What’s your favorite beer from your home state? Not too long ago, this question would have likely drawn blank stares, as most folks in the country had to make do with macro-brewed lagers and the odd European import at their local bars. But the massive suds renaissance of the past few decades has changed all that, spawning more than 2,000 craft breweries for locals to rally behind, and making cross-country beer hunting a more compelling pastime than ever.
While any “best of” compilation is unavoidably colored by personal tastes, our goal in compiling this nation-wide hit list was to think about the one beer that most fully represents the regional style, heritage, and attitude of brewing in each state. In places with well-developed scenes like California and Pennsylvania, that might mean a gamechanging double IPA or classic pilsner that set the bar for all those that came after. In more up-and-coming states like Missouri or Virginia, it’s more likely to be that singular pour that you’d be a fool to miss if you came within striking distance of the brewery.
Some of the beers are nationally available, while others require traveling to the state or even—in a few cases—showing up on a special release day that only comes around once a year. Taken in sum, they are proof positive that the U.S.A. is the most exciting place in the world to be a beer drinker right now. Bottoms up!