Thanks to the craft beer surge of the last decade-plus, we are inundated with delicious brews from Portland, Oregon, to Tampa, Florida. From cheap beers and summer beers to hop-forward IPAs and iconic offerings, the American beer landscape is as strong and diverse as it has ever been.
Our rich beer heritage is a blessing, but admittedly, it can be hard to navigate sometimes. There are more hop varieties now than there are Simpsons characters — which is a lot. Throw in relatively obscure styles like saisons, sours, smoked beers, and even cucumber beers, and it can be downright confusing.
That’s why we’ve done the work and broken down the 20 best options for you to enjoy for the rest of 2021.
Best IPA: fPriem IPA
We can’t keep track of all of the IPAs out there, but we do know that this one from Hood River has been one of the most consistently-great ones for years. With a surprisingly complex malt bill, it has plenty of body to back up the delicious hops.
Read more: Best IPAs
Best Imperial IPA: Pliny the Elder
It’s no real surprise that the best IIPA is one of the original offerings that started the trend in the first place. Still a great recipe (and now in a can), it’s a timeless, hop-heavy beer with incredible balance.
Best Hazy IPA: Harland Brewing Hazy IPA
Hazy IPAs continue to flood the market, but the best ones are straightforward, balanced, and not too high-octane, like this riff from San Diego’s Harland Brewing.
Best Session IPA: Golden Road Wolf PUP Session IPA
It’s no wonder a fine session IPA comes out of LA, where day-drinking after a surf outing is necessary and you need something that’s tasty and won’t knock you out.
Best Alternative IPA: Mikkeller Waves American IPA
This take on the American IPA from the Danish beer masters at Mikkeller is well-rounded, easy to drink, and full of the hoppy freshness you expect from a great IPA.
Best Pale Ale: Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale
This American standard-bearer from Colorado continues to be one of the best in the ever-popular pale category.
Read more: Best Pale Ales
Best Pilsner: Pilsner Urquell
A good pilsner is clean, crisp, and unbelievably refreshing. While we in the states make some good ones, it’s tough to top a good Euro version, like this benchmark beer.
Read more: Best American Pilsners
Best Amber Ale: Alaskan Amber
The Amber from Alaskan Brewing Company has inspired many other breweries to try their hand at the style. It remains an outstanding option for a medium-bodied beer that’s quite food-friendly.
Read more: Best Amber Ales
Best Sour Beer: 10 Barrel Cucumber Sour
This offering from 10 Barrel seemed like an outlandish idea at the time, but it has since become a legend within the sour beer genre.
Read more: Best Sour Beers
Best Stout: Boulevard Whiskey Barrel Stout
The makers of one of the best farmhouse ales in the states, Boulevard is the brewing pride of Kansas City and makes a delightful, whiskey-kissed stout.
Read more: Best Stouts
Best Porter: Maui Brewing Coconut Hiwa Porter
Coconut, malt, and mocha flavors play beautifully together in this deftly-made beer from one of Hawaii’s best producers.
Best Barrel-Aged Beer: Deschutes The Abyss
This imperial stout from Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery is a perennial classic that drinks like a wine with layer upon delicious layer.
Read more: Best Barrel-Aged Beers
Best Fruit Beer: E9 Wild Tacoma Cherry Table Sour Ale
E9 makes some of the best fruit-infused beers along the west coast, if not the entire U.S. This one is an instant classic that sips like a session beer but is full of stone fruit-driven freshness.
Read more: Best Fruit Beers
Best Belgian-Style Beer: Jester King Noble King
This Belgian-style beer is dialed in at just 5.8% but teeming with flavor and nuance, which is generally the case from anything coming out of esteemed Texas brewery Jester King.
Best Beer You’ll Probably Never Try: Toppling Goliath Brunch Brand Stout
There are waiting lists for lots of beers, and they can sell out within hours. When your stout is the top-rated beer according to Beer Advocate, it goes extra fast. Good luck getting your hands on this decadent number from Iowa’s acclaimed Toppling Goliath.
Best Wheat Beer: Funky Buddha Floridian Hefeweizen
This wheat beer from the Sunshine State shows nice, summery, tropical fruit elements atop a sturdy, grain-driven backbone. It’s great for a warm afternoon of wanting to pretend you live in a climate that currently has warm afternoons.
Best Kölsch: Three Weavers Seafarer
One of the best breweries in Los Angeles makes a mean Kolsch-style beer in the Seafarer, one that’s light and wonderfully refreshing, with that signature category kick of subtle fruit notes and a bit of straw.
Best Barleywine: 3 Floyds Behemoth
Half the fun of the barleywine is how it opens up and changes in your favorite beer glass over time. This one from Indiana’s 3 Floyds is absolutely top-notch, bursting with intriguing complexity.
Best Tripel: Taxman Brewing Exemption
Most good tripels come from Belgium and arrive in a glass bottle. This canned take from Indiana outfit Taxman Brewing is so tasty, with big aromatics, yeast-y flavors, and a pleasant roundness.
Best Non-Alcoholic Beer: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Alkoholfrei
Zero-proof beers have improved drastically with the corresponding wellness movement. This one tastes like a damn beer, like it should, without any of the unwanted fuzziness.
Read more: Best Non-Alcoholic Beers
- The 11 Best Mexican Beers To Add To Your Craft Beer Collection in 2021
- The 10 Best Cheap Beers Money Can Buy in 2021
- This Is the Best Gift for Beer Lovers for Valentine’s Day
- In Defense of Cheap Beer, an Inclusive Beverage That’s Always Worth Drinking
- The Best Ginger Ale Brands To Drink Now