Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen
Widmers’ initial contribution wasn’t so much about what they did as it was what they didn’t do: filter their Hef. It was cloudy, citric, perfect for summer, and people had no idea what the hell to do with Hef when the brothers started delivering it by hand to local pubs. Widmer’s now a national name with national backing, but they’ve remained in North Portland (where the Hef was born in 1986). In a city now known for its wealth of inventive and experimental beers, the Widmers remain trailblazers, mentors, and Beervana’s biggest success story.
It's not just Pennsylvania's oldest brewery, it's America's. And Yuengling Lager is not just Pennsylvania's best-selling craft beer -- it's likely America's, too. The brewery has been No. 1 on this esteemed list ranking the most popular craft breweries since 2014. In an era where brands are swallowed up by larger brands at a rapid clip, Yuengling still produces the lager in two Pottsville brewing facilities (and one in Tampa, Florida, too, but PA is inarguably home). It's impossible to overstate what the brewery and its flagship lager means to Pennsylvania. Case in point: order a lager in PA, and you'll be handed a Yuengling. Every time.
Grey Sail Captain's Daughter
Double IPA, 8.5%
Let's just get this painful bit of news out of the way: even though Narragansett is in the process of opening a new brewery in Pawtucket, its flagship beer is brewed in Rochester, New York. Ineligible! While there are great breweries in Rhode Island, like Grey Sail and Proclamation, calling any of their tasty brews Rhode Island's iconic beer feels… wrong. But we're going to do it anyway. Grey Sail's Captain's Daughter is a hazy, huge DIPA perfectly suited to please fans of the New England IPA style. It's not RI's oldest beer, but it’s certainly an icon in the Ocean State's small but mighty craft scene.
Westbrook One Claw Rye Pale Ale
American Pale Ale, 6%
South Carolina isn’t exactly known for top-notch beer, but they sure as heck know their food. That’s why Westbrook’s One Claw takes the cake as SC’s most iconic. First off, the adorable little can features an even more adorable little crab, paying homage to the coastal state’s world-class seafood (one can only imagine what became of the poor guy’s other claw…). And, of course, the peppery, citrusy rye-spiked IPA is perfectly engineered to make just about any cuisine in Charleston sing louder than Hootie and the Godfather of Soul himself combined. So if you’re considering making a trip down to the South’s culinary mecca -- and you definitely, definitely should -- make sure to save some room for a case or two of Westbrook’s finest. You won’t be sorry.
Crow Peak 11th Hour IPA
In a state where the beer of choice is often “whatever’s cold,” relative newcomer Crow Peak -- stationed in the scenic hamlet/college town Spearfish at the base of the Black Hills – gets a nod simply by canning and bottling an IPA that you can get in pretty much any bar in the state. That it happens to be an IPA with enough bite and nuance to roll with the folks on the West Coast is what makes it outstanding. Crow Peak is basically changing the perception of beer in South Dakota, one convert at a time.
Yazoo Gerst Amber
While the GABF gold medal-winning Hefeweizen is arguably the best-known offering from Tennessee’s best-known brewery, it’s the old-school, palate-pleasing Gerst Amber that nails the most iconic category. Its retro design and classic stubby brown bottle instantly evoke a sense of turn of the century industrial charm -- and that’s no accident. Gerst was the name of Nashville’s very first brewery, and though it sadly didn’t survive Prohibition’s wrath, Yazoo decided to resurrect the celebrated Amber with the help of a local, Gerst-related restaurant. This is no knock-your-socks-off IPA, just a good, old-fashioned, and even-keel lazy summer Tennessee original.
American Adjunct Lager, 4.65%
Cool your britches. Texas has enough room for two different iconic lagers, and we hemmed, hawed, and pondered for a while here. Then we drank several Lone Stars and, well, that just gave it the edge over Shiner. San Antonio’s second most famous institution (right behind some basement-less fort we’re not allowed to forget) is now brewed in Fort Worth. But it’s still the same ol’ lager: great on a hot day. Pairs well with chicken fried steak and BBQ. You can drink a half-dozen unfazed, and it tastes pretty much like what every blue-blooded American would think a beer out of a can should taste like. And, crucially, the cans are much, much better for making weird little voodoo dolls. Alright alright alright.
Uinta Cutthroat Pale Ale
Pale Ale, 4%
Salt Lake City
Brewing in SLC is generally shrouded in mystery and myth, as if the entire city’s got a Zion Curtain in place to convince everybody that there are no beers over 3.2%, and those ones must be consumed while wearing special underpants. Since 1993, Uinta has been breaking down misconceptions. It all started with the flagship Cutthroat, a malty, copper-hued beauty that sneaks up to IPA-level bitterness, but keeps things mellow with a 4% ABV. That’s way more than 3.2%, though nothing compared to the boozy bombs made by Utah’s best damned brewery, but it all started with Cutthroat.