The 18 Best Beers to Crack Open in 2020 and Beyond
Hello! Hi! If you happened to miss it, just a week ago we launched Kitchn Essentials: Bar Edition — the ultimate guide to drinking at home in the year 2020 and beyond. Our timing was, uh, intentional to say the least. With an important election just a few days away, and an unconventional holiday season right on its heels, we thought you might need some extra assistance in getting your beer fridges, wine racks, and bar carts nice and situated. We polled Kitchn staffers and worked with a panel of experts to come up with our official list.
Today, we wanted to start with a look at our beer picks. Few a few reasons — one of them being the fact that our list actually starts with Corona. Yes, in 2020. (Stay with us, please.) Here are our 18 top picks for beers to crack open for the rest of this terrible year … and beyond.
Everyday Beer: Corona
Poor Corona. Please don’t let this ridiculously horrible year stop you from stuffing a lime down the neck of this still-most-swiggable beer that we all love. Yes, it’s a basic pick from a sea of interesting craft beers, but couldn’t we all use something simple these days?
Buy: Corona, from $17.99 for 12 at Drizly
Everyday Ale: Post Brewing Company GSD
You know how sometimes you want to have your beer and drink it too? Thanks to the Colorado-based brewpub chain Post Brewing Company (where “hot chicken loves cold beer”), you can totally toss back some cold ones and still “Get S*** Done.” (Yes, that’s what GSD stands for.) It may only be 3.5% in alcohol, but it still delivers that brown malt flavor sensory reward.
Read more: Post Brewing Company GSD
IPA: Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale
With love from Michigan, Two Hearted is “hands-down one of the most awarded, coveted, talked-about and deserving India Pale Ales on the planet,” says Julia Herz, a BJCP Certified beer judge, an award-winning home brewer, a Certified Cicerone, and beer educator. And among beer nerds, it made Centennial hops famous. If you’re not familiar, know that these hops level out bitterness and add the flavors and aromas of grapefruit and pine.
Buy: Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale, from $9.99 for four at Drizly
Hazy IPA: The Alchemist Brewery Focal Banger
Heady Topper is one of the most well-known IPAs out there. (It can also be pretty hard to find because so many people want to scoop it up!) So allow us to suggest HT’s little sister, Focal Banger, made by the same brewery. Pro tip: Drink it straight from the can, and not too cold, so you make the most of that hoppy experience.
Buy: The Alchemist Brewery Focal Banger, from $18.99 for four at Drizly
Sour Beer: The Lost Abbey Red Poppy
When a beer writer says words can’t do something justice, we just take her word for it and give said beer a try. This Belgian-style red ale with sour cherries, a blended barrel aged beer from a revered San Diego-based brewery, is the perfect pairing with salty, fatty deliciousness. Julia says it’s extra wonderful with barbecue.
Buy: The Lost Abbey Red Poppy, from $16.99 for 375ml at Drizly
Lager: Sierra Nevada Summerfest
Crisp, clean, and smooth, this Pilsner-style lager with German noble hops brings a balancing bump of bitterness, Julia says, making it totally sessionable and rewarding to drink. We think it’s summer in a bottle, which is still kinda nice during these colder months.
Buy: Sierra Nevada Summerfest, $8.99 for six at Total Wine
Belgian-Style Beer: Tripel Karmeliet
This gorgeous Belgian tripel deserves the elegant Karmeliet glass it should be poured in. “Oh-so-creamy and luscious, it makes me as happy as if I were lapping up fresh maple syrup — but boozier,” says Dana McMahan, a certified Executive Bourbon Steward and a Kentucky Colonel. (And they’re not messing around at 8.4%!)
Buy: Tripel Karmeliet, from $12.99 for 750ml at Drizly
Beer for Election Night: Unibroue La Fin Du Monde
Oh yeah, this is going to be a NIGHT. The kind of night that calls for a boozy, delicious, easy-drinking tripel. No parlez-vous Français? The name of this beer translates to “the end of the world.” We’ll just drop that right there without comment.
Buy: Unibroue La Fin Du Monde, from $9.46 for 750ml at Drizly
Beer to End Your Day With: Allagash White
Need a beer to signify that it’s time to close your laptop and sign off of work for the day? We’ve got you covered. Palatable beyond belief, this light-bodied Maine brew packs clove and vanilla notes along with an inviting collar of foam. Need a snack, too? Julia suggests pairing it with lighter cheeses or even a lightly toasted slice of sourdough bread dressed with butter and salt.
Buy: Allagash White, $8.99 for four at Total Wine
Beer for Pizza Night: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
When you’re talking a pairing as quintessential as pizza and beer, you’ve GOT to get it right. Done. Take it from Julia: “The pale malt flavors from this beer go with toasted bread crust edges of wood-fired pizza like two high-school kids on their third date.” If you want something less mainstream, allow us to suggest Little Kings.
Buy: Samuel Adams Boston Lager, from $3.49 for 22 ounces
Beer for Any Kind of Takeout: 21st Amendment El Sully
It’s a question for the ages, and Julia has the answer: “When you get takeout and don’t know what beer to pair with it, you cannot go wrong with El Sully. It will wake up your palate and ease you into any meal.” With graham cracker pilsner malt notes and virtually no bitterness, we’re in.
Buy: 21st Amendment El Sully, $9.99 for six at Total Wine
Beer for People Who Don’t Like Beer: Ommegang Three Philosophers
We’re not all beer people and that’s OK. If you fall in that camp, though, it’s worth giving this Belgian-style brew a try. When an expert says it’s from the heavens, we pay attention. With layered malt flavors and cherry notes (plus higher ABV and carbonation than the usual brew) this may just make you rethink beer altogether.
Buy: Ommegang Three Philosophers, from $12.19 for 750ml at Drizly
Extra-Super-Duper-Hoppy Beer: Fremont Brewing Field to Ferment Pale Ale
We’ve got your hops right here. This Seattle-based brewery is right near one of the world’s most prolific hop regions. Luckily, they’re all about sharing the love with this hoppy goodness.
Read more: Fremont Brewing Field to Ferment Pale Ale
Craft Beer Club: Craft Beer Club
For those looking to learn about lots of different craft breweries around the country, there’s Craft Beer Club. Sign up and you’ll get 12 beers (four styles, three of each) shipped to your house every month. The list of breweries that work with this beer club is a long one, so you’ll be sure to learn about new places every month.
Buy: Craft Beer Club, from $44 per shipment at Craft Beer Club
Beer at Trader Joe’s: Boatswain Chocolate Stout
Because sometimes you want ice cream with your beer — and leave it to Trader Joe’s to deliver. This beer-that’s-really-a-dessert is a coffee-y, chocolate-y, malty stout. Just add vanilla ice cream and more chocolate.
Read more: Boatswain Chocolate Stout
High-Alcohol Beer: Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Wowza. Buckle in for this 18% (!!!) brew. “Called the Holy Grail for hop heads, this beauty is continuously hopped throughout the brewing process for 120 minutes,” Julia says. It’s seasonal (and worth every sip if you can find it) so grab it while you can.
Buy: Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, from $41.99 for four at Drizly
Non-Alcoholic Beer: Athletic Brewing Co. Run Wild IPA
You can 100 percent have the hops and taste of a boozy IPA sans the alcohol, and this Connecticut craft brewer proves it with their legit IPA. How sure are we you should keep this in your fridge? 100 percent sure.
Buy: Athletic Brewing Co. Run Wild IPA, from $10.99 for six at Drizly
Low-Calorie Beer: Full Sail Session Light Premium Lager
This Pacific Northwest lager is just 100 calories, 6 carbs, and lightweight on the ABV front (just 3.6%). It’s mellow, malty, crisp, and clean. And it comes in a cute, old-school stubby bottle!
Read more: Full Sail Session Light Premium Lager