The Top 5 Beers in the World

The Top 5 Beers in the World

Everywhere you look on the internet, you’ll notice that people absolutely love lists. We are being bombarded with “top 10 of this” and “7 best of that”, and yet they are so dang addicting you want to click to see if you agree.

It’s no different in the beer world where you will see lists such as “15 Best IPAs” and “The Worlds 7 Greatest Stouts”.

I have nothing against these types of posts at all as they aim to celebrate some amazing beers. However saying that any beer is “the best” of any category doesn’t make sense to me.

First off, beer is subjective. What is best to me isn’t the best to you. All of us have different tastes and what I might find appealing about a beer, you might detest. Plus the more beer you drink, the more your tastes start to change.

I remember back when I was fresh out of college and still drinking Coors Light. One day I tried my first IPA. Having to work hard to drink my glass, I realized it was way to bitter for me. If you had given me a bottle of Russian River’s Pliny the Elder I probably couldn’t have finished it and wouldn’t have appreciated it. Years later my palate has changed considerably. Today you can’t really get too hoppy for my liking (or get me to drink Coors light again).

Years ago a beer on my top beers list probably wouldn’t even make it into today’s top 50 list , even though the beer itself hasn’t changed.

Aside from beer being subjective, there are just too many beers worldwide to consider any of them the best.

Just this week the Brewers Association announced that at the end of 2013, over 2700 breweries where operating in the US alone, with more being added daily.

How could anyone tell you what the best IPA produced in the US is? Between every breweries regular offerings and seasonal releases, I’m guessing there are easily over 5000 American IPAs being produced yearly by US based breweries. Of those, a majority aren’t bottled so you’d have to do a lot of traveling and a ton of drinking to try all of them. While it might be a fun challenge for some, it would be impossible as you’d probably be too drunk at the end of the day to accurately compare all of them.

While these lists are made just for fun, better more informative lists might include excellent beers that people need to try. One of my blog posts from about 4 years ago (which needs some updating) listed 10 Oregon beers people needed to try. It’s not the 10 best beers in Oregon, it’s just 10 that I enjoyed at the time.

The Absolute Definitive Top 5 Beers In The World List

However, since this post is titled “The Top 5 Beers in the World”, I better give you my list or there might be a revolt. Here we go:

1. The Beer That’s In Your Hand

If you have a beer in your hand, you are doing pretty good. Sure, it might not be the best beer you’ve ever had, but it beats having no beer in your hand.

When people ask me my favorite beer, this is generally always my answer. I love drinking new beers all the time and if I have one in hand, I’m happy. You should be too.

2. The Beer You’re Having Next

What’s better than the beer you’re drinking? The one that’s coming next of course. When you have a beer that’s about to be finished and you have the knowledge of what you’ll be drinking after, it’s a beautiful feeling.

3. The Best Beer You Can Remember

Everyone has a handful of beers that give them a happy feeling when thinking back on it. It might not exactly be the best technically crafted beer in the world, but to you it makes you happy. For me Boneyard Hop Venom Double IPA is one of my favorites. It’s an amazing beer, yet it isn’t sitting on the top of Beer Advocate. Regardless of that, every time I drink it I smile. I remember back to the delight of my first sip and how excited I was with that first taste of its floral goodness.

4. The Beer That’s Free

Admit it, free beer just tastes good. Maybe you received a gift from a friend of an amazing beer or an invite to a party where there is plenty of tasty craft beer flowing freely. In my opinion that is generally some of the best beer in the world. Sure, sometimes it sucks (like when I got invited to a private suite at a Chicago Cubs game and the unlimited beer consisted of Bud, Miller, and Coors), but you don’t have to pay for it. Most the time if you’re a craft beer fan, the free beer is a lot better quality than that.

 5. The Beer You Made

I believe everyone who loves craft beer should brew at least one beer to help appreciate the craft. I can’t think of any better hobby than homebrewing. What other hobby can even come close to drinking beer at the same time you’re making beer. While not every beer you brew will turn into a top 5 beer in the world, the fact that you made it makes it pretty awesome. Plus the more practice you get brewing the better your beers will become.

So there you have it, my top 5 beers.

What are your top 5 beers?

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About Logan Thompson

Logan is the owner of Blog About Beer. Along with blogging, he is also the author of two books, Beer Lover's Oregon and Beer Lover's Washington, an avid homebrewer, husband, dad of 2 girls, business owner and lover of ridiculously spicy foods.

106 comments

  1. Hahaha! Love it! Had the exact same feelings of tastes changing. I’ve tried so many “top” beers early in my drinking life that I never fully appreciated it. It would be better to have a “top 5 beers to drink before you die” or “top 10 beers to try when you’re in Portland” or something instead of “these are the best” particularly because many are regional or site-specific beers that you can’t get anywhere else.

    The top beer in my opinion is a free beer :)

    • Thanks for the comments Josh. I agree 100%. Yeah, it’s hard to beat a free beer. :-)

      • Hi im an industry brewer in the uk and have won many awards on national and world level ! How is the best beer awarded it is a subjective and personal opinion ! Every brewer in the world should be happy with their beers and if yoy think its the best be happy with it ! At the end of the day we all make what we hope is a great product and if you get on a list thats great however if you get a single response saying that beer is the best! You are there!
        Regards from uk
        Simon gilgrist
        Mbrew

    • Agree….with one addition to the “best beer list”…the best beer is the first beer….that’s is, the first beer after working out…the first beer after a long day at work…..you get the pattern. Yes it is the ” beer in your hand….but even more sublime is the first beer!

  2. My dad always said his favorite beer was OPB. Other People’s Beer. (In truth he mostly drank Coors light, but I still love him).

  3. GREAT list! If I had a time machine, my top beer would be a 1983 PBR from my grandfather’s fridge that he let me open for him so I could a) sneak a taste and b) spend one more afternoon hanging out with him.

  4. Was not the list I expected but better than the one I expected. Couldn’t agree more with your list. I love number 5. Being a homebrewer myself, most of my beers are the best ones I’ve ever had.

  5. This guy gets it.

    Or, you’re just an alcoholic. Either way, I agree wholeheartedly with you.

  6. Another top beer on my list, the first beer after work on a Friday night. That first sip is always something extra special. Just needs a catchy name :-)

  7. Really great blog post. Nice work and totally true.

  8. Dude, you f***ing nailed it. I wish more people who “preach” about beer would pull their heads out of there asses and read this. The beer world would be a better place.

    Personal note: Had a Coors light after a 12 hour bus ride. It was perfect. Then I had a bottle of Founder’s Porter. Perfect follow-up.

    A time and a place for every beer.

  9. Let’s not forget the humble LBID – Last Beer I Drank. If I don’t have a beer, and can only look forward to the next one, I relish the fond memories of the one I last had. :) Ahhhh Beeeer!

  10. Great article! Never really thought of it like this. Now that I have, my list would consist of all except the free beer part. I know I know, a bit snobby indeed but for good reason. In place of number 4 , free beer, I think sharing a beer that you love with someone that has never had it before is special. That to me trumps a free Bud Light any day. The experience of talking through the different aromas and flavors and seeing them liking it just as much as you is priceless. Sharing is caring. Nothing shows more than you care then sharing a beer you hate to share. It’s too good to waste and all 22oz should be for me! :-) Cheers!

    • An excellent addition Eric. I love to be able to share a fantastic beer with someone special and watch them learn to love it to. Although if you get that fantastic beer for free and can share it, that’s even better. :-)

  11. Hop Venom is awesome! Not everyone can handle it. I miss it so much… Best DIPA

  12. This caught me off guard. Felt like a “here we go again” then bam. Great topic point. At this time I wish I could buy you a beer at one of my favorite venues ( top 1 list coming soon) . ?? If your in Florida, it’s on me.

    • Thanks so much Bryan. I’m hoping to make it out to Florida someday. I’ve been hearing incredible things about the craft beer scene. Cigar City and DunedIn are about the only breweries I’ve tried beers from, and both were fantastic.

  13. This piece is perfect beer writing!

  14. This is a spectacular article. I love it very much. Well done.

  15. I like the way you took the pressure off of the ever growing quest for the best beers. I’m guilty as well of searching out beers just because they’re on a list and beer is more about drinking at the end of the day. That being said, and this me being a ticky tacky English graduate, you should definitely proofread your posts more before publishing. I saw at least 3 errors, but altogether it was a good post. Sorry for being a stickler.

    • Thanks Colin. I know, sometimes I rush to get things up on my blog and need to reread it about 20 times instead of the 5 or so I generally do. Maybe someday I can afford an editor :-) Thanks for the comments, it does push me harder to make my writing better.

  16. Thank you for publishing what I’ve been advocating in my 20 years of working in the brewing industry.

    • Thanks Mark. It’s a fantastic industry isn’t it.

      • I have been blessed with supportive family, friends & professional colleagues to scratch the surface of brewing knowledge after 20 years. I have been equally blessed with consumers who routinely consume my work that ultimately allows me to support my family with a decent quality of life. So, yeah… Fantastic Industry.

  17. As a corollary to #3: the beer you remember that they don’t make anymore. I used to love Roffey’s Forecaster in Michigan and Fordham Helles Lager in Maryland, but neither brewery exists anymore. Now I can only taste test new beers against my memory and it’s pretty hard to match that.

    • That’s a great point. There was a brewery here in Portland, OR that used to exist that had a beer made off some ancient recipe that didn’t include hops. While it wasn’t an everyday beer, it was very unique and would love to be able to try it again.

  18. Cute. But to be real. HopSlam is BY FAR the best beer I have had. I’ve been working my way through beeradvocate.coms top 100 and so far nothing comes close.
    Of course, everyone has their personal tastes. In fact usually, I would not even weigh in.
    BUT Hopslam is only available for 8 weeks a year AND IT JUST HIT THE SHELVES!

  19. Excellent article! And in the same spirit of the top five beers, the three “bottom” beers in the world are as follows: warm beer, flat beer, and no beer.

  20. There are so many good beers that I now enjoy the next beer that I haven’t tried yet

  21. Dead, solid perfect!

  22. Cheers to this! Taste is and was always meant to be a personally driven decision. You know your taste best. Why leave it up to scores and hype?

    BrewHorn beer tasting app has been developed to address this very issue in craft beer.

    BrewHorn takes the guesswork and risk out of buying craft beer by helping you find beers that match your personal taste profile. You will also be able to record how your palate changes over time.

    You are dead on with this post and I am very glad to see there are other like-minded craft beer fans out there. It’s time for a new conversation about finding and tasting beer.

  23. Thanks for reinforcing my gut feeling. On my new web log about Israeli boutique beers, I give opinions but no rankings. We also keep away from the highly technical criticisms. We are having our first tastings panel with eight Israeli IPAs later this week, and all are invited to visit and read about it, sign up for updates, comment, etc.

  24. I love this! Do you mind if I use it as a foundation for a post in my monthly newsletter? The newsletter isn’t about beer; it’s called Color Me Happy, about creativity and positive mindset shifts. (I would of course credit you.) Let me know… Thank you!

  25. One other addendum beer you might consider is “The first beer I had with ___ “, whether it’s your dad/mom, brother/sister, wife/husband, etc. Those are some special ones too. I took my Coors-loving brother to a beer festival in Chicago (with him dragging his feet) and I remember the beer that he had that finally made him react without a scrunched-up face as if he just drank a sip of vinegar. Finally seeing that moment where he might turn away from the Dark Side was very memorable. Alas, he still drinks his Coors but at least he’ll try some of the good stuff I order now.

    • An excellent addendum Andy. I agree, I love helping people discover good beer, even when they are skeptical. There is a beer out there for everyone, it’s just not always the same beer. Thanks for the comments.

  26. Couldn’t agree more! In fact, this is perhaps the most sensible list I’ve ever seen. The only thing I’d add is “the first beer of the day”, which, more often than not, tastes wonderful.

    I’ve seen some people disagreeing with #4. IMO free beer never sucks, ever. I always appreciate when someone buys me a beer, o gives me a beer as present, or something like that, even if it is a beer I don’t like. And if that free beer comes with good company, it’s still great. To me, beer is always a part of a where and when and that’s why I’d much rather drink crap beer in great company than great beer in crap company.

    Come to think of it, I’d add a #7: Any beer you are having in good company.

    But once again, great write.

  27. I always have the name of a beer (Anchor Porter) ready when someone asks what my favorite beer. But it’s not the beer I always want. Depending on the season and my mood, I usually want something else.

    I try to engage the person in a discussion about beer and not provide a simple answer, but when they’re being simpletons I have the answer ready. (I’m feely IPA-ish or chocolaty-stout tonight.)

  28. BEST. LIST. EVER.
    My favorite beer would be the Newcastle I had about 18 years ago. It got me to explore more than the domestic groups of beers everyone else was drinking in college, and lead me on my path of opening my mind to the wide variety of beer out there.
    Thanks for the great read. I will be sharing. Cheers!

  29. Brilliant.

    The best beer is also the first one you get when you are in a foreign country. May not be the best, may be warm, even may be a light one!

    But it is the first one to start adventures.

    • I agree with you Alex. My wife and I took a bicycle trip to Belgium and The Netherlands where we rode to every Trappist brewery. The first beer we had was a Brugs Witbier from Heineken at a little cafe where we stopped and had lunch. At any other time I would have forgotten this beer completely, but it was the first beer on an incredibly awesome adventure and I think I’ll always remember it.

  30. For me, the best beer is from many years ago. It was a Coors banquet style. I was sitting on the tailgate of a Ford pickup truck on a warm August evening. Next to me was a very attractive girl wearing a tank top and Daisy Duke shorts. That beer, and the events that transpired later that evening, are forever etched into my mind.

  31. this is a refreshingly honest list! Thank you!

  32. As a new beer review blogger, I love it.

  33. My friend Dave has a saying: “there are no bad beers, some beers are just better than others.” Words to live by.

  34. Ha ha great list and one that I didn’t expect! My favorite beer I would have to admit is the one that my husband gets me while “I” am watching a football game! yeah you read it right. I am the sports enthusiast in the house so “why not?” I am always up for trying a new beer but dark beer is my fav.

  35. Best beer I ever had was in April of 1991. For the life of me, I can’t remember the brewery or the name of the beer, but it was in the airport in Dublin, Ireland just before the trans-Atlantic leg of my return flight home from Desert Storm. It was the first beer I had to drink in nearly 9 months. It was cold and it was good and it was all that mattered in that exact moment in time.

  36. Whilst there is a degree of subjectivity about ‘the best beer’, there is also a large slice of objectivity, too. Some beers are badly made. Period. It’s also true to say that not all opinions are equal (some people know more about certain subjects than other people), and not all palates are equally well trained, experienced and sophisticated. In addition, the internet has given us a multitude of ‘experts’ that actually know nothing. In short, one can discern things to a greater degree than ‘it’s ALL subjective’ might otherwise suggest.

  37. I love this post. I was thinking along similar when I decided to write up a list of my top 10 beers of 2013. It wasn’t because of how great they tasted or how rare they were, but it had everything to do with beers shared with friends and family, beers shared when new friendships were made, and old memories that certain beers brought back. Hell, I never even got to taste #3 on my list and probably never will. You’ll probably appreciate the list though.

  38. The Cubs game was at Wrigley Field? How was there no Old Style?!!

  39. My dad has always said he likes 2 types of beer. Cold, and free. Granted, he usually drinks Keystone/Coors, but he’s starting to come around on some craft beer, but refuses to pay the prices 95% of the time.

  40. When my partners and I started ideating a beer club that we wanted to grow into a brewery and then a brewpub some day, we created some pillars to act as our “tenets”. One of them is almost mirror image to this post, that beer is subjective, and so are these ratings. Your favorite beer might be the one in your hand, so never make others feel inadequate for what they like, and instead be inclusive and keep it simple. The club thrived on this. We asked people, when we began the transition process from club to brewery, to rate our beers as “do you like it?” and “would you suggest it to your friends?”, and it has worked out wonderfully. We now stand a few months from opening, and we still hold firm – whether we have the 4th best stout worldwide or the 444th best IPA worldwide, we want the beer you are drinking currently to be the BEST beer you are drinking at that time. I am so happy you put this out there, sharing it pronto! Thanks Logan!

    Mike LaCouture
    owner, Broken Goblet Brewing
    Bristol, PA

  41. My all time favorite beer is Olde Suffolk Brown Ale. Living in the cruel state of Utah, I was only given a short time to enjoy it before it was discontinued by our Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

    A local brewery puts out some pretty good beers though. Epic Brewing’s Imperial Stout is delicious.

    Anderson Valley’s “Brother David’s Triple” is wicked good.

    A buddy of mine brews at home. He made a really great Amber once. That one makes my list.

    In between craft beers, I like to cleanse my palette with a crisp refreshing beer (aka: water beer). My preference for those would be a nice cold Kokanee.

  42. I once had a job digging ditches, installing piping, pumps, and tanks for gas stations. On one particularly hot Chicago afternoon one of the guys who worked at the station walked down to the corner saloon and came back with a tell-tale brown paper bag. It was about 4:00, 100 degrees, and brutally sunny. We had been tasting dirt and sweat all day. The guy came over to us with the bag and pulled out a 6-pack of Hamm’s. He popped the pop tops for us because we were filthy. The beer was ice cold and no beer ever tasted better, before or since. It was a long time ago, but I remember it clearly, in spite of a Lake Michigan’s worth of beer being consumed since!

  43. Loved this post! I used to hate most beers…until i moved to Germany and then visited Ireland. Now, my go-to beer is Guinness. My friends tease me for going with my husband to “World of Beer” for a romantic date. But, we love to try new beers and can’t wait to try our hands at homebrewing.

  44. My typical answer for someone that asks me what my favorite one is goes like this “the next one I’m going to have”. When pressed for an explanation, I tell them that for me beer is a journey, and I want to try another, one that I haven’t had before.

    Your post is spot-on.

  45. My favorite beer depends on what I am cooking! I will always order Funky Buddha Brewery’s Floridian when that is on draft. For me it is all about supporting my local community, and we are very lucky to have some kick-ass breweries her in South Florida. You get it!

  46. Great post!

    I’d push for the “free beer” moving to the number 1 slot ;-)

  47. I enjoy a beer, but my drink of choice is wine. I really enjoyed your post, and think that wine crowd ought to take a lesson and get off the 100 point scale and just enjoy the wine you have in your hand! Thanks to ya.

  48. Gtreat article, but with all due respect Ithink your missing one point in your list. I woul like to add it as #6. The best beer is the one that you are enjoying with your friends :)

  49. I have long been an advocate of the three best beers in the world… Free Beer, Cold Beer and Free, Cold Beer. Thanks for giving me some more options to consider. Great post!

  50. Love this! I think the best beer is the beer that you drink in the company of good friends.

  51. This hits it out of the park! The best beer is the act of having it in the first place. Sitting with a friend, or a gathering of friends. A beer on the porch or golf course with my dad. Shipping beer to friends that can’t get what I can get and vice a versa, sitting out all night to get some Founders KBS a few years back. Maybe adventure is too strong a word, but the act or the journey to arrive is the best part. The look on my Dad’s face when his 30 pack for $13.99 of Genny Light costs less than a 4 pack of KBS or Imperial Stout was one of my favorite beers to be sure. Cheers!

  52. Beer is good food, it’s not just for breakfast anymore!

  53. Back in the early 60’s my dad let me taste Utica Club….like mother’s milk

  54. I can’t find any reason to not agree with this list. :)

  55. The “free beer” is the one that caught my eye. For many years now, I’ve said there are only 3 things one should never complain about – Free food, free beer, free help.

    My top five beers look just like yours.

  56. GREAT article and thread. Thank you!

    Some of my favs:
    The first beer I had on my first real date with my wife and found out she knew more about beer than I did!!! Still love them both. :) (Paulaner Hefe)

    First American craft beer that made me realize that there is a huge world out there that went way beyond the boundaries of “meh” and “good” (Ommegang Hennepin)

    The first beer I enthusiastically bought more than a case of (Unibroue Fin du Monde)

  57. I would like to add “The Beer I WILL Make.” Being a very novice home-brewer, I am always on the lookout for the next great recipe. Some work, some don’t… I am always excited about the first draw off the tap for the latest addition to my menu at the Jones’s Pub and Home Brewery.

  58. Love the article! You couldn’t be more right, there are no best beers and in fact my “favorite beer” changes weekly. I would love this article in some sort of poster/infographic form to be able to hang on the wall! If this is a possibility, let me know! Very well done, I appreciate the article!

  59. The Beer Shared With Friends …love your list. Spot on.

  60. My favourite beers are the ones that I taste in their own country of origin. I visited Copenhagen and the Carlsburg tasted SO much different than it tasted back home. Then I had the chance to go to the Heiniken brewery in Amsterdam and again the beer tasted so much better than it did back home in Belfast. Do they keep all the good stuff for themselves?
    I think so.

  61. Hey! I’ve had those 5 beers. This is a great list.

  62. Haha! I completely agree with this list.

  63. Fernanda Meybom

    Great list! I would include in my list, the beer that I share with my loved ones!

  64. Great article! Why do it take me so long to see this list. Great way to look at beer and maybe not over-think things too much. Cheers!

  65. I loved the post. For me, my best beer is the all grain home brew version of my favorite beer–Stone IPA. I sampled it yesterday as I racked it into the secondary for dry hopping. OMG. Just the though of it is making me smile. I cannot wait until its finished. Cheers.

  66. Haha, the greatest beer I’ve ever had would definitely be a free one after work on a hot, sunny day! I have one exact occasion in mind, when I’d worked a particularly tiring day – but for the life of me I can’t even remember what type of beer it was. I guess it doesn’t matter. As I tell people no beer is a bad beer. Sure some are much better than others, but I’d always rather be drinking a beer with my mates than not be. Take that, beer snobs!

  67. The first beer I have whenever I go to Bavaria always becomes my “best” beer. It always embodies everything I love about those wonderful suds.

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