Life

The Best Beers Of 2020

Here’s a weird sentence to start a “best of” list with: The best beer of 2020 probably isn’t on this list. There are over 8,000 breweries in the United States alone. The European Union (comprised of 27 of the 51 countries on that continent) has another 10,000 breweries. Plus there are robust brewing scenes in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Israel, South Africa, Australia … you get it.

If anyone claims they can name the “best” beers of 2020 with any sort of certainty, they’re lying. Period.

So, why are we here?

Well, we do drink a lot of beer around these parts. And while there’s no chance we got all of the best beers of the year, we have faith we nailed some of them. Most of our selections are brand new drops, brewed for the first time in 2020. In other cases, our picks are this year’s iteration of classic brew. Since beer is rarely expensive, the only real metric was taste, which, we know, is subjective. (Though a palate is something you can develop and expertise is a real thing!)

The list below is broken into two sections. The first 15 picks are from Uproxx Head Drinks Writer Zach Johnston (me) and lean heavily into Belgian and German brews, mostly because I live in Europe. The second 15 picks are from Senior Drinks Writer Chris Osburn, and focus on American craft brewing, both because he lives in the U.S. and because he has a passion for those beers.

We made sure to find a place where you can buy most of these bottles (linked), but remember, the search is half the fun. When in doubt, or if COVID conditions don’t permit you traversing the countryside to search for beer, we reccomend supporting your local brewers and bottle shops!

Zach’s Picks

Cantillon Fou’ Foune 2020

Brasserie Cantillon

Style: Fruited Lambic
ABV: 6%
Average Price: $35.99, 750ml bottle

The Beer:

Brussel’s famed Cantillon has become one of the most coveted beers in the world. It was a brewery that legions of beer fans were willing to travel for before 2020. Even if you can’t get there, you can still enjoy their beers. This year’s Fou’ Foune (apricot infused) release was a stellar example of why someone would want to travel so far to drink a beer at its source.

Tasting Notes:

300 grams of Bergeron apricots are infused into every liter of lambic to make this brew, creating a real sense of stone fruit from the first sniff. There’s a gentle balance of creamy sours, tart edges, and a well-rounded apricot nature. There’s a yeast-driven dryness that adds a crisp nature to all the fruit, sour, and hint of funk that works wonders on the tongue.

Bottom Line:

This is a real “ah-ha” beer. The balance of fruit and sour, combined with the body of the beer draws you in holds you tight.

3 Fonteinen Zwet.Be

3 Fonteinen

Style: English Porter
ABV: 7%
Average Price: $6.99, 12-oz. bottle

The Beer:

3 Fonteinen is world-renowned for brewing some of the best lambics and gueuze in the world. What makes this beer so special is that they’re making an old-school porter with their in-house lambic yeast. That baseline takes the style in a new direction while still holding onto the beauty of a great porter.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a ridiculous balance of creamy chocolate pudding cut with espresso beans, vanilla, and malts next to the light acidic tartness and an almost creme fraiche sour creaminess. The bitterness, choco-maltiness, and sourness mingle on the palate in harmony as the semi-dry and ever-so-lightly smoked finish leave you wanting more.

Bottom Line:

At $7 a bottle, is it worth buying a six-pack of this? Yes. This is also a great candidate to lay down in a cellar and let age for a handful of years. Drink one for NYE 2021 and another in ’22, ’23, and so on!

Cloudwater Hoppy Little Lager

Cloudwater Brewing

Style: Indian Pale Lager
ABV: 3%
Average Price: $4.69, 440ml can

The Beer:

Leaving Belgium for England, Cloudwater Brew Co. achieved a nice hit this year with a low-ABV lager that went down like a well-crafted pale ale. The three percent brew was built as a bridge between the crushable world of summer lagers and the more accentuated world of hoppy ales.

Tasting Notes:

This is fresh. There’s a lightness at play but it’s not thin. The taste drifts between bright lemon citrus, tart fruits, and floral hops and a real sense of malts lurking beneath it all. It’s crisp, tasty, and very crushable.

Bottom Line:

You’re probably not going to find this very easily outside of the U.K., EU, and New York. Still, if you do come across a can from Cloudwater, give it a shot. Their beer tends to always be dialed-in and delicious.

Prairie Artisan Ales Weekend

Prairie Ales

Style: American Imperial Stout
ABV: 13%
Average Price: $7.49, 12-oz. bottle

The Beer:

This annual summer drop from Prairie Artisan Ales out in Oklahoma is always a welcome addition to any yearly lineup. The beer is one of those imperial stouts that’s packed with sweet and bitter flavor notes that shouldn’t work but just keeps getting better year after year.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real sense of the dark chocolate malts next to toasted coconut on the nose with a hint of campfire-singed marshmallow. The palate delivers on those aromas while learning into a bespoke dark chocolate Mounds bar feel and taste, next to light coffee bitterness. It all sounds cloying but it’s somehow light, refreshing, and balanced.

Bottom Line:

This is a great beer to share, given the high ABVs. It’s also really easy to drink, making it dangerous due to those same high ABVs.

Gueuzérable Tilquin 2017/2018

Gueuzerie Tilquin

Style: Gueuze
ABV: 10%
Average Price: $38.49, 750ml bottle

The Beer:

This beer has been resting for about three years and is pouring really nicely in 2020. The brew is the blend of lambics that you get in Gueuze Tilquin à l’Ancienne that’s then dosed with fermented maple syrup from Quebec which starts the secondary fermentation in the bottle. The result is a beer that really wows.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real sense of lambic funk next to creamy sours that work with the light touch of maple. The taste carries on with that idea while adding in bushels of apples packed in wet straw, barn wood, citrus zest, nuts, slight umami forest mushrooms, and an almost maple cookie maltiness and sweetness. The body is light, slightly dry, and very sippable.

Bottom Line:

This is actually a great pairing for a big pancake brunch with plenty of bacon, sausage, mushrooms, cheese, pastry, and so on. Though, fair warning, you won’t be leaving that brunch sober.

Augustiner Bräu Maximator

Augustiner-Bräu

Style: Doppelbock
ABV: 7.5%
Average Price: $14.99, six-pack

The Beer:

The season’s batch of Maximator from the oldest brewery in Munich is another classic. The brew is a high-ABV delight that’s designed to be drunk as the snow falls and the wine gets mulled. Basically, you’re getting the refinement of an outstanding Augustiner Helles in a wintry format.

Tasting Notes:

The malts shine through with hints of dried and candied fruits, nuts, and an almost rum-molasses underbelly. Little notes of vanilla, dark berries, and, dare we say, black pepper peek in on the palate of this well-rounded sipper.

Bottom Line:

This has become a mainstay of end-of-the-year beers that seems to be getting (slightly) deeper and easier to drink recently.

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock

Brauerei Heller-Trum Schlenkerla

Style: Smoked Lager
ABV: 6.6%
Average Price: $5.49, 0.5l bottle

The Beer:

This smoked beer from Bamberg is brewed every summer so it can rest for a few months and be enjoyed “fresh” right about now. The smoky brew spends its time resting in local oak in cellars hewn from the rocky hills around the northern Bavarian town. It’s a truly special bottle of beer.

Tasting Notes:

There’s an almost perfect balance of sweet caramel malts and fatty, smoked meats akin to a pork belly. The sweetness leans into the rich toffee territory as the smoke has the thinness of a campfire in the distance. Caramelized sugars, hints of vanilla, rushes of charred oak, and a touch of bacon fat round this crushable beer out.

Bottom Line:

This is a great beer to have while you bundle up next to a fire. It’s really, really well put together and grows on you the more you drink it.

Mahr’s Bräu aU Ungespundet Naturtrüb

Mahr

Style: Lager/Kellerbier
ABV: 5.2%
Average Price: $11.49, 4-pack

The Beer:

This unfiltered lager is one of those beers that slaps no matter the season. On the first sip, it feels like the perfect summer sipper. Then as the weather turns cold, you realize it’s also an excellent beer to warm you up while still being light and crushable. In the end, it’s the mountaintop of great, all-around German beers.

Tasting Notes:

Nutty and caramel malt notes greet you, paired with a grassy sense of hops, a touch of citrus, and a hint of spice. The body of the beer is rounded with zero rough edges as the malts edge more bready than sweet and the hops take on a mild floral note leading towards a wisp of pine resin.

Bottom Line:

The word “quaff” could have an image of this beer next to it in the dictionary. It’s really hard not to drink a lot of this stuff in one sitting, especially if you’re lucky enough to get it fresh from the barrel in Bamberg.

Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus 2020

Brasserie Cantillon

Style: Fruited Lambic
ABV: 5%
Average Price: $19.80, 375ml bottle

The Beer:

Heading back to Belgium and Cantillon, we’d be remiss not to call out this year’s Rosé de Gambrinus. The brew utilizes Serbian raspberries at a ratio of 200 grams of berry to every liter of beer. The berries rest in the beer for around two or three months, imparting color and flavor into the sour lambic. Then the beer is blended with a one-year-old lambic and bottled for secondary fermentation.

Tasting Notes:

It’s interesting in that you do get raspberry up front, but it’s more a complete raspberry experience with the leaves, stems, and even a bit of the dirty roots layered into the beer. The creamy sourness and tart citrus of the beer is the perfect counterpoint to the body, tart, and sweetness of the berry, with hints of grass and minerals mingling underneath it all.

Bottom Line:

This is actually a little more interesting if you drink it young. The raspberry “experience” comes through like beams of light through stained glass on the vintage from this year. If you cellar this, that berry nature fades away, leaving more of the sour and funk of the base beer.

Schneeeule Alte

Muted Horn

Style: Berliner Weisse
ABV: 6%
Average Price: $47.50, three 750ml bottles (EU only)

The Beer:

Schneeeule (snow owl) is making probably the best Berliner Weisse in the world right now. The small-op craft brewery in Berlin is devoted to not only the craft of making Berliner Weisse but it’s history and preservation as the “Champagne of the North.” Their Alte release spends eight months mellowing before bottling, where it rests another five months.

The result is a touchstone of the style.

Tasting Notes:

This is like a summer breeze, thick with floating cotton and heather rolling through your senses. The sour lacto-creaminess of the style is present but dialed way back (thanks to that aging), allowing dark fruit, bright citrus, and freshly cut grass to shine through. It’s light, sharp, and deeply satisfying.

Bottom Line:

Look, you’re not going to be able to find this easily in the U.S., if at all. Still, this is a perfect example of the style and worth trying one day, even if just at a tasting.

Evil Twin Brewing and Westbrook Brewing OFYMD Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

Evil Twin Brewing

Style: American Imperial Stout
ABV: 12.8%
Average Price: $32.99, four-pack

The Beer:

This collab beer is built to marry fruity rum with savory coconut desserts. It’s another beer that sounds like it’s going to be overwrought, with too much going on. Yet here we are.

Tasting Notes:

The keyword here is “balance.” Dark chocolate covered salted caramels balance with bourbon vanilla, maple syrup, charred wood, bitter espresso beans, and a hint of toasted coconut. Those notes carry on into the taste with an almost fatty bread with salted butter, charred pineapple, and fatty chili spice not unlike dried chorizo.

We know, it sounds like a lot but it all just works.

Bottom Line:

This is one of those beers that stick in your memory and keeps calling you back. It’s also a great beer to share given the ABVs are on par with red wine.

Upslope Hazy IPA

Upslope

Style: NEIPA
ABV: 6.6%
Average Price: $9.99, six-pack

The Beer:

Upslope just announced that this much-beloved beer is moving from their seasonal line-up to a year-round release starting this month (December 2020). The new release is the product of years of tinkering to get the formula just right, creating a hazy IPA that’s uniquely Colorado in nature.

Tasting Notes:

The nose marries tropical fruits with dark rushes of orange oils and pine resin. The taste leans into stonefruits as the resins calm down to a mild hoppy bitterness that’s underpinned by a slight caramel maltiness. There’s real lightness at play in both texture and feel as the tropical fruit, oils, resins, and malts interplay on the palate.

Bottom Line:

For now, this has a small regional distribution through the Rockies and Southwest. But given it becoming a year-round release, expect to see it on more specialty shelves in 2021.

Alaskan Limited Edition 2020 Smoked Porter

Alaskan Brewing

Style: Smoked Porter
ABV: 6.5%
Average Price: $9.84, 22-oz. bottle

The Beer:

This yearly limited release from Alaskan Brewing continues to wow both as a new release and a solid beer to age. The beer is an homage to the smoked beers of Bamberg (see above). Alaskan uses Alderwood to smoke its malts before brewing with Alaskan glacial water and Pacific Northwest malts and hops.

Tasting Notes:

Notes of bacon, campfires, roasted marshmallows, hot dogs on sticks, and damp wool blankets greet you. The molasses sweetness of the smoky malts balances wonderfully with the fatty bacon and bitter, ashen notes, all of which are accented by a smoked gouda creaminess and nuttiness.

Bottom Line:

Get a six-pack. Drink one this year. Then drink one every year for the next five years to see how this beer ages and blooms into something new and different.

Elysian Contact Haze

Elysian Brewing Company

Style: NEIPA
ABV: 6%
Average Price: $11.99, six-pack

The Beer:

This new beer from Elysian is all about the hops, sure. But the beauty of this beer is how it makes an otherwise overly-hopped and overly-juicy category of beer accessible to the average beer drinker. This beer is all about the classic hazy attributes while keeping them squarely in the “mild” lane.

Tasting Notes:

You’re greeted with the familiar citrus and tropical fruit but then those notes veer towards red berries, tart berries, and caramel malts. The taste dials-in the tropicals to passion fruits and guava while still holding onto those dark berries and a pine resin hopiness that undercuts the whole thing with a refreshing edge.

Bottom Line:

Look, NEIPAs can be and often are overdone and overblown. This brings all the nuance that’s often lost to a hazy juicy bomb and adds in some new notes and depth.

Guinness Imperial Stout Aged In Bourbon Barrels

Guinness

Style: American Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.3%
Average Price: $19.99, four-pack

The Beer:

Have you ever wondered what Guinness would taste like if it was aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels? Thanks to the Guinness team in Baltimore, we have that answer and it’s surprisingly a good one.

Tasting Notes:

The bourbon comes through via vanilla and oak with dried fruits and Christmas spices dancing in the dark brew. Dark cacao, almonds, caramel, and toasted coconut mingle on the palate, creating an almost crafty chocolate shop Almond Joy underneath the bitterness and creaminess Guinness is known for.

Bottom Line:

Upon hearing about this release this year, there was a bit of “if it ain’t broke…” sentiment. That disappeared as soon as this beer hit our lips. It’s Guinness means bourbon. What more could you want in life?

Chris’ Picks

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger 1985

New Belgium

Style: NEIPA
ABV: 6.7%
Average Price: $10.99, six-pack

The Beer:

You’ve probably heard about New Belgium’s well-known Voodoo Ranger IPA and all of its many incarnations. This summer, the brand dropped a throwback brew that appealed to fans of 80s nostalgia who have a taste for contemporary, hazy brews. New Belgium Voodoo Ranger 1985 pays homage to the year that brought us Back to the Future and Teen Wolf (it was a banner year for Michael J. Fox) with a boatload of Citra and Simcoe hops and tons of juicy tropical fruit flavors.

Tasting Notes:

This highly crushable, sweet, borderline nectar-like beer is filled with fresh, citrus, and floral hop flavors and juicy mango, guava, and pineapple flavors.

Bottom Line:

This juicy, hazy, flavorful beer is perfectly suited to be paired with a snap bracelet and a viewing of The Goonies.

Springdale Kölsch Money

Springdale Beer

Style: Kölsch
ABV: 4.8%
Average Price: $12.99, four-pack

The Beer:

Jack’s Abby’s off-shoot Springdale is consistently cranking out amazing, high-quality beers. One of its best of the year is Kölsch Money. Kölsch was created to pay tribute to the brewers of Cologne (or Köln), Germany, who dared make another beer to rival the lagers everyone else was making hundreds of years ago. The style is still made today, and this crisp, low-ABV Kolsch is a great American version of the German staple.

Tasting Notes:

This sessionable Kolsch is light, fresh, very crisp, and filled with flavors like baked bread, dry grapes, and astringent citrus.

Bottom Line:

This is a truly special beer. It’s so light, refreshing, and effervescent that it appeals to wine and beer drinkers alike. It’s a great summer beer but is perfect for any time of year.

Firestone Walker Chocolate Cherry Stout

Firestone Walker

Style: American Stout
ABV: 5.5%
Average Price: $10.99, six-pack

The Beer:

This limited-release stout from the folks at Firestone Walker is indulgent, sweet, rich, and somehow not too high in alcohol. While we’ll rarely turn down a barrel-aged stout, we don’t need to drink four 12 percent ABV beers. This stout was brewed with cherries and cocoa nibs to give it a unique, sweet, and malty flavor perfect for wintertime.

Tasting Notes:

You might be concerned that a cherry and chocolate stout would be a little… overpowering. Well, the sweet cherry flavor is subtle and pleasing and it melds perfectly with the rich dark chocolate and roasted malt flavors.

Bottom Line:

Launched this fall, this brew is the perfect winter warmer without being ridiculously high in alcohol content. Don’t feel bad if you crush a few cans of this tasty brew.

Pure West

Pure Brewing

Style: American IPA
ABV: 6.5%
Average Price: $19, four-pack

The Beer:

This tribute to the West Coast IPA is made with hand-selected Mosaic, Simcoe, and Nelson hops. It’s fresh, unfiltered, and has a great sweetness to bitter ratio. Unlike many famous West Coast IPAs, this one isn’t a bitter bomb.

Tasting Notes:

The trio of hops creates a nice kick of resinous, citrus flavor that moves into tropical flavors like pineapple and grapefruit before ending in a nice crisp, refreshing finish.

Bottom Line:

It has the bitterness of a West Coast IPA, but it’s not in your face and should appeal to IPA fans who normally stray away from the bitterest of all the big IPA styles.

Brewery Ommegang Idyll Days

Brewery Ommegang

Style: Pale Lager
ABV: 5%
Average Price: $9.99, four-pack

The Beer:

Ommegang is a unique brewery. It’s located near the quaint town of Cooperstown, New York (home to the Baseball Hall of Fame), but it looks like it belongs in the Belgian countryside. Even the beer tastes like it was shipped in from Europe. One of its best, new offerings is Idyll Days, an unfiltered, Belgian-style pilsner made with floor-malted Czech barley and fermented with Belgian lager yeast before being cellared.

Tasting Notes:

This hazy, light, delicate brew is a nice mix of sweet grains, honey, subtle yeast, and crisp hops. It’s low in alcohol, soft, and refreshing.

Bottom Line:

This unfiltered offering is well suited for the hazy summer days at the end of August, but it’s clean and fresh enough to enjoy all year long.

Jack’s Abby Shipping Out of Boston

Jack

Style: Amber Lager
ABV: 5.3%
Average Price: $11.70, six-pack

The Beer:

Jack’s Abby makes lagers and it makes them well. One of its 2020 releases was Shipping Out of Boston, an amber lager made to pay tribute to the city of Boston’s history of manufacturing. It’s a great combination of German specialty malts and resinous hops.

Tasting Notes:

Similar to a kellerbier, this German-style lager is malty, refreshing, and has flavors of sweet, rich caramel, dried fruits, and just a hint of bitter, floral hops.

Bottom Line:

As long as you’re not a Yankees fan, this should be enjoyed while you gaze lovingly at a photo of Nomar Garciaparra while eating clam chowder.

Allagash Cross Path

Allagash

Style: Belgian Pale Ale
ABV: 5.5%
Average Price: $12.99, four-pack

The Beer:

This beer was brewed to highlight the varied organic grains available in Allagash’s home state of Maine. It’s the iconic brewery’s first-ever certified organic beer and collaboration with organic oats manufacturer GrandyOats. It’s a Belgian-style golden ale brewed using buckwheat, base malt, hops, and granola.

Tasting Notes:

This unique beer has a ton of sweet, granola flavor up front that works its way into the banana and clove flavors of Belgian yeast. But that’s not all. This brew ends with spices like nutmeg, clove, as well as spicy, bitter hops.

Bottom Line:

Whether or not you care about organic grains shouldn’t change your opinion of this yeasty, fresh beer that pairs well with smoked meats and aged cheeses.

Sierra Nevada Dankful IPA

Sierra Nevada

Style: American IPA
ABV: 7.4%
Average Price: $11.99, six-pack

The Beer:

What are you “dankful” for this year?

Well, we’re thankful for this piney, subtly bitter, refreshing West Coast IPA. On top of it being a great beer, it was created to supports nonprofit organizations fighting for social equality, economic sustainability, and the environment.

Tasting Notes:

Sierra Nevada knows how to make a great IPA and this West Coast IPA is no different. It has a nice mix of sweet malts, flavorful ale yeast, and a cacophony of subtly bitter, floral, resinous hops (Columbus, Chinook, Mosaic, Ekuanot, Nelson Sauvin, Zappa, and Idaho 7).

Bottom Line:

This is a great, hoppy, refreshing brew and you can feel even better enjoying it because of the non-profits it supports.

Rogue Newport Daze

Rogue Ales

Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.5%
Average Price: $12.58, six-pack

The Beer:

This hazy pale ale is the other side of the coin that also includes Newport Nights (a 9.8 percent West Coast Imperial IPA). It was created to be a beer to drink at the beach (hence the image on the can). It’s hazy, light, fruity, and perfect for hot days in the sun.

Tasting Notes:

This hazy, fresh brew is filled with juicy tropical flavors like peach, pineapple, and mango. It also features a nice, subtly bitter, floral hop presence perfectly suited for a day at the beach.

Bottom Line:

While this hoppy, juicy, hazy beer was crafted to be the perfect accompaniment to a day at the beach, it’s also a great respite from darker stouts and porters during the winter months.

Founders KBS Maple Mackinac Fudge

Founders

Style: American Imperial Stout
ABV: 11%
Price: $23.99, four-pack

The Beer:

If you’re a fan of barrel-aged beers, you’ve probably enjoyed a pint or two of Founders beloved Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Last year, the brand upped the ante by dropping KBS Espresso, and this year the world was given the indulgently-named KBS Maple Mackinac Fudge. Using real Mackinac fudge and maple syrup, this is like a wintry dessert in a glass.

Tasting Notes:

If you enjoy flavors like rich, dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, buttery fudge, and pure maple syrup then this is the beer of your dreams.

Bottom Line:

This stout isn’t for everyone and that’s not such a bad thing. If you prefer your beer to taste more like corn-filled fizzy water, keep on walking.

Tröegs Haze Charmer

Troegs

Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.5%
Price: $11.99, six-pack

The Beer:

This hazy pale ale took more than six months in the Hershey, Pennsylvania brewery’s small-batch Scratch Brewhouse to perfect. This hazy pale ale was brewed with pale malt, malted wheat, raw wheat, oats, and honey malt as well as Citra, Lotus and El Dorado hops.

Tasting Notes:

This is a truly well-rounded beer. It starts with subtle resinous pine flavors that meld with dry-hopped flavors of peaches, grapefruit, and mango and ends with a crisp, subtly bitter flourish.

Bottom Line:

If you can find a six-pack, buy it. Even if you’re not a fan of hazy beers, you’ll love this crushable, juicy, overall thirst-quenching brew.

Harpoon Midnight in Manhattan

Harpoon Brewing

Style: American Brown Ale
ABV: 8%
Average Price: $19.79, four-pack

The Beer:

In May, Boston’s Harpoon Brewery collaborated with New York’s famed Kings County Distillery to create a limited-edition beer that bridges the gap between whiskey and beer. It’s called Midnight in Manhattan and it’s pretty much a Manhattan cocktail in beer form. The flavor of the iconic mixed drink is created with a brown ale base with chestnuts and tart cherries before being aged in bourbon and rye barrels.

Tasting Notes:

When you first see that this beer tastes like a Manhattan, you might think that it would be overpowering. It definitely isn’t. It has the usual, warming whiskey flavor you expect from barrel-aged beers along with hints of sweet cinnamon, velvety caramel, and charred oak.

Bottom Line:

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to find any of this limited-edition beer, but let’s hope the folks at Harpoon and Kings County (or another distillery) team up again to make another cocktail-inspired beer. How about a boulevardier or mint julep next?

Bell’s Light Hearted Ale

Bell

Style: American IPA
ABV: 3.7%
Average Price: $21.99, 12-pack

The Beer:

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is one of the most acclaimed IPAs in America. Playing on that beer’s success, the Michigan-based brewery launched a low-calorie, low-alcohol, light version this year. While technically a light beer, this hoppy brew (Centennial and Galaxy hops are used) is high in flavor.

Tasting Notes:

This easy-drinking, low-guilt beer arrived to lead the way in the new world of light beers with its well-rounded citrus and floral hints and refreshing, thirst-quenching flavors.

Bottom Line:

Instead of drinking the macro-brewed light beer that every commercial tells you to drink while you watch football, grab a sixer of this light IPA, and enjoy all the flavor without the alcohol content or calories.

Jester King Terpy Galaxy

Jester King

Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.1%
Average Price: Check availability with the brewery

The Beer:

This brewing swap with American Solera in Tulsa, Oklahoma consisted of Jester King brewing this double IPA and American Solera brewing Jester King’s O.G. Black Metal Imperial Stout at their brewery. Made using local malted barley, oats, and wheat as well as dry-hopped Galaxy hops, this is a great beer for fans of hops and collaborations.

Tasting Notes:

This single hop brew is filled with lemon and grapefruit flavors as well as the piney, resinous flavor you expect from Galaxy hops. It has a nice amount of sweetness and malts to make the hop presence not overwhelming.

Bottom Line:

Good luck finding this limited-edition beer. Hopefully, this recipe swap and others across the country will continue well after the end of the COVID pandemic.

Urban South Snoball Juice

Urban South

Style: NEIPA
ABV: 7%
Average Price: $11.34, four-pack

The Beer:

This hazy, juicy IPA from Louisiana’s Urban South Brewery is hopped to the heavens with five pounds of Idaho 7, Vic Secret, El Dorado, and Citra hops. It’s spawned alternative versions including Tiger Blood and Coconut Cream.

Tasting Notes:

Juice, hazy, sweet, citrus, floral, these are just a few of the flavors you’ll find with this complicated, complex beer. Hints of grapefruit, mango, guava, and juicy peach are at the forefront with a nice kick of subtly bitter hops at the end.

Bottom Line:

This taproom favorite was rolled out as a yearly release this year. You still might have to travel to get your hands on some or have a kind friend in Louisiana mail you some.

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