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The Beer Bucket List (2.0): 30 Beers To Try Once in Your Lifetime

The Beer Bucket List (2.0): 30 Beers To Try Once in Your Lifetime

It’s been two years since we composed the first Beer Bucket List, and since that time, we’ve tasted thousands of other brews both new and old. Looking at the original list now, there are some changes we feel should be made. This is The Beer Bucket List 2.0. Included are 30 beers we think everyone should try once in their lives.

Westbrook Gose

Gose, a German-style of beer brewed with salt, only became popular in the U.S. over the last couple of years. Few breweries have knocked it out of the park the way Westbrook did. Westbrook Gose is refreshing and briney and available in cans for you to take to the beach to make the ocean water jealous. It’s puckering like sour candy and perfect in the summer. Link

Gose • ABV: 4%

Cantillon Fou’ Foune

Let’s get this out of the way: you can’t go wrong with anything from Cantillon. So, while it was extremely difficult to select just one of their beers for this list, we went with our favorite: Fou’ Foune. The name comes from the nickname of Fançois Daronnat, an apricot grower who sent the first batch of apricots to Cantillon for the creation of this beer. The result is something magnificent. Tart and packed with fresh, real apricot notes. Link

Lambic • ABV: 5%

The Alchemist Heady Topper

A lot has changed for The Alchemist since we published the first Beer Bucket List: the cannery closed to the public, Heady was pushed out to shops in greater volume, and they started canning other tremendous beers. Through it all, Heady Topper remains one of the most sought-after beers in the country. The Double IPA lives up to the hype. Packed with a juicy nose and just the right amount of bitterness. Link

Double IPA • ABV: 8%

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier

The German Hefeweizen is a style that American craft brewers have shied away from. It isn’t boundary-pushing or suited for grand experimentation, but when done right, it’s a drinkable work of art. None is better than this Bavarian legend. Hell, when you’re the oldest brewery in the world, you’ve had some time to fine-tune a recipe. It’s not some rare beer you have to attend a bottle release to get; it’s just good. Link

Hefeweizen • ABV: 5.4%

Hill Farmstead Abner

If there’s one thing we lament not including in the first list, it’s at least one beer from America’s best brewery. Since 2012, we’ve enjoyed our fair share of Shaun Hill’s creations, and can say that many could go on this list. To keep this from becoming a Hill Farmstead lovefest, we’re picking one: Abner. The Double IPA is the finest we’ve had. Bursting with fruit and pine notes, Abner is the kind of IPA worthy of the trip through the back roads of Vermont. And for all the warranted hype Heady, Pliny, Second Fiddle, and other DIPAs receive, Abner is our personal favorite. Basically, drive to the brewery and try whatever they have, and if it’s Abner, you’re in for something really special. Link

Double IPA • ABV: 8.2%

De Struise Pannepot

Among the things that have happened since the last Beer Bucket List published was our trip to Belgium. It was epic. And for all the Cantillon and abbey ales we consumed, one beer surprised us more than any other: Pannepot. De Struise’s first foray into “extreme” beers has a caramel complexity. Lots of toasted notes and flavors develop as it warms. And while they would go on to brew gems like Black Albert and the entire Black Damnation line, Pannepot was the one we fell in love with, and we think you will, too. Link

Quad • ABV: 10%

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout

If there was one omission we admit was a complete oversight when crafting the first list, it would have to be Bourbon County Stout. Listen, all the variants could make the list, especially the Vanilla Rye that had fans in a tizzy this past year, but we’re sticking with the classic. It’s the beer that makes Black Friday meaningful to beer nuts. The bourbon aroma warms your insides before you even take a sip of the the thick and creamy stout. Let it warm in your hands and come to life. The barrel-aged stout all others are judged against. Link

Imperial Stout • ABV: 13.8%

Bell’s Expedition Stout

Not every beer on this list requires long lines and a plane ticket. Bell’s Expedition Stout is our go-to stout when the weather starts to turn at the end of the year. It’s not hard to find, but it is crazy delicious. As one of the earliest Russian Imperial Stouts in the U.S., it set the bar for many brewers. While there are crazier RIS bottles to be had, Expedition Stout, with its chocolatey aroma and silky body, is accessible perfection. Link

Russian Imperial Stout • ABV: 10.5%

Three Floyds Zombie Dust

Whether you consider it a pale ale, like Three Floyds claims it is, or an IPA, you have to admit Zombie Dust is fantastic. It’s an intensely aromatic beer full of pineapple and other tropical fruit. Juicy and a perfect example of the Citra hop’s brilliance. Link

Pale Ale • ABV: 6.2%

Saison Dupont

It’s really worth traveling to Belgium to have this on tap. It’s a different beer than the green bottle you’re used to. One of the shining examples of the saison style, the beer is funky, citrusy, and tart. Saisons were originally brewed for farm workers after a long day in the field, and if those workers drank something as fine as Saison Dupont, we’re surprised more people didn’t pick up pitchforks. Link

Saison • ABV: 6.5%

Russian River Pliny the Elder

One day, when both are very old, Heady Topper and Pliny the Elder will sit down for a pint and talk about their battles. The two are the heavyweights of IPA America. Pliny the Elder is exquisitely balanced with notes of pine and citrus. No note juts out or dominates the beer, and that’s a good thing. Hoppy, malty, and just right. Link

Double IPA • ABV: 8%

Founders CBS

This year saw the return of one of the most sought-after beers around: Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout. And while many rare beers don’t live up to the hype, Canadian Breakfast Stout exceeds it. Brewed with chocolate and coffee and aged in bourbon barrels that housed maple syrup—hence the “Canadian” part of the name—CBS is smooth and sweet. No bottles this time around, but select bars did get to tap a fresh batch for desiring fans. Link

Imperial Stout • ABV: 10.6%

Maine Beer Co. Dinner

If Dinner had been around for the first iteration of this list, it would have easily found its way onto it. One of the finest new beers we’ve tasted over the last couple of years, Dinner, from Maine Beer Company, is a Double IPA with an aroma that explodes out of the bottle. Maine Beer Company has put on a show with their brews—Lunch is a personal favorite—but Dinner took things to another level. It will take some work to get your hands on a bottle, but it’s worth the effort. Link

Double IPA • ABV: 8.2%

Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze Vintage

Not to be confused with simply old bottles of Oude Geuze, Oude Geuze Vintage, which has been produced since 2002, gives the lads at Cantillon a run for their money. Funky, musty, and lemony, Oude Geuze Vintage is gem from Armand Debelder and company. Link

Gueuze • ABV: 6%

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