Your State's Best Beer: Part Four

Eno Sarris, November 20, 2014

In the first post, we covered Arkansas, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, Idaho, Tennessee, Nebraska, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Kansas, and Kentucky.

In the second post, Nevada, New Hampshire, Louisiana, Alabama, Utah, Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, and Oklahoma showed their best beers. 

The third post only covered Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Arizona, and Washington. 

So yeah, we're slowing down. This excercise has given us the chance to clean up the state boards -- not every beer comes over into our system with the correct origin information. If you notice a brewery without a state or city attached to it, please let us know! 

And now on to the beers that were just outside the elite.

#26) Colorado -- Avery Uncle Jacob's Stout (8.03 BAR, 122 Style+, 17.4% ABV)

Fitting that the strongest beer on our best beer by state leaderboard comes from the brewery with the strongest beers, on average. You'll get that alcohol when you taste Uncle Jacob, but it will come with thick mouthfeel, molasses, and roasty toasty malts and a little bit of chocolate. Avery sits atop the state with a sour in second place, but then you'll see how vibrant the beer community is as soon as you travel further down the rest of the top 25.  Ska, Crooked Stave, Left Hand, New Belgium, Odell, Oskar Blues, Boulder Beer, and Dry Dock -- that's a nice collection of breweries. Make Colorado a beer destination if you have enough time to travel the state. But go get Avery's best if you want the best the state has to offer. 

#25) North Carolina -- NoDa Hop, Drop n' Roll (8.39 BAR, 124 Style+, 7.2% ABV)

Out from Charlotte comes a hop bomb with great character. Amarillo and Citra give it the lemony, earthy feel, while the blended base malts manage to stand up and give it a well-balanced Big IPA taste. Some even call it juicy. NoDa is the class of Charlotte, but this state has more to offer. Some of the big breweries from out west are moving in, and Asheville gives the state a second hub of innovation. If you want Charlotte (and the state's best), go to NoDa. But you may want to consider Asheville and Wicked Weed (for the sours) and Highland Brewing if you want more of a varied beer scene. Either way, North Carolina is on the way up. 

#24) Texas -- Jester King Atrial Rubicite (8.34 BAR, 136 Style+, 5.8% ABV)

Texas. The only state to be led by a sour. Maybe that's not surprising if you've had Atrial Rubicite. It's basically a whale -- currently 859 people on Beer Advocate have registered as wanting the beer, and only 264 have received it in their inbox. It's a bottle-conditioned farmhouse raspberry sour that's described as having a jam-like mouthfeel while still finishing tart. You'll get some oak too from this lacto sour. The 2013 Pumpkinator from Saint Arnold may technically be in first place, but the Rubicite is more year-round, and given its status as a sought-after beer, it seems like the best choice to lead the state. The state's beer scene is coming 0n -- Saint Arnold, Jester King, Hops & Grain, Karbach to name a few -- but given Texas only trails California in population, maybe there's more upside here. 

#23) District of Columbia -- DC Brau On The Wings of Armageddon (8.43 BAR, 119 Style+, 9.2% ABV)

The second-smallest region/state in the union makes a big beer that's on its way to my house right now, thanks to a bet I won. That it can get notes of lemon, herbs, pineapple, and pine while being a single-hopped beer is remarkable. Perhaps that's because the single hop is Falconer's Flight, which is actually a hops blend. In any case, this DIPA is worth the trip to DC even if the "state" only has a couple other big beers worth searching out. Unless, of course, you can get some of number eight from the nation's number one politico. Yes, that's a honey ale I'd like to try, no matter my political leanings. 

#22) New Mexico -- La Cumbre Elevated IPA (8.48 BAR, 127 Style+, 7.2% ABV)

La Cumbre with a clean sweep, all IPAs, at the top of the New Mexico state boards! I might go for the Full Nelson because I love Nelson, and there's Project Dank for the danksters, but the consensus is that Elevated is a worthy beer. A west coast hop bomp (100 IBU) with pine and citrus, there's not much of a malt backbone to the beer, but the honey resin does balance the bitter. Some tout the freshness and say it's almost a wet-hop beer with vegetable thickness. In any case, La Cumbre and Marble -- both in Albuquerque -- look like they are the class of what might be an under-rated state. 

#21) New Jersey -- Carton Boat Beer (8.87 BAR, 129 Style+, 4.2% ABV)

Sure. It's the second-weakest beer to lead a state. And it's got 'session beer' all over the label. And some people don't like the session beer trend. Try not to hold it against the aptly-named Boat Beer. It manages to get you a grapey grapefruit citrus blast with pine and moss -- all on top of Kolsch malts and a low-ABV crusher that you could take out fishing with you. New Jersey's beer laws have made brewing in the state tougher than they should be, so in Carton and Kane you can get 14 of the top 15 beers in the state. That's not a lot of diversity, so let's hope the next breweries that make it through the legal gauntlet can help shake up the state boards and provide another worthy beer for the tri-state region.