Compiling this list of the best beers in the world made us realize a few things:
1) We’ve got a bit of a man-crush on Samuel Adams so apologies in advance.
2) The true “best” really depends on what your taste buds are telling you at the time. In other words, at some point any one of these 231 could be our No. 1, save for the one non-alcoholic we included.
3) There are a LOT of beers out there in the world at large.
4) We drink way too much of them, though there’s nothing wrong with that from where we sit.
Without further ado, let’s start rattling them off before our “research” makes us forget how to type. Here goes!
[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]
231. Le Trou du Diable MacTavish In Memoriam
Le Trou du Diable MacTavish In Memoriam features a very fruity aroma with mango, citrus, and peaches. These intermingle with traces of honey and a floral distinction. Taste-wise, it’s packing more peaches along with caramel, lemon, and some bitter hops. Emanating from Canada, it carries with it a mild ABV content of just 5.0 percent.
230. Samuel Adams White Water IPA
With White Water IPA, Samuel Adams continues to prove they know their stuff when it comes to traditional IPAs. From the first whiff, the stone fruit and citrus aroma will lock you in. From there, a flavor that incorporates these qualities along with a strong hops character and a long, bitter finish, make it everything an IPA should be. ABV is 5.8 percent.
229. Rogue Dry Hopped Red
With a dominant resiny hops and notes of citrus, red fruit, and apricot, this beer is bold, rich, and hoppy with traces of grapefruit and toffee throughout. The finish is a lingering one. ABV: 5.2 percent.
228. Unibroue La Fin Du Monde
Another stunning selection from Unibroue of Canada. This Belgian Style Tripel pale beer has a strong spice character with yeasty esters and notes of melon, clove, lemon, pepper, and strawberry. Near the end, you’ll pick out a wheat tartness before transitioning into a dry finish. ABV is a substantial 9.0 percent.
227. Unibroue Blanche De Chambly
And while we’re talking about Unibroue, why not throw in their Blanche De Chambly wheat beer for good measure? This Belgian Style Witbier has full notes of citrus, spice, and grain, with a fragrant, floral nose. The palate includes lemon, orange peel, and coriander, heading to a bittersweet, spicy end.
226. Dama Bier Weissbier
Dama Bier Weissbier from Brazil has a low 5.0 percent ABV. With a musty aroma and flavors of caramel, citrus, resin, and chocolate, however, it has little problem announcing its presence. While tasting, you may also pick up on hints of banana and vanilla ice cream in what is ultimately a thick and frothy selection. A must-have for fans of Bavarian Hefeweiss wheat beer.
225. Ale Asylum Hopalicious
At first, Hopalicious’ breadiness can take you off guard, but once you get adjusted, this beer is a winner. The hops-induced citrusy aroma evens out eventually for a well-balanced brew. ABV is 5.5 percent.
224. Bells Two Hearted Ale
Nicely balanced formula of malt and bitter, Two Hearted Ale features a healthy dose of lemon-drop to go with its sweet body, which incorporates some caramel and flower notes into the mix. The 7.0 percent ABV was best noticed in the drink’s snappy finale.
223. Three Floyds Gumballhead
Gumballhead is brewed with red wheat and a heaping helping of amarillo hops. Specific flavor notes include pineapple, peach, and citrus, all brought together with a wheat-and-grain maltiness. Ends with a surprising lemony finish. ABV is relatively small at just 5.5 percent.
222. Tallgrass 8-Bit Pale Ale
If you remember those 8-bit video games of yore, then you know they can be very simple on the surface but get maddeningly complex as you go along. That’s sort of what 8-Bit Pale Ale does, except we doubt you’ll end up throwing any bottles against the TV screen. (Thank you, mild 5.2 percent ABV.) Aroma includes fresh citrus, cut grass, and zesty hops. Flavor notes of pine sap, resin, pepper, and lemongrass.
221. Russian River Pliny the Younger
Screw Pliny the Elder. Pliny the Younger is where it’s at. This darkly golden beer from Russian River Brewing features an aroma of pine, citrus, grapefruit and floral hops. The taste begins with heftily sweet and hoppy notes before finishing with bitter grapefruit. Also a somewhat warming experience, probably due to the double-digit alcohol content (11.0 percent ABV).
220. Allagash Interlude
Double-fermented with its own Brettanomyces yeast, this warm brew boasts fantastic red wine notes — probably because of its being aged in the same barrels as Merlots and Sirahs — and some active farmhouse flavors, including wet wood, hay and grass. Fruit-wise, there are notes of cherry, sour apple, and raisins. ABV: 9.5 percent.
219. De Dolle Oerbier
This dark brown beer from Belgium pours with a light beige head and features flavor notes of dark malt, strawberry syrup, light hops, sherry, wood, and caramel, to name a few. Finish is only mildly bitter. ABV: 9.0 percent. One of the stronger Belgian Strong Ales on this list.
218. Ballast Point Indra Kunindra
I’m obligated to include Ballast Point Indra Kunindra because it’s pretty well-loved by most of the inStash staff. For my tastes, the madras curry, cayenne pepper, cumin, and toasted coconut is a bit much. The ABV is pretty light at 7.0 percent, but boy does it have some kick!
217. Stone Ruination IPA
You would expect more alcohol content from such a strong hops — particularly when said brew boasts 8.2 percent ABV — but that’s the sinister thing about Ruination. You think you’re okay, then wham. As we mentioned, you’re going up against a lot of citrus and pine hops here with the toast and caramel sweetness pressed to the background. The finish: piny bitterness. Very nice.
216. Arrogant Bastard Ale
Stone Brewing Co. just comes out and says it: “This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth.” Challenge accepted! Arrogant Bastard is a finely balanced brew — not too sweet, not too bitter — with mushroom, dark treacle rye bread, marmalade, and grapefruit. Lots of hops with caramel malt interspersed throughout. ABV: 7.2 percent.
215. Dogfish Head World Wide Stout 2001/2003-Present (18%)
Incredibly strong beer — and to think, there’s a version with even more alcohol content than the 18 percent ABV found here — Dogfish Head’s World Wide Stout is solid. Features dry dark malts, dark fruits, and chocolate. Pours black with no head, and you can hardly taste the alcohol.
214. Founders Breakfast Stout
If you love Sumatra and Kona coffees — and you should — then you’ll appreciate this. Brewed heavy on flaked oats and both bitter and sweetened imported chocolates, this black beer is a cake-y delight, especially on cold winter days.
213. Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel
An Oatmeal stout brewed with one of the world’s most expensive coffees, this high-alcohol (10.9 percent ABV) is intoxicating even before you take the first drink. With a rich coffee aroma and a flavor built on chocolate and coffee, Mikkeller’s Geek Brunch Weasel also packs in maple syrup and caramel notes for an experience nearing perfection.
212. Sierra Nevada Ovila Quad With Plums
Caramel, rich malt, dark fruit, dominate this deeply complex brew that is balanced out with some spiciness as well as a fruity tinge of traditional Belgian yeast. Smokey finish with some plums and molasses. ABV: 10.2 percent.
211. Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier Naturtrüb
Mild wheat, cloves, and bubble gum esters dominate the nose of this uniquely flavored German beer. If you’re in to German Hefeweizen, then you’ll definitely want to try this one out. We loved the citrus and banana hints throughout. ABV: 5.5 percent.
210. Prinzregent Luitpold Weissbier Hell
This Royal Barvarian Hefeweizen has an orange-golden color with a thick white head. The aromas and flavor are both fruity with notes of orange and lemon set against a backdrop of fresh dough, light cream, and mild spice. ABV is a mild 5.5 percent, making this one quite quaffable. (NOTE: Don’t mind what the label says. Same beer, sold under different names.)
209. Löwenbräu Original
Golden with a medium white head, this classic beer in the Dortmunder/Helles style features a malty taste with a moderate balance between sweet and bitter. Aroma consists of light German hops and hay. Very simple, back porch-in-the-middle of summer sort of beer, but good nonetheless. ABV: 5.2 percent.
208. Eisenbahn Rauchbier
With Eisenbahn Rauchbier, you’ll find the dark cherry coloring and bacon smoke nose to be especially captivating. And that’s all before ever getting to the sweet barbecue flavor and the peppery hops finish. ABV to this Brazilian beer is 6.5 percent.
207. Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat
The Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat is a fruit beer with a 5.3 percent ABV makeup and a distinctive cherry character (imagine that). With a pale honey color and a slim white head, you won’t have to wait long to tie in to this. Once you do, you’ll taste bread and a trace of hops to go along with the titular fruit. Cherry Wheat also has a somewhat floral finish.
206. Baden Baden Golden
Golden is a light, experimental beer with a sour passion fruit aroma and a malty rye bread, slightly nutty flavor. You’ll also pinpoint mild clove and cardamom in the makeup along with notes of chamomile, peach, and more passion fruit. The 4.5 percent ABV makes this one worthy of imbibing.
205. Eisenbahn 5 Anos
Eisenbahn 5 Anos has a sharpness that comes from the bitter oranges. Mix that with a firm nuttiness and a backdrop of spice and toffee malt, and you’re well on your way to a winner. Also somewhat dry and hoppy.
204. Samuel Adams Black Lager
Samuel Adams Black Lager goes light on the ABV with a 4.9 percent, but still manages to have a lingering finish and enough smoke and malt to make you feel like you’re drinking a distinctively manly beer. Rich, but never cloying, you’ll love the flavor notes of chocolate, fruit and herbs. Very balanced brew.
203. Les Trois Mousquetaires Grande Cuve Doppelbock
Les Trois Mousquetaires Grande Cuve Doppelbock is comprised of dark fruits, including raisins, fig pudding, and mushy dates for a cakey, bready flavor that is made all the more endearing from the hints of dark chocolate and somewhat high (8.6 percent ABV) alcohol content. Excellent doppelbock lager.
202. Samuel Adams Irish Red
Samuel Adams Irish Red is one of the famed brewer’s lighter concoctions with just 4.5 percent ABV. Its deep red color with distinguishing caramel flavor, is balanced with East Kent Goldings hops. Goes down very easy.
201. Bierland Belgian Blonde Ale
Bierland Belgian Blonde Ale is a Belgian Style Strong Pale from Brazil with 7.5 percent ABV and a floral, fruity aroma. There are spice and fruit notes throughout, making for a slightly bitter recipe with a dry, alcoholic finish.
200. Brasseurs du Monde Assoiffe 10
Brasseurs du Monde Assoiffe 10 is a powerful Canadian beer with 9.2 percent ABV crafted in the Belgian Style Tripel. It contains a mixture of spices, red fruit, and caramel. The high alcohol content is dominant in the warming finish.
199. Deschutes Hop Henge
Deschutes Hop Henge is a strong Imperial IPA with 9.0 percent ABV. A multiple award-winner, this one is big and hoppy and features bready aromas that are hard to resist. There really is a lot going on here with the malty and slightly vegetative flavor. With grapefruit, orange, and hints of orchard fruit, this is a sweet beer with a nice hop taste that is ultimately bold while still finding a balance.
198. Bogota Beer Monserrate Roja
Bogota Beer Monserrate Roja is a Colombian beer with low ABV (5.0 percent) and an unmistakable hoppy smell. There’s a bit of light malt with honey, hops, and berries, in the flavor profile before it closes out with a somewhat metallic finish.
197. Samuel Adams Longshot Beer Magnificent Seven
Samuel Adams proves here that they can definitely pull their weight in the IPA department. This 7.8 percent ABV beer has a rich bronze color and a slightly sweet malt character, balanced by hops and grapefruit for a delicious taste that is slightly bitter and very earthy.
196. Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red
Samuel Adams again, this time with a 9.0 percent ABV beer that is very experimental and adventurous. It’s cherry, tart, and a bit sour, with a tasty, lingering finish.
195. Dama Bier Stout
Dama Bier Stout is a stout from Brazil with 5.5 percent ABV. It pours black and has a creamy head with an aroma of chocolate icing, cherries, light grape juice, toasted malts, and even soy sauce. You’ll notice heavy soy and toasted malts in the flavor along with caramel, dark chocolate, and roasted cereals. All leads to a tart finish.
194. Deschutes The Abyss
You may misjudge this stuff with crude oil. It has caramel in the nose as well as chocolate and vanilla. You’ll first pick up on dark fruits and the 11.0 percent ABV. The dark fruit hangs in there and pick up coconut, cherry, and oak along the way.
193. Broadway Pub Microbrasserie Sein D’Espirit Hefeweizen
Sein D’Espirit Hefeweizen is a 5.0 percent ABV wheat beer in the Bavarian Hefeweiss style. There are some delicious gatherings of bananas, cereals, citrus, and spices in the scent. The taste mirrors this throughout for a refreshing finish.
192. Mons Abbey Witte
Mons Abbey Witte has 5.0 percent ABV, so it’s definitely one of the lighter beers on the list, but as a Belgian Style Witbier, it still works. That’s because it has been brewed with passion and devotion to time-honored Belgian tradition from a blend of malted and un-malted wheat infused with Styrian Golding hops, Hallertau Hersbrucker, and a hint of coriander and orange peel for a citrusy brew.
191. Samuel Adams Porch Rocker
Samuel Adams Porch Rocker is the kind of beer that you can drink without worrying about a hidden or alarming alcohol content. While its 4.5 percent ABV is still strong enough to be considered a beer (and not one of those “non-alcoholic beers”), it’s got enough zest for any aficionado. That’s probably because of the lemon and citrus aroma, the tart and slightly sweet flavor, and the spicy hops/dry ginger finish.
190. Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale
Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale is yet another must-drink for the fall months. The 5.65 percent ABV will leave you with plenty of level-headedness for the Halloween party, and the nose combo of ginger, cinnamon, and spicy nutmeg, will have you wishing every day was an October day.
189. Samuel Adams Cinder Bock
Cinder Bock is the Boston brewing company’s special foray into smoked flavored beer. With 9.4 percent ABV, you’ll require a strong constitution to keep from ending up punk’d but it’s worth the risk. The sweet malty caramel aroma hides a burnt bread-and-biscuit combination, which helps it trend nicely into a strong and malty end.
188. Samuel Adams Blueberry Hill Lager
The Blueberry Hill Lager from Samuel Adams wrote the book on flavored beers and the more specific category of the fruit beer. It’s aged on blueberries for an inescapable aroma and flavor. There are also some subtle citrus notes. Word of warning, though: no alcohol content. Still, fantastic flavor.
187. Samuel Adams Sam Light
It wouldn’t be our first choice when reaching into the refrigerator, but we’ll admit that when it comes to light beers, this is a delightful little number. It has a light caramel color and a bubble gum aroma, balanced out by floral hops for a light and nutty flavor. You’ll also pick up on traces of cherry through its dry ending. At 4.3 percent ABV, it goes down easy enough.
186. Bamberg Schwarzbier
Bamberg Schwarzbier is a dark lager that hails from Brazil. It has a 5.0 percent ABV, so there’s nothing too strong in its makeup. What we found appealing about this one was its dry, fruity and sherry notes and the unique flavor combination of bovril, prunes, and soy sauce.