What’s the single best beer brewed in your state? You just get one pick. No ties, no second place, no “also ran.”
Tough, right? Sure to cause a flame war in the comments? Well let’s get ready to throw down, because this week we’re going through every region of the country and picking the very best beer in each state. These are the beers worth traveling for, the beers that demand your love, the very cream of the crop.
We looked for the tastiest, the hoppiest, the maltiest — the single most iconic brew in each of the 50 states. These are the best beers from the Southeastern Region. Cheers!
ALABAMA — RASPBERRY BERLINER WEISSE
Not gonna lie, when we think Alabama we think hot and muggy summer days that need a refreshing drink to cut through all that humidity.
Luckily Trimtab Brewing Company makes just the beer for that occasion. Their Raspberry Berliner Weisse is a crisp example of the style, made with loving precision. They’ve already added the requisite “schuss” of raspberry into the beer and were wise enough not to overdo it with the sweetness (which is often the problem when brewers add that shuss to their Berliner Weisse). This allows the lemon tartness derived from the yeasts to shine brightly along with the mellow wheat maltiness of the brew. It’s a like a sour fruit breeze on a hot Alabama night.
ARKANSAS — BDCS
Arkansas’s backcountry is dense with forests, lakes, and those sprawling Ozarks. Those kind of wilds call for a big, heavy beer. So we’re going with an American Imperial Stout to warm the dark reaches of your soul … and get you a little tipsy.
Ozark Beer Co.’s BDCS clocks in with a 10.2 percent ABV, hidden under a lot of chocolate and bourbon. It’s like a big ol’ chocolate brownie that’s been soaked for months in glug after glug of whiskey. Those two flavors seamlessly provide a creamy stout that warms and delights at the same time.
FLORIDA — JAI ALAI IPA
Florida equals beach. Beach equals hot summer days. Beach and hot summers days mean you need to pop some cans of a refreshing and thirst quenching beer.
Cigar City Brewing‘s Jai Alai IPA (a recommendation which started in the comments) is just that beer. It’s a citrus hop refresher with hints of tropical fruits that reigns itself in well to not overdo the hoppiness. That’s accented with a nice caramel maltiness on the end of the taste that makes this one a classic beer for a lazy day on a Florida beach.
GEORGIA — BIBO
Georgia is another one of those states where humidity, Spanish Moss, and endlessly hot summer days flash to most people’s minds. With those vision in your head, you need a light beer that’s both refreshing and delicious.
Creature Comforts Brewing Co.’s Bibo is a great German Pilsner. This lager comes in at a nice and easy 5.2 percent ABV, meaning you can drink it all day (and night). The beer’s hoppiness is amped up a bit from a mix of Saaz and Motueka hops, giving a slight citrus that’s eased into a malty smooth finish.
This is the beer style that took Central Europe and then the world by storm, and it’s easy to see why with a version as good as this one.
KENTUCKY — SIXFOLD XII: BRETT’D GOLEN ALE
There’s a lot more than just whiskey and horses in Kentucky, there’s some seriously amazing beer too.
West Sixth Brewing Company brews an American Wild Ale called Sixfold that’s seen a lot of iterations over the years. Sixfold XII takes a Belgian style of sour beer and executes it excellently. The Brett yeast strains are allowed to coax out a nice medley of citrusy grapefruits, oranges, and lemons with some late summer peaches before a serious sourness and haystack funk kick in. It’s like Belgium in Kentucky!
LOUISIANA — ALL MY TOMORROWS
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Fresh All My Tomorrows drops Thursday in the tasting room and ships out to all Louisiana and Arkansas markets early next week. We doubled down on the Mosaic dry hop with this batch because if a little bit of Mosaic is good (and believe us, it is), then twice as much is even better.
More wet heat means more sour and refreshing beers are in order in Louisiana. And Great Raft Brewing has a Saison that’ll do the trick.
All My Tomorrows is a classic Belgian Farmhouse Ale that uses a lot of rye and American mosaic hops. These add an earthy, straw dimension to the beer. The hops also bring out a nice tart citrus and floral notes, without overdoing the bitterness. That’s followed by a sourness and a nice dry finish thanks to the yeasts. It’ll go down easy and leave you asking for more.
MISSISSIPPI — SUZY SMASH
Mississippi has a fair few breweries spread across the state, but it still ranks 51st per capita in America. That means the pickings are a little slimmer here. So we’re going with a cool little brewery in Hattiesburg for our pick.
Southern Prohibition Brewing’s American Blonde Ale Suzy Smash is a hoppy and satisfying brew (although Suzy B may be easier to find at the moment). The Amarillo hops give this beer a strong lemon and grapefruit citrus edge that’s hinged on a nice tropical fruit sweetness and a hint of pine, with the maltiness still lingering in the backend. At five percent ABV, this is an easy beer to drink on a lounge-y Mississippi day.
NORTH CAROLINA — ANGEL OF DARKNESS
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Have to give props to my dude @mikefromnashville for hooking me up with this bottle. This is #angelofdarkness by @wickedweedbrewing. Nose: the darkest berry jam with soaked wood chips. So much complexity it's hard to even describe all the aromas in a single post. Taste: everything I love about wickedweed in a bottle. Tartness is kept low, dark fruit jam is in abundance, underlying wood tannins and enough dryness leaving you wanting another sip. You would never know this was 10.5%. Just another reason why wickedweed is in my top 5 breweries. If you celebrate Easter I Hope you had a great holiday weekend!
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Asheville, North Carolina which has the most breweries per capita of any place in the USA. With that in mind, picking a best beer is going to ruffle feathers, no matter which one we pick… so we may as well ruffle away.
Wicked Weed Brewing’s American Wild Ale Angel of Darkness is a sour beer with a massive amount of fruit built right in. The brewers add one-and-a-half pounds of boysenberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cherries to every gallon of this sour and put it into a sherry cask for 14 months of aging. Then they pull it out, add in the same amount of fruit again, before finishing the beer for two months in steel tanks. The power of the dark fruit adds a perfect tartness to the sour barnyard funk from the yeasts.
Take into account the eleven percent ABV, and you’ve got a heavy hitting beer that’s deeply satisfying.
SOUTH CAROLINA — GOSE
South Carolina is another state that’s brimming with breweries, beaches, and hot summer days just begging for a refreshing beer to quench that thirst.
Westbrook Brewing Co.’s Gose is the beer for that day on the beach in South Carolina. The sour wheat beer stays in the session beer area, with a low four percent ABV, making it very drinkable for the whole day. The sour is expertly accented by salt, coriander, and a hint of pear. Beware, this one will make you pucker in its effervescence.
TENNESSEE — SUE
The Great Smoky Mountains calls for a great smokey beer. Yazoo Brewing Company’s Baltic Porter fits that bill.
Sue’s brewers smoke their barley with cherrywood to harness the wonderful power of smoke. The porter draws out a deep coffee, cacao, and toffee with the slightest hints of tobacco and brown bread straight out of the can. This is a big beer that comes at a 7.5 percent ABV off the tap around Tennessee, but keep your eye open for the bottled version which clocks in at a nice nine percent ABV. Many will argue that the bottled version is the better of the two.
VIRGINIA — MIND THE HOP
You knew there’d have to be an American Double IPA in here at some point. The hop gods would be mad otherwise. And Virginia makes a pretty fine one to highlight.
Aslin Beer Company’s Mind The Hop uses Citra hops to create a cornucopia of florals and tropical fruits. The bitter hoppiness balances the slight maltiness, giving this one a surprisingly even-handed flavor. Overall, this a well-wrought beer that does the style justice without trying to prove it can overload hops.
WEST VIRGINIA — ZONA’S REVENGE
West Virginia has plenty of valleys that hide little gems of breweries across the state. One such gem is Greenbrier Valley Brewing Co. and their summer Witbier.
Zona’s Revenge is Greenbrier’s next iteration of their Lilly Dipper witbier. This one has a nice hazy body due to all that wheat, which gives an easy orange and lemon edge followed by a hint of spice under the wheaty malt. Overall, it’s a great beer for a summer spent exploring those West Virginian hills and valleys.