34 Beers You Must Try Before You Die

There’s the beer you casually drink and then there’s the beer you must try before you die, which demands closer attention. Distinguished by copious amounts of flavour and character, these best-tasting beers won’t just satiate your palate, but expand your horizons in the process. They come to us in a variety of styles and from all around the world. Yes, you’ll find choice Belgian ales on the list, but you’ll also find Double IPAs, imperial porters, and so on.

Before we begin, one minor disclaimer: some of the beers you must try before you die are best described as an acquired taste. Should you make it your goal to track down each beer on the list, prepare to demonstrate a little patience on occasion. This rings especially true if you’ve been gulping the same three domestic pilsners for the last decade, which might suddenly taste like flavoured water once you’ve exposed yourself to a microbrewed stout with an 11.4% ABV.

That’s not to say the following list of best-tasting beers is filled exclusively with experimental brews, rather that it runs the full gamut in terms of taste and texture. Variety of the spice of life, as they say, and that’s why your life isn’t complete until you’ve tried each one. Without further delay, here are the beers you must try before you die.

Rodenbach Alexander

Rodenbach Alexander

Rodenbach Brewery (or Brouwerij Rodenbach, if you will) was established by four brothers all the way back in 1821, so it’s safe to say it knows a thing or two about beer. One of those brothers was Alexander and the brewery celebrated his 200th birthday with the re-release of this sour stunner. Blending aged Rodenbach with 1/3 younger ale and macerated cherries, it serves up a brilliant combination of sour beer and red fruit, along with a wine-like finish. This is what the best-tasting beer is all about.

Style: Sour – Flanders Red/Bruin
ABV: 6.0%
Location: Roeselare, Belgium

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Sixpoint Resin

Sixpoint Resin

It might sound like fancy bongwater and come in a can, but Sixpoint Resin is nevertheless a beer you must try before you die. Hailing from Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery, this veritable eye-opener delivers a blast of hops and tons of botanical depth. While loosely described as a Double IPA, it plays by its own set of rules and thereby defies strict categorisation.

Style: IIPA
ABV: 9.1%
Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA

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Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail

Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail

True to its name, Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail doesn’t flow past your tongue as much as it does explode all over your taste buds. Coming in strong with a 13.0% ABV, it packs more hops into every sip than you’re probably prepared for. This is definitely a beer you must try before you die, which might very well reconfigure your palate by the time you finish it.

Style: IIPA
ABV: 13.0%
Location: Queens, New York, USA

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Almanac Grand Cr

Almanac Grand Cru

As any true beer drinker can tell you, not all the best Belgian-style ales come from Belgium. Case in point: Almanac Grand Cru. Brewed in California, this truly unique and best-tasting beer mixes a Flanders Red-style sour ale with Zinfandel grapes, Santa Cruz Mountain raspberries, and whole vanilla beans. If you’re not intrigued, you’re just plain boring.

Style: Sour – Flanders Red/Bruin
ABV: 10.5%
Location: San Francisco, California, USA

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Black Tokyo Horizon

Black Tokyo Horizon

Representing a special collaboration between three acclaimed breweries (Nogne, Mikkeller, and BrewDog), Black Tokyo Horizon delivers viscous texture and a whopping 17.2% ABV. Should you manage to track down a bottle of this top-tasting brew, prepare for it to unravel in decadent layers of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts.

Style: Stout – Imperial
ABV: 17.2%
Location: Aberdeenshire, Scotland

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To Ol Dangerously Close to Stupid

To Øl Dangerously Close to Stupid

Denmark’s To Øl Brewery put a dangerously close to stupid amount of Citra and Centennial hops in this wildly popular beer. The result is a dangerously close to stupid amount of flavour, along with a perfect balance of brightness and dryness. The brewery’s Dangerously Close To Stupid Amount of Apricot is likewise a beer you must try before you die.

Style: IIPA
ABV: 9.3%
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

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Mikkeller Black Hole

Mikkeller Black Hole

Rewarding and intense in equal measure, Mikkeller Black Hole is everything a nuanced stout should be and more. Purposefully pushed to the limits, this best-tasting beer performs a deft balancing act of bitterness and sweetness. No two sips are exactly the same!

Style: Stout – Imperial
ABV: 13.1%
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

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Little Bang Galactopus

Little Bang Galactopus

Here’s a beer you must try before you die if only to tell your mates that you drank something called Little Bang Galactopus. That it’s also quite delicious gives you all the more reason to score a taste. Like the mighty Galactopus—devourer of entire solar systems—this Barleywine-style ale will conquer your taste buds.

Style: BarleyWine/WheatWine/RyeWine
ABV: 10.1%
Location: Fullarton, Australia

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Kaiju Fresh

Kaiju! Krush

From Australia’s own Kaiju! Beer comes this clean and refreshing American pale ale. Crack open a can to discover a bounty of tropical fruit flavours. Krush the beer and then Krush the can before opening another one. What? You thought you’d stop at just one? That’s simply not the Aussie way.

Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 4.7%
Location: Dandenong, Vic, Australia

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Mikkeller SpontanBlueberry

Mikkeller SpontanBlueberry

In case it’s not yet obvious, Denmark’s Mikkeller releases quite a few beers that you must try before you die. Among them is this Belgian fruit lambic, which packs ample sourness and tartness into its blueberry body.

Style: Lambic – Fruited
ABV: 7.7%
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

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Holgate Brewhouse Beelzebub's Jewels

Holgate Brewhouse Beelzebub’s Jewels

Barrel-aged and triple-fermented, this barley-wine from Australia’s Holgate Brewhouse comes chock full of bold character. Having rested inside French oak, it has scant amounts of Pinot Noir flavour lurking beyond the hop-forward taste. Throw in a 12.5% ABV and you have a best-tasting beer that will linger on palate and mind alike.

Style: BarleyWine/WheatWine/RyeWine
ABV: 12.5%
Location: Woodend, VIC, Australia

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Evil Twin Even More Jesus

Evil Twin Even More Jesus

If you like your beers thick and black, then you’ll love this imperial stout from Evil Twin. Bursting forth from its viscous body are notes of dark fruit, chocolate, coffee, and sugar. Get a bottle before it’s gone, presuming it’s not gone already.

Style: Stout – Imperial
ABV: 12.0%
Location: Queens, New York, USA

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Evil Twin Yin Yang

Evil Twin Yin + Evil Twin Yang

For a modern take on the traditional black and tan, pick up a bottle of Evil Twin Yin and a bottle of Evil Twin Yang, and pour accordingly. You may never go back to Guinness and Bass again.

Evil Twin Yin
Style: Stout – Imperial
ABV: 10.0%
Location: Queens, New York, USA

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Evil Twin Yang
Style
: IIPA
ABV
: 10.0%
Location
: Queens, New York, USA

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Lindemans Kriek

Lindemans Kriek

For some of the world’s best-tasting fruit lambic beer, you should go straight to the source. By that we mean Belgium, of course, which is where Lindemans Brewery plies its craft. This particular lambic comes in light and refreshing with its 3.5% ABV and sparkling cherry flavour.

Style: Lambic – Fruited
ABV
: 3.5%
Location
: St Pieters Leeuw-Vlezenbeek, Belgium

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Mikkeller Oregon Fruit Series- Crooked Moon Hazy IIPA with Raspberry

Mikkeller Oregon Fruit Series: Crooked Moon Hazy IIPA with Raspberry

“An IIPA with a funky twist” is how Mikkeller describes Crooked Moon Hazy IIPA with Raspberry, which was crafted in collaboration with Oregon Fruit and Crooked Moon Tattoo. Expect layers of tart fruit and hoppy flavour, blasts of citrus, and a medium-dry finish. Don’t die without trying it.

Style: IIPA
ABV: 8.3%
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

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Rochenbach Grand Cru

Rodenbach Grand Cru

This sour blend is two parts aged beer, one part young beer, and entirely complex. The dominant portion of beer matured for two years inside oak casks of the Roeselare “beer cathedral,” resulting in discernible accents of wood and esters. That’s joined by a fruity essence and smooth finish.

Style: Sour – Flanders Red/Bruin
ABV: 6.0%
Location: Roeselare, Belgium

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Wildflower Gold

Wildflower Gold

An Aussie brewer tips its hat to the provincial ales of Belgium’s Wallonia region with this medium-strength sipper. The result of a crafty fermentation and maturation process, Wildflower Gold balances notes of pepper, hops, stone fruits, and citrus within its “bone dry” body. Bring it to your next barbie and expect rave reviews.

Style: Sour/Wild Beer
ABV: 5.0%
Location: Marrickville, Australia

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Pirate Life IIPA

Pirate Life IIPA

This Double IPA from Pirate Life Brewing goes big on malt, hops, and fermentation, and accordingly renders a big impression. Striving for a full spectrum of flavours, it delivers bitterness and sweetness in equal doses, along with notes of pine and citrus. Is it a beer you must try before you die? You bet it is.

Style: IIPA
ABV: 8.8%
Location: Adelaide, Australia

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Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast

Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast

We said it before and we’ll say it again: Mikkeller releases some of the best-tasting beers you’ll ever try. That includes Beer Geek Breakfast, an oatmeal stout with oat-based ingredients and a touch of coffee. Should you be the type who enjoys a beer with his breakfast, then this one will definitely suffice.

Style: Stout – Oatmeal
ABV: 7.5%
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

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De Molen Rasputin Bourbon BA

De Molen Rasputin Bourbon BA

Classic and relatively light-bodied (when compared to the heavier fare), Rasputin Bourbon BA nevertheless packs a decent wallop at 11.4% ABV. Swirling in its creamy body are notes of chocolate, sugar, malts, caramel, vanilla, and yes, bourbon.

Style: Stout – Oatmeal
ABV: 11.4%
Location: Bodegraven, Netherlands

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De Ranke Cuvee De Ranke

De Ranke Cuvée

Striking a brilliant balance between sourness and bitterness, this Belgian beer exists in a class all its own. While there’s enough lambic in here to qualify it as a lambic beer, De Ranke opted to brand it as a traditional and well-rounded sour beer instead. And what a sour beer it is, complete with cloudy texture and refreshing taste.

Style: Sour/Wild Beer
ABV: 7.0%
Location: Dottignies, Belgium

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3 Fonteinen Oude Gueuze

3 Fonteinen Oude Gueuze

Geuze is a type of unfiltered and unpasteurized beer that blends 1, 2, and 3-year old lambic, and sits in the bottle for at least a year before hitting the shelves. Due to the extra “refermentation,” the resulting brew retains a champagne-like effervescence. If all of this sounds right up your alley, then 3 Fonteinen’s Oude Geuze is unquestionably a beer you must try before you die.

Style: Lambic – Gueuze
ABV: 6.0%
Location: Lot, Beersel, Belgium

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The Bruery Grey Monday

The Bruery Grey Monday

With their dense textures and rich flavours, premium stouts always make for an unforgettable drinking experience. Should you agree, then put Grey Monday on your bucket list ASAP. To give this supremely strong beer (as in 19.2% ABV) that much more character, The Bruery added hazelnuts to each barrel during aging. Sure, the beer has as many calories as a light lunch, but who’s counting calories by this point?

Style: Stout – Imperial Flavored
ABV: 19.2%
Location: Placentia, California, USA

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Boatrocker Ramjet Whisky Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

Boatrocker Ramjet Whisky Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

The name pretty much says it all: Boatrocker Ramjet Whisky Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Brewed once a year by Australia’s Boatrocker, this imperial stout undergoes aging in red wine Starward whisky casks before landing in the bottle. It all amounts to one of the best-tasting beers you can try, with notes of chocolate, coffee, and luscious malt.

Style: Stout – Imperial
ABV: 10.2%
Location: Braeside, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

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Russian River Pliny the Elder

Russian River Pliny the Elder

When a Roman scholar and naturalist named Pliny the Elder helped create the botanical name for hops, he entered the annals of beer mythology forever. It’s in his honour that Russian River crafted this outrageously hoppy IIPA, which was brewed with 40% more malt and over twice the number of hops used in the brand’s traditional IPA. Pliny the Elder would be proud!

Style: IIPA
ABV: 8.0%
Location: Santa Rosa, California, USA

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Feral Tusk

Feral Tusk

For those who like their IIPAs strong and packed with flavour, Feral Brewing Co. has something just for you. Brewed using a “metric shit-tonne of hops,” Tusk pulls not a single punch, hence the extreme bitterness and 11.8% ABV. This one is released in very small batches and just twice a year, so mark your calendars because it doesn’t last.

Style: IIPA
ABV: 11.8%
Location: Baskerville, Australia

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Kaiju! Where Strides The Behemoth

Kaiju! Where Strides The Behemoth

Well-brewed dark IPAs are some of the best-tasting beers you can find, and this one from Kaiju! is certainly no exception. Counterbalancing oily and explosive hoppiness with creamy malt character and hints of rum, it leaves tons of lingering flavour in its wake.

Style: IPA – Black/Brown/Cascadian Dark
ABV: 10.5%
Location: Dandenong, Vic, Australia

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Holgate Empress

Holgate Empress

Available in extremely limited supply, Empress delivers everything you can ask for in a classic porter. That includes inky black colour, tan foam, a warm mouthfeel, and sensuous notes of bitterness and sweetness. Sealing the deal is a Kahlua-like finish. Yum.

Style: Porter – Imperial
ABV: 10.0%
Location: Woodend, VIC, Australia

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Omnipollo Selassie

Omnipollo Selassie

10 specialty malts harmonise to creamy and delicious effect inside every eye-catching bottle of Selassie. Straddling the line between simplicity and complexity, this flavoured stout features prominent notes of Ethiopian coffee and vanilla beans. That might be due to the fact that it’s actually brewed with Ethiopian coffee and vanilla beans. Just a thought.

Style: Stout – Imperial Flavored
ABV: 11.0%
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

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Tripel Karmeliet

Tripel Karmeliet

Reportedly based on a recipe from 1679, Tripel Karmeliet fires on all conceivable cylinders. Fermented wheat, oat, and barley create a profile that’s equal parts light and creamy, with notes of banana, vanilla, spice, and lemon. This is a best-of-all-worlds Belgian sipper and, therefore, a beer you must try before you die.

Style: Tripel
ABV: 8.4%
Location: Buggenhout, Belgium

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Pauwel Kwak

Pauwel Kwak

Named for the 18th-century brewer and inventor Pauwel Kwak, this dark Belgian ale emanates with absolute distinction. While traditional ingredients such as wheat, hops, and barley malts lend it a classic foundation, the use of white sugar cranks that sweetness dial up a few notches.

Style: Belgian Ale – Strong Dark
ABV: 8.4%
Location: Buggenhout, Belgium

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Chimay Blueu Grande

Chimay Bleue Grande Réserve

Not every best-tasting beer has to be something you’ve never heard of. Enter Chimay Bleue Grande Réserve, a tasty Belgian ale of worldwide renown. Unpasteurised and refermented in the bottle, it features a rosy aroma and strong, but pleasant taste. The best part? You won’t have to search high and low just to find it.

Style: Belgian Ale – Strong Dark
ABV: 9.0%
Location: Baileux, Belgium

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Riverside 777

Riverside 777

One sip of the Riverside 777 and you’ll know why they often call this style of beer “imperial IPA.” Indeed, its supreme drinkability and fresh taste are worthy of royalty. Four hop varieties went into making this top beer, which pairs ripe citrus notes with heaps of pine.

Style: IIPA
ABV: 9.2%
Location: Parramatta, NSW, Australia

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Thorogood’s Billy Bs

Widely acclaimed and no longer in production, Thorogood’s Billy Bs is the stuff that cider dreams are made of. Between its malty flavour, sweet tang, and solid ABV, this famous “apple stout” is worth all the effort it will take you to track it down. Good luck.

Style: Flavored – Fruit
ABV: 12.0%
Location: Burra, Australia

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