Okay, you know Pliny the Elder is a great IPA and that yes, Dark Lord is awesome. The greatness of these beers is (relatively) undisputed. But you’ll probably never get the chance to sip one of these whales, because their distribution is so limited. The fact is, most “Best Beers” lists include brews you can’t easily find, like said Elder, which is predominantly distributed on the West Coast, and then in very limited amounts, and then for a very short time. Consider this a Best Beers list for the rest of us who don’t have time to hunt for whales. Even more accurate, this is a Best Beers list for people who do most of their beer shopping at the grocery store, while they’re stocking up on mac n’ cheese and sliced turkey. Here’s our list of five great beers you can *probably get at our local grocery store.
*Look, America’s a big country. Not every beer will be found in every single grocery store. Roll with us here.
New Belgium Trippel
New Belgium’s Trippel is a mix of bold hops (Saaz, Liberty and Nugget) that mellows out to a smooth finish with a trace of coriander. In the Belgium tradition of brewing singles, doubles and triples, Trippel is New Belgium’s strongest year-round beer with an alcohol content of 7.8% by volume. Even though you can find it in a six pack at your local store, make no mistake—this is a big beer, with a big taste.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
The beer that launched Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., in my humble opinion Sierra Nevada Pale Ale never gets old. The brew is made with a generous helping of Cascade hops, and yet its bitterness is never overpowering. It’s easy to overlook this beer because it’s been at your grocery store for so many years, but it’s a classic. Buy a sixer and revisit this country’s craft beer roots.
Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Photo via MadeInOregon
Brewed in the style of a German Maibock, using Rogue’s proprietary Pacman yeast, this beer has a deep honey color and a malty aroma. Dead Guy Ale has been around for a while, and to many people, it’s the standard that all American-made Maibocks are held to. And yet, it’s still kicking ass, taking home the silver in the 2014 and 2013 World Beer Championships despite it’s advanced age.
Originally brewed as a seasonal in 1995, this beer was so popular, Lagunitas felt compelled to brew it year round. The label says the beer is made with 43 varieties of hops and 65 types of malts. That’s probably not true, but the hyperbole doesn’t change the fact that this beer is a veritable party in your mouth, with the malt and hops working together to create a tasty balance of bitter and sweet.
Stone Smoked Porter
A traditional English porter with a twist, Stone Smoked Porter uses peat-smoked malt to create its smoky flavor. First released in 1996, this beer is dark, rich and smooth with chocolate and coffee flavors. Stone Brewery now makes two variations on this theme – Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean and Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers, but for the sake of consistency, we say get a bottle of the original, which you can find year round in all but a handful of states (sorry North Dakota).