When you’ve had a long day and you’re looking for more flavor than the “big brand” beers can offer, it pays to know what the best craft beers are. The craft beer craze really started to take hold in America several years ago. Since its explosion onto the beer scene, finding the best craft beer everyone agrees on can certainly be a challenge at best. Thankfully, we did our own search, scouring reviews for the most popular choices.
And there’s good reason to get in on the craft beer revolution. Drinking beer, moderately, might just help you stay healthy. According to a recent study conducted by NOVA University in Lisbon, the hops in beer help with your gut health, making you better at staving off diseases and infections. But, beer isn’t just good for the bacteria in your stomach. Another study finds that beer can also be good for your brain. That’s right, a study found that the hops in beer are effective at preventing harmful proteins from building in your brain – a major contributor to Alzheimer’s disease. The Tettnang hop is used in many types of lagers and light ales and, according to researchers in Italy, was the most effective at preventing Alzheimer’s-causing protein buildups in your brain.
Now, that’s not to suggest you should run out and start drinking as many of your favorite craft beers as possible. But, a beer or two here and there certainly isn’t going to hurt. And, if you’re looking for all the benefits of an occasional brew with your friends and don’t want any of the pesky side effects the next day, then you’ll be glad to know that non-alcoholic beer has come a long way. Scientists at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark say they may have determined a method for making non-alcoholic beer taste like the real thing – with all the hoppy flavor you’ve come to enjoy.
But enough of the science behind one of America’s oldest adult beverages. StudyFinds did the research, combing through 10 expert reviews to find the best craft beers available. Our list is based on the most commonly recommended products across the reviews. As always, if you have some personal recommendations we didn’t cover, feel free to leave them in the comments below!
The List: Best Craft Beers, According to Experts
1. Allagash White
This craft beer routinely came up in our research, making it the clear choice for the top of our best craft beers list. Allagash White is a Belgian-style wheat beer that’s a heavy favorite amongst craft beer enthusiasts. “For a quarter-century, the Portland, Maine brewery’s Belgian-inspired witbier has been America’s standard-bearer for the style,” writes Liquor.Com. Yes, this American brewery has certainly mastered the Belgian wheat beer or witbier, as you’d say in Belgium.
But, hunting down the most unique or best craft beers to enjoy with friends wasn’t always an American tradition. “Allagash White—a beautiful Belgian-style wheat beer the Maine brewery introduced back in 1995—was the kind of true craft beer that helped open people’s minds,“ writes Food & Wine.
Helping Americans become familiar with foreign craft beer tastes is quite an accomplishment for the Portland, Maine brewery. “Now, Allagash White is one of the most beloved beers on the market among suds enthusiasts, balancing orange peel and coriander flavors with a refreshing finish,” explains Spy.
2. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale certainly remains one of the best craft beers in America, despite its mainstream popularity. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is another one of those beers that helped bring craft beers to the forefront of the American beer psyche.
“Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is truly the stuff of legends, a pioneering beer that gradually introduced American consumers to the wonders of a pleasantly bitter, clean and fresh ale that calls to mind the Western mountains of Sierra Nevada’s home,” writes Spy.
This beer is a staple on the best craft beer lists for a reason. “This humble little recipe not only helped define the signature citrusy flavor of American IPAs, but it also helped propel the now-behemoth Sierra Nevada, a brand currently worth an estimated $1 billion,” explains Craft Beer Me.
“Sierra Nevada Pale Ale began as a homebrewer’s dream, grew into an icon, and inspired countless brewers to follow a passion of their own. Its unique piney and grapefruit aromas from the use of whole-cone American hops have fascinated beer drinkers for decades and made this beer a classic,” adds Beer Connoisseur.
3. Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
If you’re looking for a true blue craft beer with a little bite to it, brewed right in the heartland of America, then Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout is what you’re looking for. “Bourbon County Brand Stout pushed the limits of what craft beer could be. Initially shunned at the Great American Beer Festival in 1995 for being ‘too strong’, it is now being lauded for igniting the spark of innovation in craft beer,” writes Craft Beer Me.
This barrel-aged stout craft beer has certainly earned the ‘Bourbon’ in its title. “Not only is it aged like bourbon, it will hit you like bourbon too—the drink has 12.9% ABV, one of the highest levels on our list. Even if it’s a bit boozier, you can still really get all the complex flavors, and you won’t miss all the notes of chocolate, vanilla, and caramel combined with the smoky charred oak. It’s incredibly rich, the kind of beer that goes best with a hefty steak dinner,” adds Rolling Stone.
Today, this stout beer is revered as a pioneer, but that wasn’t always the case. “Today, it seems like every brewery displays a stack of wooden barrels in its taproom, showing off forthcoming barrel-aged creations. But back in the ‘90s, it was unusual to barrel-age beer,” Food & Wine explains.
4. Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA
The only brewery that could justify having two of the best craft beers is Sierra Nevada. This time, it’s Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA that’s making a name for itself as a top craft beer choice among enthusiasts. “One of America’s fastest-growing IPAs is Hazy Little Thing, Sierra Nevada Brewing’s impeccable take on the hugely popular style,” explains Liquor.Com.
If you love craft beers and haven’t had a chance to try this IPA, then you’re certainly in for a treat. But, perhaps the best part of this craft beer is its simplicity. “Hazy Little Thing IPA from Sierra Nevada is as low-processed as it gets, as it comes straight from the tanks and into the can for those who like it [a] bit more au natural,” writes Rolling Stone.
Hazy Little Thing IPA offers the perfect combination of simple flavors and a smooth taste. “The aroma is a blend of tropical fruits and some whiffs of bitter pine trees. It reminds you that this is indeed a Sierra Nevada product,” writes Hop Culture. “I’d describe the mouthfeel as ‘simple’ with a touch of velvet but ultimately maybe even a little thin. Still, there’s a really pleasant citrus tea note that lingers for a bit,” Hop Culture adds.
5. Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale
Rounding out the best craft beers is Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale. This pale ale is highly touted amongst beer enthusiasts as a great way to end a long, stressful day, making it one of the top “blue-collar” craft beer choices. “Think of it as a hard-working beer for hard-working people like yourself,” writes Spy.
Yes, the amount of love that this fan favorite gets cannot be overstated, and when you hear what the beer experts have to say, it’s easy to see how Dale’s Pale Ale has a top spot as one of the best craft beers. “In 2002, Colorado’s Oskar Blues did something with a solid, but otherwise unassuming pale ale that changed craft beer forever: They put it into cans, becoming the first craft brewery to do so independently,” explains Food & Wine.
Of course, beer had been available in cans for decades before this, but that’s not the only thing Dale’s Pale Ale is known for in the craft beer community. “This voluminously hopped ‘mutha’ delivers a hoppy nose and assertive-but-balanced flavors of pale malts and citrusy floral hops from start to finish,” adds Craft Beer and Brewing.
You might also be interested in:
- Craft Beer and Brewing
- Rolling Stone
- Food & Wine
- Craft Beer Me
- Men’s Journal
- Advanced Mixology
- Hop Culture
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.