Life

Craft Beer Experts Reveal The Most Underrated Brews From Their Home States

The craft beer explosion of the past two decades has led to a ridiculous number of craft breweries popping up all over the country. We’ve mentioned it in the past, but the general estimate is around 9,000 in total. That’s up from just over 1,000 back in 2000. Meaning that there are more breweries with far more beers than even the world’s most obsessive Untappd aficionado could ever try.

So we’re all going to miss some gems. Unquestionably. Some of which are probably hiding right under our noses. That’s what this piece hopes to help remedy.

You’d be surprised at the number of established, award-winning breweries you can find in your home state, regardless of where you live. Even if you don’t abide in beer hot spots like California, Vermont, Oregon, or Colorado, there are surely dozens of breweries waiting to be discovered if not a lot more in your neck of the woods.

To prove this, we asked a few well-known brewers, beer experts, and brewing professionals to tell us the most underrated, can’t miss beers in their home states. Keep scrolling to see all of their state-centric picks.

Cooperage Curt — CALIFORNIA

Cooperage Curt
Cooperage

Mark Hughes, specialty brewing manager at Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, California

ABV: 5.8%

Average Price: $7 for a 16-ounce can

Why This Beer?

Curt from Cooperage Brewing is a single hop pale that has a classic balance with plenty of hop citrus and yeast-driven juicy complexity. Plus, the art is hilarious. It’s usually a good sign when the can is awesome too.

New Glarus Spotted Cow — WISCONSIN

New Glarus Spotted Cow
New Glarus

Ryan Tefft, assistant brewer at Sprecher Brewing Company in Glendale, Wisconsin

ABV: 4.8%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

In Wisconsin, the most popular craft beer is Spotted Cow from New Glarus. But that’s such a big thing that it sometimes overshadows some of their other great products like Fat Squirrel and Two Women. We’re fortunate to have a lot of great breweries in Wisconsin and I’m also a fan of Lakefront Brewery and others.

But if you only had to try one to really know how good Wisconsin beer can be, make it Spotted Cow from New Glarus. This farmhouse ale is masterfully crafted and still remains fairly underrated nationally.

Alstadt Lager — TEXAS

Alstadt Lager
Alstadt

Eric Warner, brewmaster at Karbach Brewing in Houston

ABV: 4.8%

Average Price: $9 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love me some good lager. Altstadt Brewery in Fredricksburg, Texas makes a great helles-style beer simply called “Lager.” It’s a little on the malty side but has the soft palate and delicate hop flavors that are the trademark of good helles. Apparently, the experts agree as this beer won the gold medal in the helles category at the Great American Beer Festival a couple of years ago.

Wild Provisions 12° — COLORADO

Wild Provisions 12°
Wild Provisions

Ryan Pachmayer, head brewer at Yak and Yeti Brewpub & Restaurant in Arvada, Colorado

ABV: 4.4%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

Wild Provisions 12° from Cohesion has been the new brewery darling over the last year in Denver, and they’ve rightfully earned it for their delicious Czech-style offerings. Wild Provisions has really dialed in their 12°. It’s a Czech pale that’s modeled after Pilsner Urquell. Drinking it on tap off of the side pull tap, it starts with a creamy head. The softened water profile is very obvious as it integrates the hop flavors extremely well. The beer is unfiltered. That gives it a very slight edge, but it’s not rough at all.

It’s very bright and still retains a smooth texture.

Timberyard Hindsight — MASSACHUSETTS

Timberyard Hindsight
Timberyard

Rob Day, senior director of marketing for Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers in Framingham, Massachusetts

ABV: 6.9%

Average Price: $15 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

Timberyard Hindsight is my pick. They’re running a really good operation out there and always just under the radar. This example is an awesome New England IPA that has a balance to it and could be the staple in any fridge. Juicy, hazy, citrus, it has it all.

Bold City Duke’s Cold Nose — FLORIDA

Bold City Duke’s Cold Nose
Bold City

Luis G. Brignoni, founder of Wynwood Brewing Co. in Miami

ABV: 5%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale from Bold City Brewery is without question the most underrated beer from Florida. It’s a fantastic brown ale, an underrated style as it is, that has flavors of chocolate, caramel, and nuts.

Cedar Springs Küsterer Original — MICHIGAN

Cedar Springs Küsterer Original
Cedar Springs

Jeremy Anderson, brewer at New Holland Brewing Co. in Holland, Michigan

ABV: 5.3%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

Any list of the best breweries in Michigan that doesn’t include Cedar Springs Brewing Company is invalid as far as I’m concerned. Their flagship weissbier, Küsterer Original, has won major awards literally around the world but still gets overlooked in the discussion of best Michigan-made beers. It’s a traditional Bavarian-style amber weissbier that balances a rich maltiness with noticeable-but-not-overpowering banana and clove aromatics. The open fermentation gives it a really nice and complex fruity ester profile.

It’s best enjoyed at the source, and pairs well with giant pretzels and Wienerschnitzel.

Dark Sky Mountains of Mosaic — ARIZONA

Dark Sky Mountains of Mosaic
Dark Sky

Pat Ware, co-owner and head of brewing ops at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. in Phoenix

ABV: 6%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

Mountains of Mosaic from Dark Sky Brewing Co. in Flagstaff, Arizona is constantly pushing the boundaries in terms of the variety — and quantity — of ingredients you can add to beer. This one is a hop bomb that’ll obliterate your tongue with Mosaic flavor — if you’re into that kind of thing.

Notch Zwickel — MASSACHUSETTS

Notch Zwickel
Notch

Mike Kelly, senior brewer at Harpoon Brewery in Boston

ABV: 4.5%

Average Price: $13 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

I’d go with Notch Brewing’s Zwickel. Notch has been turning out great session beers in Salem, Massachusetts for more than a decade. Their iteration of a zwickel has a prominent and complex malt profile that’s balanced perfectly with noble hop flavor. This unfiltered lager is easy to enjoy again and again.

Cambridge Charles River Porter — MASSACHUSETTS

Cambridge Charles River Porter
Cambridge

Dan Lipke, head brewer at Clown Shoes Beer in Boston

ABV: 6%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

Cambridge Brewing has been making world-class beers for a long time and they still push the boundaries, exploring new styles and variations. But sometimes it’s nice to have a great classic porter that’s just the same as when you had it 20 years ago. Perfectly balanced dark chocolate bitterness matched by creamy malt sweetness, yet dry enough to enjoy sip after sip, it’s like pulling your favorite flannel shirt out on that first chilly fall day.

Stone Smoked Porter — CALIFORNIA

Stone Smoked Porter
Stone

Douglas Constantiner, founder and CEO of Societe Brewing in San Diego

ABV: 5.9%

Average Price: $10 for a 22-0unce bottle

Why This Beer?

Stone Smoked Porter is such a great example of craft beer in general. Making something that is assertive for the masses is just awesome and on top of that. It’s beautifully crafted and smoky, rich, and unforgettable.

×