The One Beer You Should Drink in Every State

Deal Expert, Chicago
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In addition to being a Deal Expert, I’m also the Chicago office’s resident Beer Expert (I know, rough gig, right?) and have traveled literally coast to coast for beer. From bars like Churchkey in DC and the Ginger Man in New York all the way over to the Monk’s Kettle in SF and Golden Road Brewing in LA, craft beer is a little like Pokemon these days – gotta catch ‘em all (responsibly, of course).

I know not everyone hits the road specifically for IPAs, pilsners, pale ales and stouts like I do — ask my wife how many weird industrial areas I’ve dragged her through to find yet another brewery. But with the explosion of local breweries nationwide, you should be able to find something great to drink wherever you are in the country.

Alabama: Good People Brewing’s Snake Handler
Alaska: It’s cold here. Drink something big, like Midnight Sun’s Berzerker RIS.
Arizona: Arizona Wilderness’ Refuge IPA.
Arkansas: Ozark Beer Company’s American Pale Ale
California: Russian River’s Pliny the Elder or Younger. Basically a couple of the world’s best.
Colorado: There’s so much beer here, even the Governor is a brewer. I drink Odells.
Connecticut: New England Fuzzy Baby Ducks IPA for the name alone.
Delaware: It’s not a big state – go to Dogfish Head and get anything that’s fresh.
D.C.: Go to Bluejacket and do the exact same thing.
Florida: Cigar City’s Jai Alai
Georgia: Any stout from Terrapin with “Wake n Bake” on the label.
Hawaii: Don’t do anything challenging here – Kona’s Longboard Lager.
Idaho: Grand Teton Snarling Badger.
Illinois: Others will insist you track down Bourbon County Stout – I’d say just drink a Half Acre Daisy Cutter.
Indiana: I’m going to skip Three Floyds as I’m guessing you’re in Indianapolis — get a Sun King.
Iowa: One of the nation’s top breweries is in Iowa – find anything from Toppling Goliath.
Kansas: Free State’s Copperhead Pale Ale
Kentucky: Anything from Against The Grain. Find the Citra Ass Down.
Louisiana: Skip Abita, get one of Bayou Teche’s LA-31 series.
Maine: Maine Beer Company’s Lunch.
Maryland: Stillwater, your choice.
Massachusetts: Tree House Good Morning
Michigan: Founders and Bells you can get all over. Drink Short’s – it’s only in Michigan.
Minnesota: Surly Coffee Bender
Mississippi: Lazy Magnolia’s Southern Pecan
Missouri: Anything you can get your hands on from Perennial or Side Project.
Montana: Big Sky’s Cowboy Moose Drool
Nebraska: Not many options here, but anything from Nebraska Brewing Company
Nevada: Tenaya Creek Ol’ Jackalope
New Hampshire: Smuttynose Porter
New Jersey: One of Flying Fish’s Exit series, preferably near the turnpike.
New Mexico: Santa Fe Brewing’s Imperial Java Stout
New York: Anything Evil Twin is pouring at Torst
North Carolina: Hop Drop n’ Roll from NoDa Brewing Company
North Dakota: Fargo Wood Chipper, for obvious reasons.
Ohio: Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold
Oklahoma: Anything from Prairie, they’re all great.
Oregon: You’re probably in Portland – stick out your arm, you’ll hit a brewery. Hard to go wrong.
Pennsylvania: Troegs Nugget Nectar
Rhode Island: Revival’s Saison
South Carolina: Westbrook’s, Mexican Cake series.
South Dakota: Crow Peak’s Pile O Dirt Porter.
Tennessee: You’re in Nashville – Yazoo’s Dos Perros. Or you’re in Memphis? Yazoo’s Dos Perros.
Texas: Skip Shiner. Find anything from Jester King.
Utah: Epic’s Imperial IPA
Vermont: The Alchemist’s Heady Topper (if you can find it).
Virginia: Alewerks Bitter Valentine
Washington: Elysian Dragonstooth Stout
West Virginia: Bridge Brew Works Hellbender IPA
Wisconsin: New Glarus Spotted Cow, all day long.
Wyoming: Just because I like the name to close out this list, Snake River’s Zonker Stout.

Editor’s Note: This list was updated to include the Alchemist, which is the correct brewery for Vermont.

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Show 12 Comments
  • Bob Harris

    Please check your choice for Vermont before you post this crap. Have a bit of professional pride.

    • Kenny C

      He actually NAILED Vermont’s choice . Heady is one of the top ten highest ranked imperial IPAs in the world.

      • Troy Waterman

        What was the beer representing Vermont before the update? Heady is great, personally I like Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine better.

  • Richard Sirmons

    umm… Who is making this decision. All Jester King beers are sours. I know about 1 person who actually enjoys a sour beer. Your way off base if you think Jester King is the best Texas has to offer.. Have you ever tried Independence Brewing? Thirsty Planet? St. Arnolds.. so many waaay better beers than Jester King!

    • Kenny C

      Clearly you don’t know too much about Jester King ( who is quickly becoming a nationally recognized beer juggernaut) . Also, independence is the worst of Austin’s breweries imo.

      • Richard Sirmons

        I would still disagree with anyone who thinks JK is the best brewery in Tx. Texas is a big state, with alot of brewerys. I consider JK as a very niche player. Beautiful location, but after enjoying one of their beers, I typically head down to the pizza place on site and grab a Thirsty Goat. Independence would not be my top choice either, but they do have some really good beers in their lineup. Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout is fantastic. St. Arnolds actually often surprises me with the quality they produce. Rahr, South Austin, 512, Austin Beerworks, Southern Star, Deep Elum, all brew great beer. That’s just a few that came to mind, and I didn’t even scratch the surface. JK, not the best Texas beer..

    • Kenny C

      Austin Amber , one of independences’ “flagship” beers

  • Ed Allen

    Most of these seem to be trendy hipster craft-brewed hop-bombs. Where are the real American style regional beers, like Narragansett in Rhode Island, Genesee in Upstate New York, National Bohemian in Baltimore, Leinenkugel and Grain Belt in the Upper Midwest, Lone Star in Texas? I would take any of those beers over the frou-frou IPAs on this list.

  • Tom Hedge

    Such a lazy list/article

  • mbs829

    I love Free State beer, but there are tons of great beer coming out of Kansas now. Tallgrass (Manhattan) and Defiance (Hays) make great beers, better than Copperhead (Buffalo Sweat and Fuzzy Knuckles respectively). Even Free State themselves makes better beer than their own Copperhead. As far as Missouri goes, how you not even mention Boulevard Brewing is ridiculous. Tank 7, The Calling, Rye-on-Rye, Bourbon Barrel Quad, just to name a few of their great beers.

    “Nebraska: Not many options here, but anything from Nebraska Brewing Company”
    Really? Ever heard of Empyrean Brewing? Their Carpe Brewem series is fantastic, as well as the Dark Side Vanilla Porter and Fallen Star Sweet Stout.

  • smartpantz

    Dortmunder isn’t even the best beer from GLBC, much less the state of Ohio.
    And the correct listing for NC is Foothills’ Sexual Chocolate.

  • Mark L. Curtis

    “Michigan: Founders and Bells you can get all over. Drink Short’s – it’s only in Michigan.”

    This is the best you can come up with? Pretty short sighted if you ask me. #1 Shorts is no longer “only in Michigan”, they are distributing out of state now. #2 It’s nowhere near the best brewery outside of Founders & Bell’s. You want some great “in state” breweries? Try Brewery Vivant, Perrin, Jolly Pumpkin, Transient Artisan Ales, and more…