The 50 Best Beers in America

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It’s American Craft Beer Week, and what better way to celebrate than by bending an elbow with 50 of this great country’s finest brews? Whether you’re a fan of decadent imperial stouts, mouth-puckering sours, or floral India pale ales, there’s something for everyone on this list. In no particular order, here are our picks for how to stock your beer fridge:

1. BOMB!, 13% // PRAIRIE ARTISAN ALES, TULSA, OKLAHOMA

Bomb! Prairie Artisan Ales Beer
Prairie Artisan Ales

Prairie’s flagship imperial stout is a potent combination of coffee, chocolate, ancho chili, and vanilla beans that is surprisingly drinkable for a beer that checks in at 13 percent ABV. The chili peppers give it just enough of a spicy burn that you won’t want to take down a whole bottle in a single gulp, but it’s tempting. If you’re really lucky, you’ll turn up one of the limited variant bottlings Prairie occasionally rolls out, like Christmas Bomb!, a version made with cinnamon, or Pirate Bomb!, which has been aged in rum barrels.

2. UNRELIABLE NARRATOR, 7.5% // THREES BREWING, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

Unreliable Narrator Threes Brewing Beer
Threes Brewing

With an unreliable narrator, you never quite know if you’re getting the full, unvarnished truth. You can count on Threes’ Unreliable Narrator to consistently deliver something awesome any time the Brooklyn brewery releases a canning: An IPA that’s juicy and full of papaya and other tropical fruit flavors.

3. HAZE, 8.2% // TREE HOUSE BREWING COMPANY, MONSON, MASSACHUSETTS

It’s tough to get your hands on the beer coming out of what must be the most heavily hyped brewery in the country. You have to show up early at the brewery in western Massachusetts, stand in the line that forms each day, and hopefully collect a few precious pint cans or a growler fill for your trouble. It all sounds like more trouble than it’s worth until you get a sip of the brewery’s trademark cloudy, juicy IPAs. Then it suddenly makes a lot of sense.

4. MAPLE BACON COFFEE PORTER, 6.4% // FUNKY BUDDHA BREWERY, OAKLAND PARK, FLORIDA

The name isn’t false advertising. You get a full spectrum of breakfast flavors in each sip, with distinct layers of roasted coffee, sweet maple, and smoky bacon coming together in a surprisingly seamless experience. It’s an impressive feat that is all the more memorable because it’s not just a novelty beer where one sip is enough. It’s so delicious that you can easily enjoy a pint even well after breakfast.

5. SPOTTED COW, 4.8% // NEW GLARUS BREWING COMPANY, NEW GLARUS, WISCONSIN

Spotted Cow New Glarus Brewing Company beer
New Glares Brewing Company

It’s not the strongest beer on this list. It doesn’t have the fanciest label. And it’s definitely not the most widely available—you can only pick one up in Wisconsin. But it only takes one bottle of this beloved local brewery’s “naturally cloudy farmhouse ale” to see why Wisconsin’s drinkers swear by Spotted Cow. It’s light, crisp, pleasantly fruity, and pairs well with everything.

6. DAISY CUTTER PALE ALE, 5.2% // HALF ACRE BEER COMPANY, CHICAGO

Daisy Cutter Pale Ale Half Acre Beer Company beer
Half Acre Beer Company

Don’t let the flowers on the Chicago staple’s iconic pint cans fool you. This pale ale packs more of a piney, aromatic hop punch than many boozier India pale ales, and its dry, pleasant finish makes it endlessly drinkable.

7. DINO S’MORES MARSHMALLOW IMPERIAL STOUT, 10.5% // OFF COLOR BREWING, CHICAGO

Dino'smores Marshmallow Imperial Stout Beer
M. Kiser / Good Beer Hunting

What do you get when you brew a beer with marshmallow fluff, vanilla beans, graham flour, molasses, and cocoa nibs? A smart way to enjoy a campout classic without running afoul of any fire codes or ending up with sticky fingers.

8. PHILADELPHIA PALE ALE, 4.6% // YARDS BREWING COMPANY, PHILADELPHIA

Philadelphia Pale Ale Yards Brewing Company beer
Yards Brewing Company

Looking for an introduction into the world of pale ales? Look no further. This classic Philadelphia brew is hoppy without being overly bitter, making it the perfect approachable choice. It’s undeniably a pale ale, but instead of sharp hops, each sip rewards you with a pleasant grapefruit aroma and flavor with a crisp finish.

9. THREE PHILOSOPHERS, 9.7% // BREWERY OMMEGANG, COOPERSTOWN, NEW YORK

Three Philosophers Brewery Ommegang beer
Brewery Ommegang

Sometimes the extra two percent makes all the difference. Ommegang’s Belgian-style quadruple makes up 98 percent of each batch of Three Philosophers. The magic comes in the finishing touch: The brewery then fills out the blend with Belgian kriek. It may sound like a drop in the bucket, but those Belgian cherries shine through, giving you a rich, fruity finish that’s perfect as both an after-dinner drink or a companion for cheese and dark chocolate.

10. HIGH WEST-IFIED IMPERIAL COFFEE STOUT, 12.2% // LAGUNITAS BREWING COMPANY, PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA

High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout Lagunitas Brewing Company beer
Lagunitas Brewing Company

Putting whiskey in your coffee is generally a recipe for bad ideas. Putting your coffee stout in whiskey barrels, on the other hand, is almost always a good idea. Lagunitas’s coffee stout emerges from a nap in High West Distillery’s bourbon and rye barrels with a burly roast coffee flavor that marries beautifully with a kick of whiskey in the finish.

11. PRIMA PILS, 5.3% // VICTORY BREWING CO., DOWNINGTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

Prima Pils Victory Brewing Co. beer
Victory Brewing Co.

Pilsners may not draw the most beer-geek hype, but a clean, crisp example with just a bit of a floral hop bite on the finish can be heaven on a hot day. Or any day, really. If you’re looking for an American pilsner, look no further than Victory’s excellent take on the style that’s a little grassy, a little toasty, and extremely delicious.

12. TEMPTATION, 7.5% // RUSSIAN RIVER BREWING COMPANY, SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA

Temptation Russian River Brewing Company beer
Russian River Brewing Company

Thanks to fermentation with wild yeasts and a period of aging in used chardonnay barrels, Russian River’s iconoclastic blonde ale is not quite like anything you’ve ever tasted. Temptation drinks like a funky cross between beer, cheese, and a dry white wine. Bottles can be hard to find, and they’re even harder to forget.

13. BLACK BUTTE PORTER, 5.2% // DESCHUTES BREWERY, BEND, OREGON

Black Butte Porter Deschutes Brewery beer
Deschutes Brewery

Porters are perfect for those nights when you crave something dark, roasted, and robust but don’t want to tackle a behemoth of an imperial stout. They don’t come much better than Deschutes’s flagship, which backs an earthy chocolate flavor with just a bit of coffee and a subdued piney hop flavor.

14. COFFEE BENDER, 5.1% // SURLY BREWING CO., BROOKLYN CENTER, MINNESOTA

Coffee Bender Surly Brewing Co
Surly Brewing Co.

Surly’s Bender is a gem in its own right as a balanced, drinkable oatmeal brown ale with a chewy mouthfeel and pleasant caramel flavor. An infusion of Guatemalan coffee transforms this variant into something even better: a rich, aromatic pour that feels like the perfect choice for anyone who can’t decide if they’d rather have a beer or an iced macchiato.

15. LA FOLIE SOUR BROWN ALE, 7.0% // NEW BELGIUM BREWING COMPANY, FORT COLLINS, COLORADO

La Folie Sour Brown Ale New Belgium Brewing beer
New Belgium Brewing Company

Up to three years of aging in large oak barrels gives this brown ale a character all its own. It’s complex and fruity, with cherry notes mingling with a bracingly sour blast that’s reminiscent of apple cider vinegar. We know: “Reminiscent of apple cider vinegar” doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, but you have to trust us on this one. It is. By the time your senses have fully processed a sip, you’ll be surprised at how crisp, dry, and refreshing something this sour can be.

16. PSEUDOSUE, 5.8% // TOPPLING GOLIATH BREWING CO., DECORAH, IOWA

Pseudosue Toppling Goliath Brewing Co.
Toppling Goliath Brewing Co.

When you name your beer after the famed T. rex skeleton at Chicago’s Field Museum, it had better be aggressive. Luckily for Toppling Goliath, pseudoSue lives up to its name by delivering a pleasantly toothy rampage of Citra hop flavors. The Field Museum approves, and if you enjoy pale ales, you will, too.

17. CASCADE SANG ROYAL, 9.35% // CASCADE BREWING, PORTLAND, OREGON

Cascade Sang Royal Cascade Brewing beer
Cascade Brewing

Cascade’s incredible sour red ale ages for up to 30 months in cabernet and port barrels with cabernet grapes. The result is a tannic, sour pour that blurs the line between a sour beer and a tannic red wine. Grab some friends and pop the cork on a 750ml bottle of this Oregon treasure.

18. TWO HEARTED ALE, 7% // BELL’S BREWERY, COMSTOCK, MICHIGAN

Two Hearted Ale Bell's Brewery beer
Bell's Brewery

Even if you only have one heart, this exceptional IPA will win it over. Named after a river in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that’s beloved by fly fishermen, Bell’s standout pale ale is an ideal showcase for the floral, just-bitter-enough magic and grapefruit notes of Centennial hops. It’s a strong contender for the crown of “Best American IPA with a Label Featuring a Fish.”

19. SCULPIN INDIA PALE ALE, 7% // BALLAST POINT BREWING COMPANY, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

Sculpin India Pale Ale Ballast Point Brewing Company beer
Ballast Point Brewing Company

Then again, Ballast Point’s flagship IPA can make a strong, fishy case of its own. Its flavors are a little fruitier, with lots of mango and papaya, and it’s as easy to drink as any IPA you’ll find. Ballast Point bottles Sculpin variants made with grapefruit, habanero, and pineapple, but for our money, you can’t go wrong with the original.

20. SEIZOEN BRETTA, 8% // LOGSDON FARMHOUSE ALES, HOOD RIVER, OREGON

Historically, saisons were light, refreshing ales that were perfect for quenching the thirst of farm laborers. Luckily, you don’t have to put in a shift in the fields to enjoy this excellent example from Oregon’s Logsdon. The addition of brettanomyces yeast and a bit of pear juice gives Seizoen Bretta an extra layer of funky complexity that elevates the style to new heights.

21. BARREL AGED YETI IMPERIAL STOUT, 12.5% // GREAT DIVIDE BREWING CO., DENVER, COLORADO

In 1959, the United States embassy in Kathmandu issued a memo outlining the permits and licenses American hunters would need to acquire before stalking the famed cryptid within Nepal’s borders. Sounds like a lot of trouble. If you’re a stout fan, your time would be better spent hunting down this variant of Great Divide’s flagship. It wakes up from its hibernation in whiskey barrels with a revitalized flavor that boasts vanilla, oak, and just enough booze to let you know not to fight it.

22. WHITE RAJAH INDIA PALE ALE, 6.8% // THE BREW KETTLE, STRONGSVILLE, OHIO

Should you find yourself in the greater Cleveland area when a craving for an IPA loaded with tropical fruit flavors and a nice, lingering hop bite strikes you, head to the Brew Kettle. You won’t regret it.

23. BACKWOODS BASTARD, 11.2% // FOUNDERS BREWING CO., GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN

Backwoods Bastard Founders Brewing Co
Founders Brewing Co.

You’ll have to wait until fall to track down this bourbon-barrel-aged Scotch ale, but it will be worth it. The malty, slightly smoky flavor of the base Scotch ale harmonizes with the vanilla and whiskey flavors to create something darn near perfect for spending a chilly night inside or huddled around a campfire. You probably won’t want to drink more than one in a sitting, but you’ll really savor that one.

24. COCONUT HIWA PORTER, 6% // MAUI BREWING CO., KIHEI, HAWAII

Coconut Hiwa Porter Maui Brewing Co beer
Bryan Berkowitz

Sunny Hawaii may not seem like the typical breeding ground for a robust style like porter, but the addition of toasted coconut to this brew yields a flavor that’s loaded with chocolate, a bit of coffee, and just enough coconut to make each sip feel a tiny bit like a tropical vacation.

25. MELANGE NO. 3, 16.3% // THE BRUERY, PLACENTIA, CALIFORNIA

Melange No. 3 The Bruery beer
The Bruery

What happens when you blend a bourbon-barrel-aged wheat wine, a barrel-aged imperial stout, and a barrel-aged old ale? Magic! You’ll need to round up some friends to help you tackle a 750ml bottle of this gem, but the strong notes of fudge, bourbon, and plums will please any crowd.

26. DUCK-RABBIT BALTIC PORTER, 9% // THE DUCK-RABBIT CRAFT BREWERY, FARMVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

Duck-Rabbit Baltic Porter beer
The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery

North Carolina’s “dark beer specialist” is the brainchild of a former philosophy teacher and carries a name inspired by philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, so maybe we’re predisposed to like their brainy beers. But even if you set aside their academic pedigree, the Duck-Rabbit’s offerings are smart buys because they’re so tasty. The Baltic Porter may be their best, a showcase of roasted malt, dark fruit, and just enough booze to liven up a chilly night.

27. GREAT LAKES ELIOT NESS AMBER LAGER, 6.1% // GREAT LAKES BREWING CO., CLEVELAND

The craft beer landscape is full of aggressive stouts, IPAs, and sour beers. While we’re clearly fans of those styles, sometimes you want something a little subtler. Great Lakes’s refreshing lager is a little toasty and a little nutty with a clean finish. It’s the perfect pour to cap off a long day of fighting bootleggers.

28. RAMSTEIN WINTER WHEAT, 9.5% // HIGH POINT BREWING COMPANY, BUTLER, NEW JERSEY

Ramstein Winter Wheat High Point Brewing Company beer
High Point Brewing Company

It’s easy to think of wheat beers as thirst-quenching summer refreshers, but Ramstein’s winter seasonal shows just how complex and dark wheat beer can be. This mighty weizenbock pours cola-brown and is loaded with chocolate, dark fruit, and caramel flavors. You’ll never look at wheat beer the same way after your first sip.

29. BOURBON COUNTY BRAND STOUT, 13.80% // GOOSE ISLAND BEER CO., CHICAGO

Bourbon County Brand Stout Goose Island Beer Co, Beer
Goose Island Beer Co.

Aging an imperial stout in barrels that have previously held whiskey can lead to a brew that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Goose Island pioneered barrel-aging beers in the early 1990s, and although the brewery may no longer be independent, its flagship stout is still worth seeking out. Even better, it improves and mellows with age, so stash a second bottle somewhere cool and dark to enjoy in a few years.

30. SAMUEL ADAMS UTOPIAS, 28% // BOSTON BEER COMPANY, BOSTON

Samuel Adams Utopia Boston Beer Company beer
Boston Beer Company

A bottle of Utopias checks in at 28 percent alcohol by volume and can set you back upwards of $200 if you can even find one. The viscous beer inside has spent up to 22 years carefully aging in bourbon, Madeira, cognac, Armagnac, and other wine and spirits barrels before being carefully blended. It all sounds excessive until you taste it. Then it makes perfect sense.

31. TROEGENATOR DOUBLE BOCK, 8.2% // TROEGS INDEPENDENT BREWING, HERSHEY, PENNSYLVANIA

Troegenator Double Bock Troegs Independent Brewing beer
Troegs Independent Brewing

As a style, doppelbock traces its roots back to German monks who would use the malty, sweet beers for sustenance during their Lenten fast. Luckily, today we don’t have to wait for Lent. We can hoist one whenever we want to enjoy their rich flavors of dark fruits and caramel. Pair this Pennsylvania classic with roasted or smoked meat for a divine combo that would make any 17th century monk jealous.

32. DAS WUNDERKIND!, 4.5% // JESTER KING BREWERY, AUSTIN, TEXAS

Das Wunderkind! Jester King Brewery beer
Tyler Malone / The Second Shooter

Tart, dry, and extremely drinkable, this Jester King saison is a blend of sour beer that has been aged in oak barrels with bacterial cultures and fresh beer. The resulting concoction is the perfect brew to take the edge off the heat of Texas or wherever you happen to pop the cap. And if you can’t find this particular bottle, you can’t go wrong with any of Jester King’s other farmhouse and wild ales.

33. HUNAHPU’S IMPERIAL STOUT, 10.2% // CIGAR CITY BREWING, TAMPA, FLORIDA

Hunahpu Imperial Stour beer
Cigar City Brewing

In theory, a stout aged on vanilla beans, cacao nibs, cinnamon, and two types of chili peppers sounds like a conceptual nightmare of clashing flavors. In practice, it’s a memorably decadent and complex experience, like a terrific stout crossed with the best Mexican hot chocolate you’ve ever tasted. It’s only released once a year, but the sublime combo of chocolate and spice is worth a trip to Tampa.

34. GOSE GONE WILD, 4.3% // STILLWATER ARTISANAL, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

Gose Gone Wild Stillwater Artisanal beer
Brooklyn Brew Shop

Looking for a refreshing summer beer that isn’t another light lager or blonde ale? It’s high time you got into gose, a slightly sour, slightly salty, slightly spicy style that originated in the German city of Leipzig. Stillwater’s version introduces wild yeasts for a funkier take on the style that’s still perfect for a hot summer day.

35. ZOMBIE DUST, 6.2% // 3 FLOYDS BREWING CO, MUNSTER, INDIANA

Zombie Dust isn’t the most heavily hopped pale ale around. It’s not the most bitter, and it doesn’t cram in the most juicy fruit flavors. None of that matters—it’s still the best pale ale you can get your mitts on. The nose is full of amazing orange and tangerine citrus, and each sip offers a master class on how to celebrate hops without overwhelming the palate. It can be hard to track down a bottle, but even if you had to fight an actual zombie to get a six pack, it would be worth it.

36. MOTHER OF ALL STORMS, 14% // PELICAN BREWING, PACIFIC CITY, OREGON

Coastal Oregon brewer Pelican’s English barleywine, Stormwatcher’s Winterfest, is an excellent beer that offers a malty, fruity take on a powerful English style. After spending a year in bourbon barrels, it emerges as a burly, brash version of itself with the volume turned up to 11. The classic English toffee and caramel flavors are still there, but the oak and vanilla notes that slip in from the barrel aging process make the Mother of All Storms a memorable beer that’s worth seeking out.

37. NARRAGANSETT LAGER, 5% // NARRAGANSETT BREWING CO, PAWTUCKET, RHODE ISLAND

Narragansett Lager Narragansett Brewing Co
Narragansett Brewing Co

Lots of great breweries on this list are just a few years old. On the other end of the spectrum is Rhode Island stalwart Narragansett, which traces its heritage all the way back to 1890. Although the brewery cranks out a variety of styles, including a line of H.P. Lovecraft-inspired limited releases with horror themes, its classic lager is a staple of fridges throughout the Northeast. It’s tough to beat a cooler full of pint cans of this clean-finishing lager at a campout, picnic, or barbecue.

38. ALLAGASH COOLSHIP RESURGAM, 6.3% // ALLAGASH BREWING COMPANY, PORTLAND, MAINE

Allagash Coolship Resurgam Beer
Allagash Brewing Company

The brewery’s flagship Allagash White, a pitch-perfect rendition of a Belgian witbier, is widely available and a solid pick. But if you’re willing to put in some legwork, take the time to hunt down a bottle of Coolship Resurgam, a tart, funky ale created using traditional Belgian spontaneous fermentation methods. The brewery uses a huge shallow tub known as a “coolship” to expose unfermented beer to the air overnight. As the beer cools, the natural bacteria in the air enters the brew, which then spends up to three years fermenting in wine barrels. When it emerges, the beer is tart, with notes of peach, apricot, and apple leading into a dry finish.

39. BIGFOOT BARLEYWINE-STYLE ALE, 9.6% // SIERRA NEVADA BREWING CO., CHICO, CALIFORNIA

Bigfoot Barleywine-style ale Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. beer
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

This aggressively hopped barleywine has been a staple of Sierra Nevada’s portfolio since 1983, and it only gets better with age. When fresh, it’s almost punishingly bitter, but there’s enough of a chewy malt backbone to make it an enjoyable sipper. Bigfoot really starts to shine with a few years on it, though. If you can stash a bottle somewhere dark and cool, those piney hops will gradually take a backseat to those malts, and the resulting pour will develop complex flavors of sherry, spice cake, caramel, and dark fruits. Sneak a few bottles into the basement and check back in 2022—you’ll be glad you did.

40. SOUTHERN PECAN NUT BROWN ALE, 4.39% // LAZY MAGNOLIA BREWING COMPANY, KILN, MISSISSIPPI

Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company beer
Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company

Lots of brewers make brown ales that showcase nutty flavors. Lazy Magnolia does them one better by brewing what it calls “the first beer in the world, to our knowledge, made with whole roasted pecans.” Tossing the quintessentially Southern nut into the recipe may sound like a gimmick, but the addition imparts a deep, nutty flavor that really rounds out the slightly sweet brown ale. You won’t mistake it for pecan pie, but you’ll still want to go back for seconds.

41. OLD CHUB, 8% // OSKAR BLUES BREWERY, LONGMONT, COLORADO

Old Chub Oskar Blues Brewery beer
Oskar Blues Brewery

When you need a break from huge hop flavors, a good Scotch ale is just the ticket. And Oskar Blues’ staple Old Chub is a very good Scotch ale. It’s malty and smoky without being overwhelming, sweet and chewy without being cloying. Pair it with rich, roasted foods and doff your cap to the brilliant Scotsmen who pioneered this beautiful style.

42. HEADY TOPPER, 8% // THE ALCHEMIST, WATERBURY, VERMONT

You can’t look at many “World’s Best Beer” lists without seeing the iconic imperial IPA from Vermont’s the Alchemist. With so much buzz surrounding the silver-and-black pint cans, can the beer inside possibly live up to the hype? You bet. If anything, Heady Topper exceeds most reasonable expectations. It’s a dank, piney hop bomb that doesn’t feel gratuitously bitter. It packs quite a punch without feeling boozy. And for such a celebrated IPA, it’s surprisingly balanced. If you only drive to small-town Vermont for one beer, make it this one.

43. EVERETT, 7.5% // HILL FARMSTEAD BREWERY, GREENSBORO, VERMONT

However, if you have time to make a second beer pilgrimage on your swing through Vermont, you can’t miss the just-as-celebrated, just-as-tasty wares of nearby Hill Farmstead. The farm brewery has mastered everything from IPAs to saisons to wild ales to imperial stouts, but for our money, their chocolate-and-coffee-laden porter is the standout.

44. TERRAPIN MOO-HOO CHOCOLATE MILK STOUT, 6% // TERRAPIN BEER CO., ATHENS, GEORGIA

Terrapin Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout beer
Terrapin Beer Co.

Adult life is tragically short on moments in which it’s socially acceptable to gulp down a glass of chocolate milk. Terrapin’s winter seasonal may not quite scratch your childhood dairy yearnings, but it’s the next best thing. There’s just enough chocolate to really round out the classic sweetness of a milk stout, and although you won’t want to dunk a cookie in it, you’ll probably want to order a second round.

45. KUHNHENN RASPBERRY EISBOCK, 15.5% // KUHNHENN BREWING CO., WARREN, MICHIGAN

Kuhnhenn’s website classifies this highly sought-after rarity as an “experimental high-gravity fruit beer,” but we’re content just to call it delicious. A recipe that includes fresh raspberries and raspberry juice yields a beer that’s syrupy, sweet, strong, and incredibly complex without being cloying. Each sip feels like it’s straddling the line between beer and raspberry cordial, so if you’re a raspberry fan, this is one you won’t want to miss.

46. MIDAS TOUCH, 9% // DOGFISH HEAD CRAFT BREWERY, MILTON, DELAWARE

Midas Touch Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Developing a good beer recipe can take time. In this case, the timeline ran to 2700 years. Dogfish Head partnered with molecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania to brew this beer based on findings from a Turkish tomb that dates back to around 700 BCE. The tomb is thought to have contained the historical King Midas or his father. The archaeological evidence gave rise to a beer that drinks like a sweet hybrid of beer, mead, and white wine. It may not give you the golden touch, but you’ll still feel like a king after a glass.

47. DOUBLE DRY HOPPED DOUBLE MOSAIC DREAM, 8.5% // OTHER HALF BREWING CO., BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

Brooklyn’s Other Half may only be three years old, but the small brewery near the Gowanus Canal cranks out a dizzying array of top-notch IPAs. Even though the brewery’s offerings rotate on a near-weekly basis, the double-dry-hopped variant of its Mosaic-hopped imperial IPA has already become a standby, and for good reason. The addition of lupulin powder to the recipe elevates an already great beer into something even better, with lots of mango and pineapple flavors bursting through.

48. RUMPKIN, 17.5% // AVERY BREWING CO., DENVER

Rumpkin Avery Brewing Co.
Avery Brewing Co.

Many brewers create a fall seasonal that tastes less like a pumpkin beer and more like pumpkin pie spices dumped into a beer. Avery takes a better approach, using roasted local pumpkins, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger to create a pumpkin brew, then aging it in rum barrels. The sweet, oaky flavors of the rum barrel are the perfect complement to the pumpkin and spice, resulting in an extremely potent beer that’s perfect for autumn sipping.

49. BLACKBERRY, 6% // UPLAND BREWING COMPANY, BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA

Blackberry Upland Brewing Company beer
Upland Brewing Co.

Indiana and Belgium don’t have a lot in common at first glance, but the Hoosier State’s Upland Brewing crafts sour, wood-aged fruit ales that would make many Belgian lambic brewers jealous. Upland has created exotic fruit sours using offbeat ingredients like kiwi and persimmon, but our favorite is the one made with whole local blackberries. The purple, tart beer is perfect for those days when you need a sour, fruity beer but don’t want to trek all the way to Brussels.

50. PM DAWN, 9% // TRILLIUM BREWING COMPANY, BOSTON

Pm Dawn Trillium beer
Trillium Brewing Co.

Not just any brewery can make a stout infused with cold-brewed coffee and have it come out tasting like the beer version of a café mocha. Even fewer can make a stout that shares its name with a beloved musical act and have it live up to expectations. Luckily for us, Boston’s Trillium Brewing is up to the task. It will only take one glass for you to feel like you’ve been set adrift on memory bliss.

The Gooey History of the Fluffernutter Sandwich

bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images
bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images

Open any pantry in New England and chances are you’ll find at least one jar of Marshmallow Fluff. Not just any old marshmallow crème, but Fluff; the one manufactured by Durkee-Mower of Lynn, Massachusetts since 1920, and the preferred brand of the northeast. With its familiar red lid and classic blue label, it's long been a favorite guilty pleasure and a kitchen staple beloved throughout the region.

This gooey, spreadable, marshmallow-infused confection is used in countless recipes and found in a variety of baked goods—from whoopie pies and Rice Krispies Treats to chocolate fudge and beyond. And in the beyond lies perhaps the most treasured concoction of all: the Fluffernutter sandwich—a classic New England treat made with white bread, peanut butter, and, you guessed it, Fluff. No jelly required. Or wanted.

 

There are several claims to the origin of the sandwich. The first begins with Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere—or, not Paul exactly, but his great-great-great-grandchildren Emma and Amory Curtis of Melrose, Massachusetts. Both siblings were highly intelligent and forward-thinkers, and Amory was even accepted into MIT. But when the family couldn’t afford to send him, he founded a Boston-based company in the 1890s that specialized in soda fountain equipment.

He sold the business in 1901 and used the proceeds to buy the entire east side of Crystal Street in Melrose. Soon after he built a house and, in his basement, he created a marshmallow spread known as Snowflake Marshmallow Crème (later called SMAC), which actually predated Fluff. By the early 1910s, the Curtis Marshmallow Factory was established and Snowflake became the first commercially successful shelf-stable marshmallow crème.

Although other companies were manufacturing similar products, it was Emma who set the Curtis brand apart from the rest. She had a knack for marketing and thought up many different ways to popularize their marshmallow crème, including the creation of one-of-a-kind recipes, like sandwiches that featured nuts and marshmallow crème. She shared her culinary gems in a weekly newspaper column and radio show. By 1915, Snowflake was selling nationwide.

During World War I, when Americans were urged to sacrifice meat one day a week, Emma published a recipe for a peanut butter and marshmallow crème sandwich. She named her creation the "Liberty Sandwich," as a person could still obtain his or her daily nutrients while simultaneously supporting the wartime cause. Some have pointed to Emma’s 1918 published recipe as the earliest known example of a Fluffernutter, but the earliest recipe mental_floss can find comes from three years prior. In 1915, the confectioners trade journal Candy and Ice Cream published a list of lunch offerings that candy shops could advertise beyond hot soup. One of them was the "Mallonut Sandwich," which involved peanut butter and "marshmallow whip or mallo topping," spread on lightly toasted whole wheat bread.

 

Another origin story comes from Somerville, Massachusetts, home to entrepreneur Archibald Query. Query began making his own version of marshmallow crème and selling it door-to-door in 1917. Due to sugar shortages during World War I, his business began to fail. Query quickly sold the rights to his recipe to candy makers H. Allen Durkee and Fred Mower in 1920. The cost? A modest $500 for what would go on to become the Marshmallow Fluff empire.

Although the business partners promoted the sandwich treat early in the company’s history, the delicious snack wasn’t officially called the Fluffernutter until the 1960s, when Durkee-Mower hired a PR firm to help them market the sandwich, which resulted in a particularly catchy jingle explaining the recipe.

So who owns the bragging rights? While some anonymous candy shop owner was likely the first to actually put the two together, Emma Curtis created the early precursors and brought the concept to a national audience, and Durkee-Mower added the now-ubiquitous crème and catchy name. And the Fluffernutter has never lost its popularity.

In 2006, the Massachusetts state legislature spent a full week deliberating over whether or not the Fluffernutter should be named the official state sandwich. On one side, some argued that marshmallow crème and peanut butter added to the epidemic of childhood obesity. The history-bound fanatics that stood against them contended that the Fluffernutter was a proud culinary legacy. One state representative even proclaimed, "I’m going to fight to the death for Fluff." True dedication, but the bill has been stalled for more than a decade despite several revivals and subsequent petitions from loyal fans.

But Fluff lovers needn’t despair. There’s a National Fluffernutter Day (October 8) for hardcore fans, and the town of Somerville, Massachusetts still celebrates its Fluff pride with an annual What the Fluff? festival.

 

"Everyone feels like Fluff is part of their childhood," said self-proclaimed Fluff expert and the festival's executive director, Mimi Graney, in an interview with Boston Magazine. "Whether born in the 1940s or '50s, or '60s, or later—everyone feels nostalgic for Fluff. I think New Englanders in general have a particular fondness for it."

A Fluffernutter sandwich
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Today, the Fluffernutter sandwich is as much of a part of New England cuisine as baked beans or blueberry pie. While some people live and die by the traditional combination, the sandwich now comes in all shapes and sizes, with the addition of salty and savory toppings as a favorite twist. Wheat bread is as popular as white, and many like to grill their sandwiches for a touch of bistro flair. But don't ask a New Englander to swap out their favorite brand of marshmallow crème. That’s just asking too Fluffing much.

43 Ice Cream Flavors You Won’t Believe Exist

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Deagreez/iStock via Getty Images

Chocolate and vanilla are so passé. These days, ice cream shops are delving into far more adventurous flavor territory. Here are 43 of the weirdest ice cream flavors you can try today:

1. Lobster

You can get a lot of odd lobster products in New England, not least lobster-laced desserts. Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium, a line of sweets shops in Maine and Massachusetts, began serving lobster ice cream as a way to prove to their customers that their ice creams were really made in-house. The butter-flavored ice cream is blended with chopped bits of cooked lobster meat. You can buy it by the bucket, and yes, they ship.

2. Potato chips and Cap'n Crunch

At Beenie’s Ice Cream in Morristown, New Jersey, you can satisfy your cravings for salty, sweet, and children’s cereal all at once. "Midnight Snack" is a flavor that combines vanilla ice cream with chocolate-covered potato chips and Cap’n Crunch pieces. Note: The shop, which is named after the owner’s dog, is very pup-friendly.

3. Almond charcoal

Activated charcoal powder on white background
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Little Damage in Los Angeles is an ice cream shop with a goth soul. It colors its house-made cones and ice creams with activated charcoal, resulting in flavors like Almond Charcoal and Black Roses. Mmm, tastes like darkness.

4. Squid ink

Ikasumi, or squid ink, is a sought-after ice cream flavor in Japan. If you can’t make it to Tokyo, you can make your own with wasabi sprinkles. It’s a little briny and a lot photogenic. Squid ink is becoming a hot trend in cocktails and food, though, so squid ink desserts could become a lot more common in the U.S. soon.

5. Prosciutto

Humphry Slocombe in San Francisco is known for its incredibly innovative flavors, some of which tend toward the meaty. The pink ice cream, made with the help of the local pork supplier Boccalone, sold so fast the first time it appeared on the menu in 2011 that the shop immediately decided to whip up some more for the next weekend. While it's not an everyday item, if you visit at just the right time, you might see it on the menu.

6. Absinthe

Glasses of absinthe
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At Prague’s Absintherie Bar and Museum, you can try 60 different kinds of absinthe, and not all of them in cocktail form. The bar also serves up an ice cream made with its eponymous spirit.

7. Juniper & lemon curd

Inspired by the late American writer James Thurber, this flavor that once made its way onto Jeni’s ice cream menu was designed to taste like a martini with a twist. It’s cool juniper berry notes get a little zing from the lemon curd.

8. Yam

The purple yam Ube is a popular dessert ingredient in the Philippines and Hawaii. The tuber-flavored ice cream makes for a subtle, addictive flavor. You can buy Purple Yam ice cream at the grocery store from Magnolia, which makes a host of tropical-flavored ice creams. Oh, and it’s very Instagram-friendly. Magnolia has several scoop shops in California and can be found in specialty stores across the country.

9. Corn on the cob

Grilled Mexican corn
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Since opening Max & Mina’s in Queens, New York in 1998, brothers/owners Bruce and Mark Becker have created more than 5000 one-of-a-kind ice cream flavors, many of them adapted from their grandfather’s original recipes. Daily flavor experiments mean that the menu is ever-changing, but Corn on the Cob (a summer favorite), Horseradish, Garlic, Pizza, and Jalapeño have all made the lineup.

10. Pig’s blood & koji

Blood sausage? Meet blood ice cream. Blood can be used as a substitute for eggs in recipes, and in 2014, the expert chefs at the nonprofit Nordic Food Lab developed a recipe for blood ice cream using koji, a fermented barley, instead of cocoa for flavor. But if you do have chocolate, it’s a classic pairing for pig’s blood, used in Italian desserts like sanguinaccio dolce.

11. Caribou fat

Traditionally, "eskimo ice cream," or akutaq, is made with caribou or another animal fat that’s whipped up with berries. These days, some substitute in Crisco, and it can also be made savory by mixing in ground meat instead of berries. Either way, it’s a frothy dessert that has been a favorite in Alaska for centuries. The recipes vary from family to family and place to place, so you should probably try a lot of it.

12. Mushrooms

An assortment of mushrooms in a bowl
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Coolhaus’s Candy Cap Mushroom ice cream has hints of maple, vanilla, and naturally, earthy mushroom. It’s made by soaking sweet Candy Cap mushrooms in the Coolhaus ice cream base to achieve a potent, foresty taste.

13. Carrot ginger

Carrot ginger ice cream is like eating a very creamy smoothie. At Sweet Action Ice Cream in Denver, it’s made with real carrot juice and fresh-grated ginger to give it a little zing. You're welcome to pretend it's part of your juice cleanse.

14. Garlic

Garlic ice cream is a must-have at the annual Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California. At The Stinking Rose, an L.A.- and San Francisco-based restaurant where the motto is "we season our garlic with food," you can top off your meal with Gilroy garlic ice cream drizzled with caramel mole sauce. Or you can make your own garlic-tastic ice cream at home.

15. Burnt sage

Woman hand holding herb bundle of dried sage smudge stick smoking
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Morgenstern’s in New York City recently debuted Burnt Sage, an herby ice cream made with sage that has been charred over an open flame then soaked in cream. The savory delicacy is then dipped in chocolate.

16. Ranch dressing

Little Baby’s Ice Cream in Philadelphia debuted its Ranch ice cream in 2015, and it’s now on steady rotation. The ice cream base is loaded up with buttermilk, garlic, chives, and dill to give it that cool salad taste.

17. Grape nuts

New Englanders sing the praises of Grape-Nuts-laced ice cream, a regional specialty. The Grape-Nuts (a wheat and barley breakfast staple) are blended into vanilla ice cream, creating a delicious dessert you can justify as being at least somewhat fibrous. Try it at Grass Roots Creamery in Granby, Connecticut.

18. Beet greens

Freshly picked beets from the garden in an enamel tub
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The Portland-based shop Salt & Straw is turning beets into frozen treats. Previously, Salt & Straw's Los Angeles outpost used discarded beet greens to create Top of the Beet, a beet jam and beet-leaf sugar brittle flavor. In August 2017, the Portland store debuted Aquabeet, a bright pink flavor that combines locally grown beets with Aquavit, the Scandinavian-style spirit.

19. Earl Grey Sriracha

If you’re a Sriracha addict, it’s not difficult to get your favorite hot sauce onto your dessert spoon. At Glacé Ice Cream in Kansas City, they've been known to mix Sriracha with the cool bergamot of Earl Grey tea to create an ice cream that’s a perfect mix of sweet, creamy, and spicy.

20. Lox

At Max and Mina’s Ice Cream in Queens, New York, ice cream is an appropriate brunch food. Their lox flavor consists of vanilla ice cream mixed with bits of Nova smoked salmon, cream cheese, and salt for that perfect bagel-and-lox taste.

21. Cheddar cheese

Portion of Cheddar (detailed close-up shot) on vintage wooden background
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If you’re going to eat your apple pie with ice cream and cheddar cheese, you might as well just eat it with cheddar cheese ice cream. That’s what Joy Williams, the pastry chef at Wednesday’s Pie in Denver, was thinking when she began testing out her frozen cheese dessert. She ended up using a cheddar cheese powder instead of fresh cheese to retain the smooth texture of the ice cream, but the bright orange dessert was still a huge hit. You can keep an eye out for the off-menu special on the shop’s Instagram page.

22. Miso

OddFellows Ice Cream in New York City has come up with hundreds of wacky and original flavors since it opened its first location in 2013, and they haven’t shied away from using miso, the popular Japanese soy paste. They've recently had Miso Cherry on rotation, which combines the salty, earthy flavor of miso with more traditional dessert tastes. If you want to make your own miso ice cream, most recipes suggest using white miso, a more subtle variety that pairs well with fruits, caramel, and more.

23. Goat cheese cashew caramel

Black Dog Gelato in Chicago is famous for its goat cheese-cashew-caramel ice cream, which is the only flavor on the rotating menu that you’re guaranteed to find every time you visit. The goat cheese gives it a flavor similar to a cheesecake, and the sweet-savory combo is a huge hit.

24. Port wine and fig

Why kick back with a glass of wine after a hard day's work when you can grab a cup of port wine and fig ice cream from Missouri's Glacé Artisan Ice Cream? Seems like a fair tradeoff.

25. Kale lime

A pile of fresh kale
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Kale lime leaf: healthy salad or delicious dessert? At Frankie & Jo’s in Seattle, it’s definitely the latter. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the shop is all vegan, and the kale-flavored ice cream—which is a specialty item—is made with coconut oil and cocoa butter rather than dairy.

26. Durian

Durian—the world's smelliest fruit, which has had its odor mistaken for a gas leak on more than one occasion—is also a key ingredient in the Snowdae at C Fruit Life, a Hong Kong-based cafe and tea shop which has opened locations in Boston, Chicago, and Portland, Oregon. The dessert is a mix of durian and mango ice cream topped with chewy mochi balls, fresh chunks of mango, and mango "bubbles" that pop in your mouth. With all of that sweet fruit, diners swear the durian flavor is downplayed.

27. Cardamon black pepper

Since 1945, Sonny's Ice Cream in Minneapolis has been churning out small batches of artisanal ice cream, gelato, and sorbet using some fascinating and exotic flavors. Among some of their most interesting varietals: Organic Cucumber Pinot Grigio, Black Licorice, and Cardamom Black Pepper.

28. Black licorice

Frost—a gelato shop with locations in New Mexico, Texas, California, Arizona, and Virginia—has been creating gelato the old-fashioned, Roman way since 2005. Part of what sets the mini-chain apart is its willingness to take chances on unique flavors, like green tea, cioccolato al perperoncino, lotus cookie, Guinness, and black licorice.

29. Goat cheese with red cherries

Fresh goat cheese on a slate
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As one of the country’s most decorated ice cream makers, Jeni Britton Bauer—proprietor of Ohio-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams—is constantly pushing the boundaries of unique treats, as evidenced by her lineup of innovative flavors, including Goat Cheese With Red Cherries.

30. Coconut lime jalapeno

Juneau, Alaska's Coppa prides itself on preparing an innovative menu of fresh foods daily, including a regularly rotating lineup of homemade ice cream that has a tendency to get experimental on occasion. They've used turmeric in past iterations, and have found a large fan base for their sweet-meets-sour-with-a-kick coconut cream jalapeno flavor.

31. Foie gras

A plate of foie gras
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New York City's OddFellows takes the "odd" in its name seriously, and has become synonymous with experimental flavors. Since opening their doors in 2013, they've concocted hundreds of different kinds of the cold stuff—including a foie gras varietal.

32. Old Bay caramel

Anyone who has ever scarfed down a helping of Boardwalk fries or grew up in the Maryland area no doubt knows the distinctive taste (and smell) of Old Bay seasoning. The Charmery, a beloved ice cream shop with two Maryland locations, has an Old Bay and caramel flavored ice cream as part of their regular rotation of flavors.

33. Sriracha

Like a little heat with your ice cream? Mason's Creamery in Cleveland, Ohio has a range of unique sauces to pair with your ice cream choices, with a sweet vanilla and Sriracha sauce cream being one of the most (surprisingly) popular combos.

34. Pear and Blue Cheese

“Salty-sweet” is the preferred palette at Portland, Oregon-based Salt & Straw, where sugar and spice blend together nicely with flavors like strawberry honey balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper and pear with blue cheese, a well-balanced mix of sweet Oregon Trail Bartlett pears mixed with crumbles of Rogue Creamery's award-winning Crater Lake Blue Cheese. Yum?

35. Cheetos

Shots of crunchy cheese puffs close up
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Big Gay Ice Cream started out as an experimental ice cream truck and morphed into one of New York City’s most swoon-worthy ice cream shops, where the toppings make for an inimitable indulgence. One of their most unique culinary inventions? A Cheetos-inspired cone, where vanilla and cheese ice cream is dipped in Cheetos dust.

36. Fruitcake

Fruitcake is the dessert that keeps on giving ... mostly because it seems to last forever, and a lot of them remain unopened. But at Leopold's Ice Cream in Savannah, Georgia, has been serving up a delicious version of the holiday treat for 100 years now: Their Tutti Frutti is a delightful dish of rum ice cream with candied fruit and fresh roasted Georgia pecans mixed in.

37. Horse flesh

There are two dozen attractions within Tokyo’s indoor amusement park, Namja Town, but it would be easy to spend all of your time there pondering the many out-there flavors at Ice Cream City, where raw horse flesh, cow tongue, salt, Yakisoba, octopus, and squid are among the flavors that have tickled (or strangled) visitors' taste buds.

38. Sweet avocado cayenne

A woman holds up a freshly slice avocado
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Avocado may be one of the world's most popular superfoods, but spreading it on a piece of toast or dropping it into a salad is the way it's most often consumed. However, that's not the case at Rococo Artisan Ice Cream, a popular spot with a handful of locations in Maine. There, you'll find the green stuff churned into a deliciously soft ice cream, then given a little kick of heat with some cayenne pepper. It's a shock to the taste buds—but in a good way.

39. Ghost Pepper

“Traditional” isn’t the word you’d choose to describe any of the 100 ice cream varieties at The Ice Cream Store in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. They don’t have vanilla, they have African Vanilla or Madagascar Vanilla Bean. But things only get wilder from there, and the shop’s proprietors clearly have a penchant for the spicy stuff. In addition to their Devil's Breath Carolina Reaper Pepper Ice Cream—a bright red vanilla ice cream mixed with cinnamon and a Carolina Reaper pepper mash—there's also the classic Ghost Pepper Ice Cream, which was featured in a Ripley's Believe It or Not book in 2016. Just be warned: you'll have to sign a waiver if you plan to order either flavor.

40. Honey and roasted garlic

If our previous mention of a garlic ice cream didn't entice you, maybe this sweeter take on the frozen stuff—which features a little kick of honey—will. It's one of the many unique flavors you'll find at Denver's Sweet Action Ice Cream, which makes fresh batches of ice cream using all sorts of unexpected ingredients daily.

41. Bourbon and Corn Flake

You never know exactly which flavors will appear as part of the daily-changing lineup at San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe, but they always make room for the signature Secret Breakfast. Made with bourbon and Corn Flakes, you’d better get there early if you want to try it; it sells out quickly and on a daily basis.

42. Fig and fresh brown turkey

Roasted turkey breast on table
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The sweet-toothed scientists at New York City’s Il Laboratorio del Gelato have never met a flavor they didn’t like—or want to turn into an ice cream. How else would one explain the popularity of their Fig & Fresh Brown Turkey gelato, a popular selection among the hundreds flavors they have created thus far. (Beet and Cucumber are just two of their other fascinating flavors.)

43. Creole tomato

The philosophy at New Orleans’ Creole Creamery is simple: “Eat ice cream. Be happy.” What’s not as easy is choosing from among their dozens of rotating ice creams, sorbets, sherbets and ices. But only the most daring of diners might want to swap out a sweet indulgence for something that sounds more like a salad, as it the case with the Creole Tomato.

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