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Our Picks For The Single Best Beer In Every Western State


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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 Western Region. Cheers!

ALASKA — A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL

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Anchorage Brewing A Deal with the Devil – batch 1

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Alaska is a massive state that needs a massive beer repping it so we’re going with a great barleywine.

Anchorage Brewing Company’s A Deal With The Devil clocks in at a hefty 17.3 percent ABV. This sipping beer is a malty, caramel delight that’s aged for eleven months in a Cognac barrels. That aging adds an oaky and vine fruit dimension to an unarguably powerful beer.

CALIFORNIA — STS PILS

California is another state where opinions are going to run as deep as the number of breweries brewing stellar beer. We’re going with a Russian River brew, but not the lauded Pliny The Elder. While that’s amongst the greats, it’s not a beer for everyone and not something that you can drink all day and night.

Their Czech Pilsener STS Pils, on the other hand, may be one of the best lagers brewed outside the Czech Republic (or Germany). The noble hops add a nice edge of bitterness to the perfectly balanced maltiness. There is a real sense that this is what a classic pilsner should always taste like — easy, a little hoppy, and just plain fun to drink.

HAWAI’I — IMPERIAL COCONUT PORTER

We don’t automatically jump to beer when Hawai’i comes to mind. In fact, beer in this tropical wonderland may well be the last thing on someone’s mind. Bring on the Mai Tais! But there is some seriously good beer to be had, if you’re in the mood.

Maui Brewing Co.’s Imperial Coconut Porter adds a local, tropical twist on the classic American Porter style. This one tells you what you’re getting right in the name. Expect dark cacao, light coffee, coconut, and hints of vanilla. It’s perfect for chillin’ on the lanai.

IDAHO — DOUBLE VISION DOPPELBOCK

The picturesque mountains of Idaho deserve a big beer to make the state proud. And Idaho does not disappoint on that front.

Grand Teton Brewing Co.’s Doppelbock is a loving homage to the German style. The beer has a dried fruit, toffee, roasted coffee, and a figgy presence. There’s a lot of malts here giving it a smooth sweetness that’s spiced up with the shadowy presence of Liberty hops. At eight percent ABV, it’s a big, chewy beer, perfect for a life spent outdoors.

MONTANA — HEADWALL

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Here’s a fun fact, Montana is roughly the size of Germany. Germany has 81 million people. Montana has just north of one million people. Translation: There’s a lot of space in Montana to make a lot of good beer.

Tamarack Brewing Company’s American Double IPA, Headwall, is a pucker-inducing brew. They’ve managed to make a very drinkable DIPA that hits you up front with a pine resin and finishes off with sweet tropical fruits and florals. It’s refreshingly light and drinkable even at a hefty ten percent ABV.

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OREGON — THE ABYSS

Oregon has been in the micro-beer game for decades — long before anyone thought up of the marketing term “craft beer.” Deschutes Brewery is a straight up classic brewery with a deep bench of well-made beers.

Deschutes’ American Imperial Stout, The Abyss, is a world class brew. It’s aged in bourbon, Oregon oak, and Pinot Noir barrels for a year giving the beer a distinct oak and vanilla complexity. That’s accented with dark chocolate, roasted coffee, molasses, and black licorice. It’s generally accepted that these bottles age really well, so maybe look for an older vintage before popping a fresh release.

WASHINGTON — LUSH LAND

While we went with a classic in Oregon, we’re going with a brand new brewery in Washington — another state with a long history in micro-brewing.

Holy Mountain Brewing Company’s American Pale Ale crushes the style. The yellow-hued brew has a big floral nose followed by a light touch of grapefruit rind and citrus tartness from the hops. There’s a mild sweet maltiness balancing everything out and making this a super quaffable pale ale at a mild five percent ABV.

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WYOMING — ZONKER

Finally, we have our last state in our beer-deavor across America. Wyoming is another big state with a small population. And we’re going out with an excellent Foreign Stout.

Snake River Brewing Company & Brewpub’s Zonker Stout is a roasted malt bomb. The dark pour has great hits of toffee, coffee, charred wood, and the slightest hint of tobacco. If you love stout (or Guinness), give Zonker a shot. Happy beer hunting!

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