The 20 Best Beers in the World
A Nerd’s List of the Tastiest Brews to Try

A great beer satisfies on many levels. It quenches the thirst, appeals to the eye, flirts with your taste buds and calms the nerves. It’s also the best accompaniment yet devised for bbq fare and parties great and small and if you’re not enjoying a tall one while you’re at the baseball game, well, we just don’t know what to say. To pay homage to this most versatile and satisfying of adult beverages, we’ve brought together a list of the 20 best tasting beers in the world as rated by beer drinkers, including our very own panel of eager judges. So pour yourself a cold one, sit back and enjoy and find out what’s the best beer to try.


1. Toppling Goliath Brewing Company Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout

Toppling Goliath Brewing CompanyThe top beer on our list has a robust flavor, enchanting aroma and rich mocha profile. Toppling Goliath Brewing Company’s Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout is creamy and satisfying, loaded with coffee and is one of the best-tasting beers to drink. From the breathtaking bouquet to the lip-licking maple aftertaste you’re going to fall hard for KBBS.

If you can find it. Because if there’s one downside here, it’s not with the liquor, but with the fact it’s not widely distributed. If you have the opportunity though don’t waste a second snapping up this top-rated beer. You won’t be sorry. ABV 12%


2. Westvleteren XII (Abdij St. Sixtus)

Westvleteren XIIThere are 10 Trappist monasteries in the world that brew. Almost none were known outside the local European communities where they are located. At least that was the case until word got out in 2005 that the Trappists of Saint Sixtus in Vleteren, Belgium might be producing a solid good tasting beer.

They call their brew Westvleteren XII and they produce 126,000 gallons of this dark, quadruple style ale per year. Though demand for Westvleteren XII has reached epic proportions, the monks refuse to ramp up production. Much to their credit and to your inconvenience. ABV 10.2%


3. Cuvée Armand & Gaston (3 Fonteinen)

Cuvée Armand & Gaston Oude Gueuze utilizes the coCuvée Armand & Gastonmpany’s own lambic blend (a return to form after they were forced to use wort from other brewers for several years in the wake of a major equipment failure) to produce one of the most flavorful beers around. It has an attractive gold hue and a beige head with some real fortitude.

The taste is slightly sweet with vague mineral overtones and the balance is complex and free from distractions. It’s really a best tasting beer to come from the lambic tradition. ABV 6%.


4. The Alchemist Heady Topper

The Alchemist Heady TopperRumor has it that single cans of Heady Topper DIPA were recently selling in LA for $25 per can. And selling well. We don’t know if we’d pay that much but we’d surely consider it because this well-balanced, slightly fruity double IPA packs a subtle punch that’s more like a friendly nudge and leaves you with a clean, if slightly bitter, aftertaste.

Like the European beers already featured in other beer rankings, you’ll need to travel to the brewer’s hometown to pick up some Heady Topper (unless you want to pay $25 per can in LA). ABV 8%


5. Dark Lord Imperial Stout (Three Floyds)

Best beer Dark Lord Imperial StoutWhile the cartoony label here seems poorly considered don’t let it interfere with your enjoyment of the product itself which has coffee, molasses and vanilla overtones, a dark robust body, a creamy head that insists on its importance to the overall experience, and an ABV of 15%.

It’s one of the top beers around but if you want to pick up a 6-pack of Dark Lord Imperial Stout you’ll need to make the pilgrimage to Munster, Indiana in April during the only day in the year when this beer is sold. ABV 15%


6. Russian River Pliny the Younger

Russian River Pliny the YoungerRR PtY is a hoppy brew for those who are enamored by those. That hoppy flavor comes from the fact that this is not a DIPA — it’s actually a TIPA. That’s right, a triple India pale ale with three times the hops of a standard IPA.

The aromatic hops seem to be the overriding feature of PtY, until you actually take a mouthful of this top-rated beer and the hops recede and a more refined flavor is tasted. There are fruity overtones as well as pine and a hint of wheat grass and the aftertaste is light and playful. ABV 10.25%


7. Lambic d’Aunis (Cantillon)

Lambic d'AunisLambic d’Aunis is an experimental beer (by its maker’s own admission) that attempts to repurpose an older species of grape which winds up infusing the brew with some peppery overtones. This particular brew is often mistaken for one of the brewery’s earlier efforts, Zwanze 2011.

This is a distinctly flavorful brew and is perhaps one of the greatest beers around, although that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to taste like what you think beer should taste. ABV 6.5%


8. Brasserie de Rochefort Trappistes Rochefort 10

Brasserie de RochefortBrasserie de Rochefort Trappistes Rochefort 10 possesses a thick, frothy character, with sedimentary accents that seem to take command of your glass rather than simply fill it. The cacophony of aromas is mesmerizing and occupies virtually the entire spectrum from fruity to spicy with discrete remnants of the barrel-aged woods that gave it birth.

It’s the kind of brew that slowly transforms as it warms with the malt taking on different personalities. In the running for best beer to drink. ABV 11.3%


9. Närke Kaggen Stormaktsporter Börb’n å Hallon (Närke Kulturbryggeri)

Närke Kaggen StormaktsporterThis is a special anniversary Russian Imperial Stout from Närke Kulturbryggeri in Örebro, Sweden. It’s brewed in bourbon oak barrels and has a personality infused with coffee, raspberry, chocolate and bourbon overtones. The aroma is easy on the nose with a slightly acidic quality while the taste is rather syrupy, sweet and heavy.

Some postulate that this only makes it into discussions about the best tasting beer because it’s fairly hard to get a hold of. But that ignores the fact that it’s actually one of the tastiest beers around. ABV 10.5%


10. Szalpiw Buba Extreme Whiskey Barrel Aged

Szalpiw Buba Extreme Whiskey best beerAt 16% ABV this Polish quad beer lives up to the “whiskey” in its name. The taste is very dark with caramel and date overtones that also exudes an air of cognac and even heavy oak. If you like your craft beer to take command of your senses this is the one for you.

Heavy and potent, it has a rich taste that doesn’t cross the line into punishment just to make its point. The aforementioned air of cognac and heavy oak is a result of it being aged in genuine Jack Daniels whiskey barrels. One of our favorite top rated beers. ABV 16%


11. Song of Joy (Hill Farmstead)

Song of Joy (Hill Farmstead)Hoppy and pleasant, this is a top rated beer that aims to please and does so from pouring to lip-licking conclusion. This is a malty brew with citrus overtones and a slightly yeasty appearance. It’s full-bodied but not heavy, with a pleasant character that promotes a nice, leisurely appreciation.

If you can make the pilgrimage to the Hill Farmstead Brewery in Vermont you’re going to spend some time waiting in line for this great-tasting American beer but once you get a taste you’ll understand why. ABV 6.0%


12. Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout – Double Barrel-Aged

Cigar City Hunahpu's Imperial StoutWhen it comes to good beers, Cigar City’s Hunahpu Imperial Stout is like motor oil for your soul and in some ways might be the best flavored beer in the world. Inky black and seemingly lacking in carbonation, it slides down the throat in a lugubrious fashion that suggests you’ve done something wrong but then leaves a most satisfying bouquet of residue behind that speaks of oak, pepper, bourbon, chocolate and vanilla.

You’ll notice as soon as you raise your glass toward your the sensory organs that it has spent time being aged in both brandy and rum barrels. ABV 11.0%

You can also watch this imperial stout’s review on this clip from Gregsbeerreviews.


13. Mornin’ Delight (Toppling Goliath)

Mornin' Delight (Toppling Goliath)Unless you’re living the Roadhouse Blues lifestyle we’d advise against having too many of these first thing in the morning because, although delightful, the kick here is real. The maple syrup-infused aroma is pleasant to consider though.

This robust brew is well balanced with the muskier overtones playing off beautifully against the sweetness. Overall, its medium body and minimal carbonation makes it a characterless pour, but it’s a silky smooth drink that makes it one of our top beers. ABV 12%


14. Omnipollo/Siren Lorelei

OmnipolloLorelei by Omnipollo is an imperial porter with an inky black countenance that emerges from its distinctive bottle sans head. It emits an aroma infused with maple syrup, caramel, hazelnut and vanilla. You might want to just park your face over it and breathe in the ambience for a while before taking a drink.

One of the many surprising things about the brew is that what you smell is what you taste. If you’re hankering for top-rated beers that will put some hair on your back while they flirt with your taste buds, Lorelei might just be what the doctor ordered. ABV 10.5%


15. DIPA V3 (Cloudwater)

DIPA V3 (Cloudwater) as a top beerIf you can ignore the slightly creepy hand on the label reaching out toward you then you’ll find plenty inside a bottle of DIPA V3 to love. With this iteration, Cloudwater faithfully revisits one of their most successful ales. V3 has a lovely pale yellow coloration to go with its moderate carbonation and fruity bouquet.

You’ll enjoy the hoppy flavor and sweet aftertaste. Just be mindful that, like many other quality brews on this good beers list, DIPA V3 from Cloudwater is not widely available. ABV 8.5%


16. Stella Artois

Stella ArtoisStella Artois is likely the most widely distributed among the beers on this list. It’s also the property of Anheuser-Busch InBev. But don’t let that dissuade you from taking Stella out tonight. This is a typical Belgian lager with a mild hoppy aroma and a delightful light straw color.

It’s easy on the palate, produces a head with decent fortitude and is always among one of the top-rated beers. If you can’t jet off to a Trappist monastery in Europe for your craft beer fix Stella is the way to go. ABV 5.0%


17. Chimay White

Chimay WhiteWhite from Chimay is a hoppy, aromatic Trappist Belgian ale. It boasts a mild fruity aroma with oh-so-subtle spicy overtones and is one of the tastiest beers the Trappists make. Chimay also boasts what is without a doubt the widest market penetration of any of the Trappist ales and is widely available not only in Europe but also here in North America.

It feels creamy in the mouth while entertaining both taste buds and olfactory receptors. ABV 8%


18. Newcastle Brown Ale

Newcastle Brown AleLike Stella Artois, Newcastle Brown Ale is the product of a major international brewing conglomerate (in this case Heineken N.V.). Also, like Stella, Newcastle is none the worse for the experience. While it may not be the undisputed best beer in the world, it is a dependable, flavorful brown ale that makes a nice bridge between mainstream products and genuine craft beer.

Another good thing about Newcastle is that you can get it in plenty of bars so you don’t always have to default to Bud. ABV 4.7%


19. Blue Moon

Blue Moon beer bottle and glassIf you’re looking for top-rated beers you can serve at your next holiday barbeque then you can’t lose with Blue Moon. Yet another beer produced by a major brewery (this time Coors), Blue Moon nonetheless provides a very pleasant bouquet and, because it’s styled after classic Belgian ales, it sports a slightly cloudy appearance as a consequence of its unfiltered nature.

Blue Moon has an orange hue and when the aroma drifts into your nasal passages you’ll understand why. ABV 5.4%


20. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale as the best beerWe end this journey through the world’s top rated beer with this American pale ale from Sierra Nevada. SNPA boasts a slightly fruity aroma but is wonderfully balanced with sweetish malty notes and a discrete floral air. Nothing here that’s going to shake the beer world to its foundations yet at the same time a nice alternative to mainstream American lagers.

Less hoppy than some other IPAs, very enjoyable and leaves just enough bitterness on your tongue to remind you of its passing. ABV 5.6%


World’s Best Tasting Beers: Conclusion

The craft beer revolution of the late 20th and early 21st century has produced an embarrassment of riches for brew lovers. The top beers profiled above, whether produced in limited runs by Trappist monks or in the millions of gallons by international conglomerates, have all passed muster with connoisseurs on both sides of the pond who agree they are good beers to try.

While some will be harder to track down than others, no true beer aficionado should pass up the opportunity to snag one of these outstanding examples of the brewer’s art should they turn out to be available.

If, on the other hand, you want to try making your own brew, check out this simple guide on home brewing: Beer Brewing Made Easy. You’ll surely find something for you here whether you’re a complete beginner or a beer brewing expert.

How to brew beer - CTA