The 15 Best American Beers

Whether you’re attending a booze-fuelled college party, or chilling out at home watching your favorite sports team, drinking a refreshing, high quality beer is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

From pilsners and lagers to pale ales and stouts, the options are limitless, with breweries all over America creating some of the finest beers you can find anywhere in the world.

With this in mind, our guide will take a closer look at 15 of the best American beers to try when next putting in your beer order. What’s more, we’ll also look to answer a few of the frequently asked questions related to American beer. 

OUR TOP PICK

Bell’s Expedition Stout

The first beer on our list is Bell’s Expedition Stout which is one of the very best imperial stouts you’ll find anywhere in the world. This popular beer hails from Michigan and is “crafted specifically with ageing in mind”, according to the brewery.

The main tasting notes of the hearty beverage are chocolate, molasses, and dark fruit, while the aftertaste is so incredibly creamy that you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were sipping on a beer liqueur.

The best thing about Bell’s Expedition Stout is that it’s the perfect now-or-later beer.

In other words, it’s equally delicious whether you want to throw it quickly in the fridge and drink 20 minutes later, or you’re in the mood for taking your time with it and letting it age to perfection. 

EDITORS CHOICE

The original beer brand from Jim Koch’s Boston Beer Company, Samuel Adams balances its beers with malty sweetness and hop spiciness - a winning combination for any beer lover!

Their popular, full-flavored Boston Lager, now ubiquitous in chain restaurants and airport bars throughout the world, is brewed with some of the finest ingredients, including Bavarian Noble hops. 

BEST VALUE

Firestone Walker, Easy Jack IPA

Firestone Walker’s Easy Jack IPA provides all the flavor you’d want from an American IPA, with plenty of tropical fruit tasting notes, as well as strong grapefruit hop aromas.

It’s worth noting that the drink finishes with a dry bitterness that tends to linger, but the tropical notes continue power on through.

What’s more, this refreshing, zesty beer is also incredibly light at a sessionable strength, so if you’re looking for a drink to chug during the warm summer months, there are few better options.

RUNNER UP

Notch Session Pils Czech Pale Lager

If you’re more of a lager drinker, this drink from the Massachusetts region will be right up your street. Notch Brewing has an excellent reputation for making innovative and relevant low-alcohol Czech lagers, and their Session Pils Czech Pale Lager is no exception.

While this easy-drinking beverage may be a little light when it comes to ABV compared to many of the other beers on our list, there’s plenty of flavor to enjoy, with strong citrus tasting notes and a fair amount of floral hops. 

RUNNER UP

When this pale ale first launched in 1980 it was a groundbreaking beverage, and the fact that it still remains so popular in a contemporary society where pale ales and IPAs are all the range, says it all.

Sierra Nevada has a rich tradition of creating high quality, thirst-quenching beers, and this offering is the classic benchmark for most pale ales. It’s smooth, fragrant, and packed full of complex piney, citrusy hop flavors that’ll be sure to get your taste buds tingling. 

RUNNER UP

Crooked Stave, Colorado Wild Sage

With white sage and lemongrass the predominant aromas of this beer, Crooked Stave Colorado Wild Sage provides one of the most unique and alluring perfumes you’ll find in a beer anywhere.

In addition to this incredible scent, a sharp lemon sourness hits your taste buds as soon as the drink breaches your lips, before a gentle, herby bitterness takes over.

So, if you’re someone who likes to experience new beer flavors, this offering from Crooked Stave is one you can’t miss out on. 

RUNNER UP

Alchemist Heady Topper

Created by Vermont brewery The Alchemist, this beer played a pivotal role in the development of the IPA craze, especially in terms of drinking such a beer from a can rather than a bottle.

The Heady Topper provides signature grapefruit and pine flavors that are followed by a bitter, hoppy finish. The combination is of the highest quality - a must try!

RUNNER UP

Goose Island is a brewery that’s earned an excellent reputation around the world for its innovative approach to beer. Their IPA is just one example of this, providing an abundance of fruity American hops and a crisp, dry finish.

Goose Island IPA is that much of an all-round package, it’s actually been responsible for many drinkers leaving behind lagers and switching to American IPAs.

Despite the fact that Goose Island is now owned by AB InBev, the brand responsible for Budweiser, the beer remains one of the very best and most popular on the IPA market. 

RUNNER UP

North Coast, Le Merle

This beer from North Coast is a prime example of a Belgian-style beer that’s been subtly (but brilliantly) Americanized. As soon as you drink Le Merle, the lively golden liquid will provide your taste buds with peppery yeast flavors and a delicious lemony freshness.

When these predominant tasting notes subside, you’ll be left with candy malts and a spicy bitterness. As recommended by several different sources, this beer is ideal if you’re looking to wash down a large turkey dinner. 

RUNNER UP

Lost Coast Great White

The next beer on our list is the Great White from Californian brewery Lost Coast. It’s one of the most popular American wheat beers, and delivers everything you’d expect from a high quality alcoholic beverage.

Great White is light, hazy, and packed full of delicious, fruity phenols. What’s more, Lost Coast includes coriander in the recipe which not only gives the drink a floral peppery aroma, it also compliments the fruity sweetness of the beer perfectly. 

RUNNER UP

Brooklyn Insulated Dark Lager

This excellent brewery has been creating some of the very best beers since 1988, and their lager has become a staple for craft connoisseurs all over the world.

The darker version of their lager which we’ve selected for this list is a really intriguing drink, with a dose of black barley adding some warm, roasty flavors to the clean, lightly-hopped liquid. If you haven’t already tried this variation of Brooklyn lager, don’t miss out.

RUNNER UP

Widely considered the number one craft beer in America, Blue Moon was first brewed in Colorado during the mid-1990s. The Belgian-style witbier has since become a popular choice of drink for people all over the world.

Don’t be put off by the beer’s cloudy appearance, Blue Moon has an agreeable profile with plenty of rich flavor. It’s also served with a signature orange wedge garnish which is always a nice touch. 

RUNNER UP

Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald

The Ohio-based brewery Great Lakes named this delicious porter after the famous freighter which sank to the bottom of Lake Superior in 1975. Brewed with roasted barley, the main tasting notes of this beer are coffee, chocolate, and tobacco.

Impressively, the Edmund Fitzgerald porter has won a large number of awards over the years, including golds at both the World Beer Championship and the Great American Beer Festival. 

RUNNER UP

With ABV levels getting higher and higher in recent years, craft beers have become less suited to daytime drinking.

However, Founders All Day IPA is a beer that provides the flavor, character, and body you want from a craft beer, all while delivered in sessionable form.

It’s worth noting that the reputation and popularity of this beer has taken a hit since a high-profile racial discrimination lawsuit was put forward against the brewery, but the influence of Founders All Day IPA can’t be overlooked. 

RUNNER UP

Jolly Pumpkin Ales, Fuego del Otoño

The final beer on our list, and by certainly no means the least, is this extraordinary beer that’s perfect for marking a special occasion.

It may be considerably more expensive than many of the other American beers on this list, but it’s a prime example of brewing brilliance that you need to try.

The unique ale is infused with both chestnuts and spices, before later being aged in oak. What all this means is that Fuego del Otoño provides a mature pungency - almost slightly sour - and a distinctive, spicy aftertaste that’ll be sure to get your taste buds tingling with excitement. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The 15 Best American Beers

Which American Beer Has The Most Alcohol?

While the vast majority of American beers are around 4% to 6% ABV, there are plenty that are much stronger.

The strongest is Hair Of The Dog Dave which is 29% ABV, but there are several other beers that also exceed the 20% mark, including Samuel Adams Utopias (27%), Herkimer Toripuru Triple Block (23%), and Duclaw Colossus (21%).

Is 0.0 Beer Really Alcohol-Free?

This all depends on the brand. For example, many of the most popular alcohol-free beers such as Bitburger Drive and Beck’s Blue actually contain a very small amount of alcohol in them (usually around 0.05%).

However, if you want to avoid consuming even the smallest trace of alcohol, there are still some options you can choose from.

For instance, Heineken’s 0.0 version really does provide 0.0% alcohol. Furthermore, there are several other, less well-known alcohol-free beers out on the market too.

How Many 5% Beers Does It Take To Get Drunk?

For the average male weighing around 86 kg (190 pounds) it takes between four to five beers in an hour to get “drunk”, while this is around three to four beers for the average woman weighing 73 kg (160 pounds).

For the purpose of this answer, the term “get drunk” means that the individual will have a blood alcohol content of above 0.08%. In the US, this legally means that you’re intoxicated.

Does Beer Make You Fat?

Any type of alcohol has the potential to increase weight gain as when eating at the same time, it can affect your body’s ability to metabolize calories. In other words, alcohol can cause these calories to be stored as fat rather than glycogen in the liver.

What’s more, beer has a higher calorific content than the vast majority of other alcoholic beverages, so consuming high amounts of beer on a regular basis will definitely increase the likelihood of you becoming fat.

Mandy Winters
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