From breakout beer town like Athens, GA to acclaimed breweries laying down roots everywhere from Birmingham to Tampa, the South is starting to flex its muscles on the national scene. There’s a lot to dig into, but here are five great everyday sippers to add to your rotation right now—think of it as your Southern-brew starter pack.
Bayou Teche LA-31 Passionné
From: Arnaudville, LA
Style: Passion-Fruit Wheat Ale
Since 2010, Bayou Teche has been proving that Cajun country has a lot more to offer beer drinkers than just Abita. To rep its Louisiana roots, the brewery makes this refreshing wheat beer with local passion fruit to give a kiss of tart sweetness.
Westbrook Brewing Co. One Claw
From: Mount Pleasant, SC
Style: Rye Pale Ale
After winning over Charleston beer nerds with creative brews like the chile-infused Mexican Cake, Westbrook has expanded with its excellent canned offerings. Pick up a sixer of One Claw, which balances spicy rye with a boatload of citrusy hops.
Cigar City Brewing Hopped on the High Seas
From: Tampa, FL
Style: Dry-Hopped IPA
What the hell is a “Caribbean-style IPA?” In the case of this in-your-face brew from Cigar City, the moniker is more impressionistic than authentic: The Florida-born ale is packed to the brim with fashionable Calypso hops, which deliver biting bitterness and flavors of apple, pear, and Meyer lemon.
Terrapin Beer Co. RecreationAle
From: Athens, GA
Style: Pale Ale
If you’re taking a hike to see the fall foliage, make this Peach State pale ale your reward at the end of the trail. The cans are easy to stuff in your daypack, and the wallop of five different types of hops will revive you from even the most strenuous climb.
Blue Mountain Barrel House Kölsch 151
From: Arrington, VA
Straight out of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains comes your new favorite lawn-mower beer. Though it’s brewed with ale yeast, the German-style beer is cold-conditioned to develop characteristics of a lager: light, crisp, and dangerously easy to chug from sunup to sundown.
This article originally appeared in the August/September issue of Complex Magazine.