes.

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Source: Courtesy of Sixpoint Brewery

19. Jammer
> Brewery: Sixpoint Brewery (Michigan)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 3.54 out of 5

Tart, slightly funky aroma; grainy and citrusy in the mouth, with medium body, mild acidity, and medium hop character.

Source: Courtesy of 450 North Brewing Company

18. Citra Nuggets
> Brewery: 450 North Brewing Company (Indiana)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.17 out of 5

Hazy yellow, with orange and lemon in the nose; cantaloupe, pineapple, and resin on the palate.

Source: Courtesy of Rhinegeist Brewery

17. Saber Tooth Tiger
> Brewery: Rhinegeist Brewery (Ohio)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.14 out of 5

Thick and smooth, with citrus and tropical fruit in the nose and mouth; well-balanced, with mild carbonation and some sweetness in the finish.

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Source: Courtesy of New Belgium Brewing Company

16. Voodoo Ranger IPA
> Brewery: New Belgium Brewing (Colorado)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 3.78 out of 5

Plenty of hops and some grass in the aroma; big and medium-dry on the palate, with citrus and some spice.

Source: Courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

15. Union Jack IPA
> Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (California)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.23 out of 5

A very hop-forward IPA with a punch deriving from its respectable alcoholic content (7% ABV) but also from its sweet fruit, rich maltiness, and overall complexity.

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Source: Courtesy of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Inc.

14. 90 Minute IPA
> Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Delaware)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.27 out of 5

A classic IPA, full of sweet, caramelized malt flavor balanced by pronounced citrusy hops; smooth and rich, with an alcohol load of 9% ABV.

Source: Courtesy of Cigar City Brewing

13. Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout
> Brewery: Cigar City Brewing (Florida)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.57 out of 5

A rich, thick, black stout, brewed with cacao nibs, cinnamon, vanilla beans, and two kinds of chiles; sweet and complex — dessert in a glass.

Source: Courtesy of West Side Brewing

12. Barleywine Style Ale
> Brewery: West Side Brewing (Ohio)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.31 out of 5

A sturdy barleywine (a high-alcohol top-fermented ale — this one’s 11% ABV) with suggestions of brown sugar and dried figs and light floral hop notes.

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Source: Courtesy of Odell Brewing Co.

11. Myrcenary Double IPA
> Brewery: Odell Brewing Company (Colorado)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.28 out of 5

Named for myrcene oil, one of the essential oils found in the hops cone, which imparts a citrusy, earthy, sometimes metallic flavor. Strongly hopped with hop varieties containing the highest levels of the oil, and intensely aromatic and fruity, with a 9.3% ABV alcoholic punch.

Source: Courtesy of BevMo!

10. Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
> Brewery: Boulevard Brewing Company (Missouri)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.17 out of 5

A Belgian-style farmhouse ale, or saison, earthy and potent (8.5% ABV), with flavors of orange and grapefruit and a suggestion of wet hay. Quite complex.

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Source: Courtesy of Tree House Brewing Company

9. Julius
> Brewery: Tree House Brewing Company (Massachusetts)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.65 out of 5

A clean, refreshing, eminently drinkable New England-style IPA, showing pineapple and grapefruit in the aroma, followed by juicy mixed tropical fruit in the mouth.

Source: Courtesy of New Holland Brewing

8. Dragon’s Milk
> Brewery: New Holland Brewing Company (Michigan)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.04 out of 5

A bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stout, strong (11% ABV) and rich, almost chewy; plenty of oak and a toasty malt flavor.

Source: Courtesy of Founders Brewing Co.

7. CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)
> Brewery: Founders Brewing Company (Michigan)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.65 out of 5

Makes you want to cross our northern border for a morning meal — dark, smooth, sweet, and oaky (it was aged in old bourbon barrels more recently used for maple syrup); brewed with coffee and chocolate.

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Source: Courtesy of Old Nation

6. Boss Tweed
> Brewery: Old Nation Brewing Co. (Michigan)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.41 out of 5

An attractive grassy, fruity aroma leading to a sweetish, tropical-fruit character on the palate, accented with hop-induced bitterness.

Source: Courtesy of Alchemist Beer

5. Heady Topper
> Brewery: The Alchemist Brewery (Vermont)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.71 out of 5

Hailed for the Best Beer Label by 10Best. One of the original cult beers (before it became more widely available, there was an independent website devoted to hunting for it, and people sold it — illegally — on eBay); well-balanced and full of floral, citrusy, and piney flavors.

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Source: Courtesy of Bell’s Brewery, Inc.

4. Two Hearted Ale
> Brewery: Bell’s Brewery (Michigan)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.27 out of 5

Named for the Two Hearted River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A malt-centered beauty with intense citrus and resin aromas and full-bodied hop-heavy flavor.

Source: Courtesy of 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

3. Dark Lord Imperial Stout
> Brewery: 3 Floyds Brewing Company (Indiana)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.28 out of 5

Sweet and strong (15% ABV); brewed with coffee, Mexican vanilla, and Indian sugar, and emitting an aroma that’s part vintage Port, part molasses; sold only at the brewery on one day in April each year.

Source: Courtesy of Surly Brewing Co.

2. Todd The Axe Man
> Brewery: Surly Brewing Co. (Minnesota)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.46 out of 5

Described by its brewers as “not quite a West Coast (i.e., heavily hopped) IPA;” intensely flavorful and if not exactly hop-heavy, certainly full of fruity hops flavor.

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Source: Courtesy of Russian River Brewing Company

1. Pliny The Younger
> Brewery: Russian River Brewing Company (California)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.69 out of 5

Floral and piney — it has three times the usual portion of hops, making it a triple IPA — with an alcoholic kick (it’s 10.25% ABV) and a smoothing touch of sweetness.