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. And we’re starting with the best beers from the Northeastern Region. Cheers!
CONNECTICUT — G-BOT DOUBLE IPA
We’re starting in Connecticut, a small state with over 30 breweries to choose from. Alas, picking one to rule them all is the name of the game and we’re going with New England Brewing Co.’s G-Bot Double IPA.
This is a top rated beer that goes heavy on the hops to create a well-rounded (but powerful) India Pale Ale. Coming in with an 8.8 percent ABV and a whopping 85 IBU (International Bitterness Units), this one’s going to get you buzzed while bringing a good pucker to your lips. Still, this isn’t stunt brew: Expect a nice, earthy nose that leans into those piney hops. Under that, you’ll get a good hit of lemony citrus and peach, masking the high ABV.
DELAWARE — WORLD WIDE STOUT
No matter where you are in Delaware, you’re never more than 90 minutes from the famed godfather of craft beer, Dogfish Head. So, it seemed inevitable that one of their beers would get the nod as the best in Delaware. And while their 90 Minute IPA is a great beer, we’re going another direction.
First, you’re going to need to make sure your phone has enough battery to order a Lyft. Next, order Dogfish Head’s World Wide Stout. This Imperial Stout hits you with a massive 18 percent ABV … on average. An aged bottle could easily be closer to 20 percent. That’s exceeding sherry and vermouth territory. This beer is brewed with “a massive amount of barley” and has a deep roasted coffee, cacao, licorice, and dark berry complexity with caramel/vanilla hints at the end.
It’s dark, complex, and it will knock you on your ass if you’re not careful.
MAINE — LUNCH
In a state with upwards of 90 breweries, it’s hard to pick one and feel like you’re being fair. But that’s not going to stop us now. Maine Beer Company’s American IPA, called simply ‘Lunch’ is the winner here.
Lunch is a surprisingly well-balanced IPA that takes the west coast style and gives it an east coast spin. The forwardness of the hops allows the lemony citrus, pine, and tropical fruits to shine. What’s lovely about this beer is the ever so slight maltiness that brings a distinct sweetness, giving the beer a wonderful balance. Eat it with some Whoopie pie and you’re living that local life.
MARYLAND — GOSE GONE WILD
Maryland is another small(ish) state with a lot to offer — from the Appalachian Mountains right down to Chesapeake Bay. Still, one beer really does stand above the rest for being both a unique and almost extinct German style (and also for just being so incredibly well made).
Stillwater Artisanal’s Gose Gone Wild is a monster of a beer. The style, from Leipzig, is the bastard cousin of the Berliner Weisse that didn’t really survive the Bavarian reign of the Rheinheitsgebot. This relative unknown was revived recently and has a whole new life — with Stillwater Artisanal’s riff offering a stellar example. The wheat beer is infused with brettanomyces (wild yeast from fruit skins) and three hits of hops to create a sour, lemon and orange citrus beer that brings the funk while still going down almost too easily.
MASSACHUSETTS — JULIUS
Some of the oldest breweries in the New World were founded in Massachusetts, making this a particularly hard pick. A place with such a long history of brewing beer deserves a great beer representing it.
Tree House Brewing Company’s Julius is an American IPA that is damn near perfect and may be one of the best beers in the whole country. There are a lot of hops at work in this beer, hiding the 6.8 percent ABV and making this one very sippable. Expect fruits coming to the fore — mango, passionfruit, pineapple with a little bit of peach and orange. That’s all balanced nicely with an easy hoppy bitterness that never overwhelms. It’s kinda like sunshine in a can.
NEW HAMPSHIRE — SMUTTYNOSE BALTIC PORTER
New Hampshire has about two dozen local breweries, with no shortage of standouts. Our pick is Smuttynose Brewing Company‘s Baltic Porter — a style that’s hard to find stateside but quickly gaining popularity.
Smuttynose Baltic Porter is classic sea-faring beer. In Baltic Porters the ABVs would be amped up to keep sailors (and pirates) going on long journeys across the Baltic Seas and around the globe. Smuttynose keeps this tradition alive by brewing a beer that ranges from eight to nine percent ABV, depending on the year of bottling. Expect a dark pour with strong hints of roasted coffee, caramel, cacao, and licorice.
This is a very smooth beer that leaves the bitterness behind and replaces it with a creamy dank roasted maltiness.
NEW JERSEY — SUNDAY BRUNCH
New Jersey brews a lot of beer. They’re home to an Anheuser-Busch macro operation that pumps out 10 million barrels a year. But we’re not here for those beers today. Instead, we’re here for a small brewery that produces only 1,000 barrels a year.
Kane Brewing Company’s Sunday Brunch pairs pretty well with, well, brunch. This American Porter — which used to be called Morning Bell — is a powerhouse beer for breakfast, with a 9.2 percent ABV. The dark beer features a strong balance of maple syrup, cinnamon, and dark roasted coffee, all highlighting a smooth maltiness. Grab a bottle and head for a Waffle House — good times will ensue.
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Sunday Brunch, our 9.2% Imperial Milk Porter with @rookcoffee, Cinnamon and Maple Syrup will be released today at the brewery starting at 12pm. They are $15 a bottle (plus tax) / 6 bottle limit per person. We have over 4,000 bottles—it was one of our largest runs of bottles yet. If you are coming for bottles please come around to the back of the brewery and use that door. See you at noon.
NEW YORK — DOUBLE MOSAIC DREAM
With New York City, the Hudson Valley, upstate, and the Great Lakes all being repped inside New York state lines, there’s a lot of beer to choose from. But we have to go with a great American Double IPA with a cool hopping process and a can with some fresh artwork: Other Half Brewing Co.’s Double Dry Hopped Double Mosaic Dream.
This beer uses mosaic lupulin powder on the second dry hopping. That’s a powder that strips all the plant matter from the hop and leaves behind the extract and essence of the hop. That means a huge hop profile comes through in grapefruit, lemon, orange, pineapple, and peach with some seriously dank notes. Still, this manages to be a smooth beer, considering the ABV of 8.5 percent.
PENNSYLVANIA — TRÖEGS NUGGET NECTAR
Pennsylvania is home to well over 100 breweries, including the much beloved (and recently controversial) Yuengling. Based solely on flavor, not politics, we went a different direction. Tröegs Brewing Company’s Nugget Nectar is a Red Ale with a double punch of alcohol and hops. The 7.5 percent ABV hides well under layer after layer of hop. Expect a nice caramel and toasted maltiness to be followed by a big hit of lemon and orange citrus. This is all deftly balanced with notes of pine resin.
It’s an almost perfect balance of toffee malts and piney hops.
RHODE ISLAND — DERIVATIVE: GALAXY
Rhode Island is small. There’s no arguing that. So we picked a big beer with a big name to rep the state.
Proclamation Ale Company’s Derivative: Galaxy is an American Pale Ale that has a lot of hops, including the passion fruity Galaxy hop. This beer leans away from the pine notes and instead embraces tropical fruits, orange citrus, and a spicy peppercorn and allspice berry flavor profile. That’s all balanced with a malt that offers an almost honey sweetness and softness. It’s an absolute standout amongst the APAs.
VERMONT — HEADY TOPPER
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I have taken some great pics of #headytopper over the years but sometimes I just rush a pic because I really just wanna drink it. Didn't get a great photo here but it didn't affect the taste. #craftbeer #beerporn #beer #heady #thealchemist #alchemist #vermont #vermontcraftbeer #vtcraftbeer #IIPA #DIPA #2XIPA #imperial #IPA
We started with an American Double IPA and we’re ending with one. The one beer you need to try when you go to Vermont and our last beer for this region is… DRUMROLL… The Alchemist Brewery’s Heady Tripper.
Heady Tripper is a world class beer and arguably one of the better beers being brewed in America right now. This eight percenter hits a weighty 75 IBUS. But the beer really earned its reputation by balancing sharp hoppiness with smooth maltiness. The citrus of the hops are accented nicely by a full pine resin taste that’s offset with a sweet, almost treacle maltiness. This beer is widely loved and lives up to the hype.