Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout

The beer that launched one of the craziest beer gatherings around is worth of the praise. Only brewed once a year and released at Cigar City, Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout is a chocolate wonder. Aged on cacao nibs, Madagascar vanilla beans, ancho chilis, and cinnamon, it’s the beer version of a cup of Mexican hot chocolate. Link

Imperial Stout • ABV: 11%

Funky Buddha Last Snow

Funky Buddha is one of the breweries that’s stormed onto the scene since the first Beer Bucket List published. The brewery, perhaps more than any other, has made beer more fun—though, it’s not like beer needed a lot of help in that category. With wild and interesting flavors, Funky Buddha brews the kind of beer even non-beer drinkers like. While Maple Bacon Coffee Porter may have received the most press, Last Snow is our pick from their incredible lineup. It tastes like a Samoa Girl Scout cookie. A six-and-a-half percent Samoa Girl Scout cookie. Link

Porter • ABV: 6.5%

Pliny the Younger

Yes, we’ve woken up at the buttcrack of dawn to stand in line for Pliny the Younger, Pliny the Elder’s beefed up relative. (You can read about it here.) And while many would laugh at you for doing something so ludicrous for one beer—and many did—we can say that Pliny the Younger is damn good. It’s scary how drinkable it is for being 11%, and, like the Elder, it’s perfectly balanced and oh so smooth. Link

Triple IPA • ABV: 11%

Westvleteren 12 (XII)

When multiple publications declared Westy 12 the best beer in the world a few years back, beer fans booked tickets to Belgium in droves. There was even a limited release in the U.S. that turned into a beer-hunting shitshow. Is it worthy of the hype? Well, it is really good; we’re not sure if it’s best beer in the world good, but it is a trappist gem. If you can’t get your hands on a bottle, you can still receive a half-check on your list by drinking St. Bernardus Abt 12, which is basically the same beer. Link

Quad • ABV: 10.2%

The Bruery Black Tuesday

The Bruery puts out a lot of big, bold gems, and none is finer than Black Tuesday. It’s thick, like pouring paint down your gullet, and loaded with flavor. You’ll get a ton of bourbon when you take a whiff, and that’s a good thing, if you ask us. Making your way through the alcohol burn, you’ll find coffee, fruit, and other rich notes. At 19%, it’s dangerous, but definitely worth a try. Link

Imperial Stout • ABV: 19.2%

Dieu du Ciel Péché Mortel

It’d be remiss of us to not include something from our beer-brewing neighbors from the north, and none is finer than Péché Mortel from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel. The stout, whose name means “Mortal Sin,” has a wonderful bitter coffee profile thanks to the fair trade beans used in brewing it. Creamy and luxurious with more bitterness than others deliver, which makes it an interesting Imperial Stout. Link

Imperial Stout • ABV: 9.5%

Three Floyds Dark Lord

A beer with an entire day named after it has to be a pretty important beer, and, luckily, Dark Lord is. While it’s billed as a Russian Imperial Stout, Dark Lord is really in a category all its own. The aroma and taste are unlike anything we’ve ever had. Some might have said soy sauce-y or too sweet, but we think it’s just really interesting. Whether you end up loving it or hating it, you need to try it. And with Dark Lord day just behind us—Aquavit variant? We’ll take your word for it, Three Floyds—you’ll have to wait until next year to score yourself a bottle (unless you wanted to go this route). Link

Russian Imperial Stout • ABV: 15%

Jack’s Abby Kiwi Rising

We’re not just throwing this on here because it’s delicious; we’re throwing Kiwi Rising on this list because it’s proof pilsners can be exciting. This is not the mass-produced pilsner you drank before you turned 21. Hoppy like an IPA and crisp like a pilsner, Kiwi Rising is truly fantastic. Here’s to hoping more breweries follow Jack’s Abby’s path. Link

Imperial Pilsner • ABV: 8.5%

Trappistes Rochefort 10

Few things are better than a great trappist brew you can find without too much difficulty. In a world of bottle release lines and trade forums, it’s nice to be able to drink something truly perfect without having to plan a vacation around acquiring it. Packed with a beautiful balance of brown sugar, dark fruit, and other classic quad notes, Trappistes Rochefort 10 is a masterpiece. Link

Quad • ABV: 11.3%

New Glarus R&D Wild Peach

New Glarus knows their fruit brews, and none is finer than R&D Wild Peach. The fruit of choice often gets lost in similar beers, but New Glarus gives peach the spotlight here. Tart, funky, kinda sweet, and very peachy. Link

Wild Ale • ABV: 7.25%

Toppling Goliath Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout

One brewery that has come on very strong since the first Beer Bucket List published is Toppling Goliath. With beers like PseudoSue, SR-71, and King Sue, they seem to crank out world-class brews on the regular. For this list, we’re going with their finest—and, most likely, hardest to get: Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout. The velvety stout is loaded with coffee and vanilla and has a mouthfeel that’s unparalleled. On a list of difficult beers to track down, this might be one of the trickiest. Link

Imperial Stout • ABV: 12%

Allagash White

A great beer doesn’t have to be incredibly strong or impossible to find; Allagash White will always be our go-to beer when we want something easy-drinking and flavorful. It’s the best American interpretation of a Belgian wheat beer. Bright, refreshing, and damn near perfect. Link

Witbier • ABV: 5%

Russian River Consecration

This one really should be labeled “Russian River (INSERT SOUR BEER NAME HERE).” All of Russian River’s sours are tremendous. We were torn between Consecration and Supplication but opted for the one we prefer ever so slightly. The dark sour ale is aged in local Cabernet Sauvignon barrels with some black currants. What emerges is a full-bodied, strong sour with spectacular fruit notes. Listen, you really can’t go wrong with any of Russian River’s sours, but Consecration happens to be our favorite. Link

Wild Ale • ABV: 10%

Rodenbach Caractère Rouge

It’s gonna be tough to track down a bottle of this Flanders Red, but if you do, you’re going to be treated to something crazy. Like fruit? Rodenbach Caractère Rouge rests in oak on cherries, cranberries and raspberries. Those tart and sweet berries come through in waves when you take a sip, and the finish is pleasant and long. It won’t become your everyday drinker—which is a good thing considering how rare it is—but trying it once should be a mission. Link

Flanders Red Ale • ABV: 7%

Hair of the Dog Adam From The Wood

We’re not going to put Dave on here, Hair of the Dog’s 29% barrel-aged wonder that sold for $2,000 a bottle, because we feel like a bucket list should be somewhat completable. We are going to put their second most interesting brew on the list, however. Adam From The Wood is a barrel-aged version of the brewery’s killer old ale, Adam. While it’s also tough to acquire, it’s not like sending you out there for Dave. If you can’t find it, try to find Cherry Adam From The Wood. If you can’t snag that, just go with straight Adam, it’s tremendous. Link

Old Ale • ABV: 12%

Founders KBS

For one week every year, beer fans visit bottle shops in hopes of finding a bottle or two of Kentucky Breakfast Stout from Founders. While not as hard to come by as CBS, KBS is still a brew that requires a little forethought to procure. After sitting in oak bourbon barrels for a year—hence the “Kentucky” part of its name—KBS emerges with a boozy sweet bourbon profile that’s packed with roasted coffee notes. The mouthfeel is silky smooth, and while others have imitated KBS and come close to its brilliance, we almost always find they have a bit too much of an alcohol burn on them, whereas KBS is just right. Link

Imperial Stout • ABV: 11.2%

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