When you think about countries with a history of amazing beer, America isn’t your first thought. Germany, Ireland, Belgium, and other countries are more well-known for their histories with their signature types of beer.
Here’s the beauty of the United States, though. We have a rich combination of cultures coming together and sharing the best that they have to offer. That includes beer.
The cultural smoothie we call America has developed a robust craft brewing industry with varieties galore. Whether you’re an ale aficionado or stout supporter, there’s something for everyone among these top 15 best craft beers in the US.
Best Craft Beers in the US
Every craft brewery is an artist in their own right. They use creativity and their own tastes to come up with unique brews their customers love. Here’s a look at the best and highest-rated beers in the country.
15. Boffo Brown Ale by Dark Horse Brewing Company
Brown ale is a happy medium for many beer drinkers. Its flavors place it halfway between strong dark beers and sharper light beers, so its color is a perfect fit. When it comes to brown ales, Boffo Brown is a great rendition of this popular favorite.
Brewed by Dark Horse Brewing Company in Marshall, Michigan, Boffo Brown has a smooth and nutty flavor. The full-bodied flavor makes it a satisfying sip. At 7% alcohol by volume (or ABV), it’s around the middle of the pack as far as craft beers go.
14. Namaste White by Dogfish Head Brewery
Did you start your beer-drinking journey with the typical major American beers? If so, white beers (or witbiers to be authentic) are a natural entry into the craft beer world.
Namaste White is an example of a Belgian-style white ale. It’s full of citrus notes which makes it no surprise that Namaste is a summer beer favorite. The 4.8% ABV keeps it light too, so it’s a go-to for day drinking by the pool.
At their Delaware brewery, Dogfish Head Brewery uses organic orange slices to produce the citrus tones in Namaste White. Those orange flavors come through in the refreshing final taste.
13. Blue by SweetWater Brewery
As spring comes along, who doesn’t get in the mood for some fruit in their beer? As any craft beer fan can attest, though, fruit-flavored beer can go very right or very wrong.
If you want a fruity beer that’s done right, look no further than SweetWater Blue. This wheat ale has just enough of a blueberry taste to be refreshing. Still, the blueberries don’t overshadow the classic wheat ale flavor.
It’s important to realize that despite the blueberry hints, Blue is a wheat ale. It’s brewed from wheat, not blueberries, so it doesn’t have an overpowering sweetness.
At their brewery in Atlanta, SweetWater produces Blue year-round but they see its popular soar every year when spring and summer arrives.
12. Oblivion by Wicked Weed Brewing
SweetWater’s Blue might tone down the sweetness, but Wicked Weed Brewing brings out theirs in full force in Oblivion.
Oblivion belongs to a newer style of beer, called American wild ales. American wild ales get their name from the yeast their brewers use. They tend to have a distinctive sour flavor, and Oblivion is no exception.
Wicked Weed Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina uses a unique blend of fruits to craft Oblivion. They use blackberries and dates to produce this sour red ale. They age it in red wine barrels for up to ten months to give a unique and well-rounded flavor.
Another note: at 8.7% ABV, Oblivion is on the higher end of the spectrum. Trust us: it goes to your head in a hurry.
11. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Craft breweries are characterized by their small volume. The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is among the largest craft breweries in the country (third to be exact). In fact, many people see it on the shelves so often they don’t realize it’s a craft brewery.
Much of the brewery’s success is due to their flagship, the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. As far as American pale ales go, this is as classic as you can get. Sierra Nevada boasts a smooth, easy sip that makes it a great entry into the world of pale ales.
The aspect of the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale that appeals to its fans the most is its strong hops. This produces the characteristic sharp taste at the end of each sip that’s classic for pale ales.
10. Parabola by Firestone Walker Brewing Company
If you’re a fan of rich, full-bodied beer, Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Parabola is a must-try.
Firestone Walker starts by brewing their popular oatmeal stout in their California brewery. What makes it unique, though, is that they age it for a full year in bourbon barrels.
Those bourbon barrels come from quality distilleries like Woodford Reserve and Four Roses. You can taste the influence in the finished product.
The flavor isn’t the only thing Parabola has in common with bourbon, though. It also has a high alcohol content. At 12.7% ABV, Parabola has the highest amount of alcohol on this list.
9. Dinner by Maine Beer Company
India pale ales, or IPAs, are among the most popular brews in the craft beer scene. Maine Beer Company has its own version, and it’s earned nationwide attention.
In truth, Dinner is a double IPA which means it has an even greater amount of those classic hops. Some brewers produce double IPAs by adding twice the amount of hops but following the same process.
Maine Beer Company, on the other hand, does it by adding a second dry hopping cycle. This enhances the hop character and gives Dinner a more unique taste than a hoppier IPA.
For a well-rounded flavor, though, Dinner has a surprisingly amount of fruitiness. Some drinkers pick up more on the grapefruit while others think the lemon comes out more strongly. We’ll let you decide for yourself.
8. Noise and Flesh by Orpheus
Let’s head back to the sours for a moment. Atlanta-based Orpheus offers a variety of brews but sours are their specialty.
Noise and Flesh is an American wild ale, but it has a twist. After going through the typical brewing process, Orpheus ages the beer in wine barrels.
On top of the hints of wine, you can taste a distinct peach flavor in this unique brew. Plus, if you’re looking for a gentle beer for a lunchtime picnic or an afternoon lounge by the pool, Noise and Flesh’s 4.4% ABV makes it a great option.
7. Julius by Tree House Brewing Company
New England is packed with great craft breweries, and Tree House Brewing Company is proud to be among them. And of course, it wouldn’t be a craft brewery if they didn’t have a great IPA.
Julius is an American IPA with a rich and varied aroma. It boasts notes of passionfruit, mango, peach, and more.
One of the largest critiques of IPAs is that their high amount of hops can be too bitter for some drinkers. Julius, though, gives you all the hoppy flavor while taking some of the sharpness out of that bitterness. It’s an IPA for everyone, including those who are new to the brew.
6. Barrel-Aged Speedway Stout by Alesmith Brewing Company
If IPAs have a sharp finishing taste, stouts are on the opposite end of the spectrum. They’re known for their bold vanilla and coffee tastes and rounded flavors, Alesmith Brewing Company has embraced those qualities.
The brewery’s barrel-aged Speedway Stout starts as a classic Russian imperial stout. They age it in bourbon barrels for a full year, allowing the oak and bourbon flavors to soak in.
Along with its strong taste, the Speedway Stout brings to the table a powerful 12% ABV. As an added bonus, Alesmith also offers several twists on this long-time favorite, like their Jamaican Blue Speedway Stout.
5. Two Hearted Ale, Bell’s Brewery
Michigan seems to be one of those states with breweries galore, and that includes Bell’s Brewery. With two different breweries in The Wolverine State, Bell’s Brewery boasts several well-known beers including the Two Hearted Ale.
Two Hearted Ale is an American-style IPA that’s known for being hop-forward. The brew offers an enjoyable fruity aroma and a beautiful golden hue. When it comes down to the taste, though, it’s a classic IPA for IPA fans.
In addition to its straightforward flavor, Two Hearted Ale is in the middle of the road with its ABV as well at a healthy 7%.
4. Pliny the Elder by Russian River Brewing Company
Let’s stay on the IPA train for the next brew on our list. Russian River Brewing Company in California has one of the most beloved IPAs in the country in their Pliny the Elder beer.
With more of a floral aroma than most American-style IPAs, it’s no wonder this beer is so popular. Named after the man from the first century AD who’s thought to have given hops their name, this brew does justice to its namesake. Hops are the core flavor you’ll notice in Pliny the Elder.
If you’re in the mood for an even stronger bitterness, Pliny the Elder has a close relative. Pliny the Younger is Russian River Brewing Company’s triple IPA and it has the powerful punch you’d expect.
3. Kentucky Breakfast Stout by Founders Brewing Company
Anyone else feeling some deja vu? Because we’re back in Michigan for our #3 pick at Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids.
Kentucky Breakfast Stout, or KBR as it’s lovingly called, is an American imperial stout. The traditional coffee and chocolate flavors every stout fan loves are featured with full force in the KBS.
After brewing this popular oatmeal stout, the Founders brewers place it in bourbon barrels and age it in a cave for twelve months. Yes, we’re talking about a full-blown cave: an abandoned mine that’s now used to perfect the legendary KBS.
All that special treatment doesn’t just lead to a delicious flavor. It also gives KBS a whopping 12.2% ABV, which makes for great annual KBS keg tapping parties.
2. Heady Topper by The Alchemist Brewery
If you’re a huge fan of hops, you need this beer on your bucket list. Heady Topper is a double IPA from The Alchemist Brewery in Vermont.
In its early days, The Alchemist was a pub. They were brewing Heady Topper but only serving it on tap rather than bottling it and selling it to go. When the pub flooded in 2011, the owners decided to focus more on the brewing side of their business.
Since then, Heady Topper has been gaining popularity at a rapid speed. Its unique formula makes it ideal for drinking from a can rather than on draught.
1. Zombie Dust by Three Floyds Brewing Company
And here we are, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! The #1 craft beer in the country…which has a distinctly unappetizing name.
Three Floyds Brewing Company is an Indiana institution with multiple brews that are nationally ranked. Without a doubt, though, Zombie Dust is the reigning king.
Zombie Dust is a pale ale with a vibrant rainbow of citrus flavors. It’s full-bodied but with a 6.2% ABV, it’s still light enough to keep you in the game. If you’re an old-school craft beer fan, you might know Zombie Dust by its former name: Cenotaph.
Soaking Up the Craft Beer Scene
Part of the beauty of craft beer is its creativity. Larger brewing companies tend to find a specialty and stick to it. Craft beer, on the other hand, is all about experimenting and turning brewing into an art form.
We, the drinkers, get to reap the benefits. As you can see by this list, everyone can enjoy the best craft beers no matter what your beer taste palate may prefer.
If you’re ready to tap into some of the deliciousness on the list above, shop our keg tap systems and other accessories.