Though Americans drink more wine now than they did 20 years ago, and though both cocktails and spirits are gaining an ever-increasing market share, we remain, as a whole, a nation of beer drinkers. In fact, according to the wine, beer, and spirits site VinePair, we consume more than 6.4 billion gallons of suds a year – compared to a paltry 931 million gallons of wine.
Of course, most of the beer we drink is mass-produced stuff. Bud Light has long been our No. 1 brew by far – though sales dropped as much as 26% in April after the brand established a marketing relationship with transgender social media star Dylan Mulvaney, spurring a boycott from the right.
The major brands aside, beers from smaller independent brewers – craft beers – are becoming more and more popular. Last year, sales of such offerings increased 5%, and the once-marginal craft beer segment now accounts for almost 25% of the total U.S. beer market. (Here’s the best local beer from every state.)
Craft brewers love to experiment, so new beers are constantly pouring onto the market, and it’s not uncommon for a single producer to have a dozen or more beers on the market at one time. That means that, unlike choices from the big corporate brewers, craft brews change all the time, bringing new aromas and flavors to those who favor them.
To assemble an admittedly subjective list of America’s 40 most delicious beers, 24/7 Tempo consulted numerous rankings and reviews on specialist sites, including Beer Advocate, Hop Culture, RateBeer, and Craft Beer & Brewing, and from such general-interest publications as Ranker, Paste, Rolling Stone, and Esquire. While numerical scores, where given, were factored into our choices, consideration was also given to the comments of reviewers, both amateur and professional, in describing various beers. (You can be sure that our list doesn’t include any of the worst beers in the world.)
Click here to learn about America’s 40 most delicious beers
Fair warning: Craft beers can be hard to find, often available only locally and/or only for a limited time each year. They can also be very expensive – in some instances $50 or $100 a bottle or more. And with the added flavorings, high alcohol content, and serious bitterness that characterizes some of them, every beer on this list won’t be to everyone’s taste – but taken as a whole, they represent the best of American craft brewing today.
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