Special Report

America’s 40 Most Delicious Beers

Source: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

20. Parabola
> Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (California)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.65 out of 5

This high-octane (14% ABV) imperial stout offers flavors of dark chocolate, tobacco, malt, and bourbon-barrel oak; from a Central Coast wine country brewery now owned by the major Belgian brewery Duvel Moortgat.

Source: Courtesy of edwin via Flickr

19. KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
> Brewery: Founders Brewing Co. (Michigan)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.65 out of 5

A rich, malty, and earthy imperial stout brewed with what Founders calls “a massive amount of coffee and chocolates;” according to one Beer Advocate reviewer, “The look is epic — black like Texas crude.”

Source: Courtesy of Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

18. Assassin
> Brewery: Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. (Iowa)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.7 out of 5

Very dark in color, with plenty of malt in the nose; rich and chewy, with a flavor that evokes chocolate, raisins, dates, and caramel.

Source: Courtesy of Lawson's Finest Liquids

17. Double Sunshine
> Brewery: Lawson’s Finest Liquids (Vermont)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.68 out of 5

A classic double IPA (one given extra heft by additional hops and malt), reminiscent of the same brewery’s Sip of Sunshine (No. 25), but maltier, as might be expected, with a subtle but agreeable fruity character.

Source: Courtesy of The Lost Abbey

16. Duck Duck Gooze
> Brewery: The Lost Abbey (California)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.66 out of 5

A Golden State interpretation of the classic Belgian style called gueuze (hence the punning name). Gueuze is a type of lambic — beer fermented with wild yeasts and bacteria — made by blending. young and older barrel-aged beers. This one is lively and redolent of stone fruits, with some tartness and sweetness.

Source: Goose Island Beer Co.

15. Bourbon County Coffee Stout
> Brewery: Goose Island Beer Co. (Illinois)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.73 out of 5

The coffee-dosed elaboration of Goose Island’s regular Bourbon County Stout (No. 31), malty and dark, with hints of bourbon and an aromatic infusion of high-quality coffee beans (the sources vary year to year).

Source: Courtesy of Bottle Logic Brewing

14. Fundamental Observation
> Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing (California)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.72 out of 5

A heady imperial stout (14.3% ABV), blended with Madagascar vanilla beans and aged in bourbon barrels; rich and dark, but with fairly subtle oak and whiskey flavors.

Source: Courtesy of Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

13. SR-71
> Brewery: Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. (Iowa)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.77 out of 5

At 14% ABV, an intense, complex imperial stout, syrupy and raisiny, with notes of chocolate and marshmallow.

Source: Courtesy of Maine Beer Company

12. Dinner
> Brewery: Maine Beer Co. (Maine)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.66 out of 5

A dry, fresh, clean double IPA, fruity and spicy, with a resiny flavor and lightly bitter finish.

Source: Adam Barhan / Flickr

11. Pliny the Elder
> Brewery: Russian River Brewing Co. (California)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.69 out of 5

Malty and slightly bitter, an imperial double IPA with an earthy, grassy hop character in the nose and plenty of malt and citrus on the palate.