Texas: Jester King Brewery
Because you root against a brewery with beers named Black Metal, Commercial Suicide, and Weasel Rodeo, Jester King gets the TX nod over the state's wealth of crafters (Deep Ellum, Peticolas, Shiner, Austin Beerworks, Real Ale, Live Oak...) for its USDA organic certification, crazy use of barrel-aging and wild yeast, and big, bold flavors that embody Texas.
Kentucky: Against the Grain Brewery
Bluegrass Brewing Co might be the most well-known KY brewery (and the most awarded at GABF), but their Louisville counterpart Against the Grain consistently pushes the envelope and challenges the bourbon-drinking population of KY to pay attention. To wit: the Golden Sower, an amazingly named Brett beer, an imperial stout made with a Danish brewery, and a much-loved smoked beer aged in bourbon barrels called Bo and Luke.
Louisiana: NOLA Brewing
Though it's only about five years old, NOLA Brewing's doing its damnedest to put New Orleans on the map for something other than it's celebrated Beads for Boobs program; it's giving Abita a solid run for its money by actually making beers with the best ingredients regardless of cost, resulting in beers like the six malt, six hop IPA Hopitoulas and a citrusy, sweet, 8.8% ABV double IPA with one of the best beer names ever: Mechahopzilla
Florida: Cigar City Brewing
The Tampa brewery stands head and very tan shoulders above other Sunshine State brewers, hitting a home run with just about every beer it touches (and that includes beer aged on baseball bats
). Their Hunaphus Imperial Stout, with subtle, perfectly executed hints of chili, is one of the best beers you'll find anywhere.
Alabama: Good People Brewing Company
So endorsed by the fine people of Alabama that they actually have a pub in the airport, Good People's standout is the big, bold double IPA Snake Handler, whose orange-flavored bite matches its surprisingly floral bite.
Mississippi: Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company
MS isn’t exactly a hotbed of craft brewing activity, but it is
a hotbed of Larry the Cable Guy tour stops. Presumably. Still, Lazy Magnolia has a nice following among beer drinkers in the state, as they’ve won a couple of World Beer Cup medals and won over people with their ongoing barrel-aged series that includes the Southern Belle, which takes the Southern Pecan Nut Ale and ages it in Pinot barrels.