Top 3 Beers In Iowa & Illinois
If we are over the age of 21, we all have a favorite beer. Whether you love craft beer, domestics, imports, etc., you know what your favorite go to beer is.
I will preface this by saying Busch Light is not on here. Neither is my go to, Coors Light, but this is more IPA's, stouts, and those type of beers.
Thrillist put together this list on January 14th. Their criteria?
We looked for the pioneers, beers that made history, paved the way for others to excel--and beers that are simply the most beloved in that state.
They brought together a panel of their best beer writers, experts in their own respective regions, to pick the finest beers in each state. Each give their tasting notes and why is worth a mention on their list.
Meredith Heil is the representative for the Midwest. She lives in Chicago and is a freelance journalist specializing in all things food, drink, travel, and culture.
Here are her top 3 beers for the state of Iowa and her notes.
Toppling Goliath Brewing Company Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout
- Imperial Stout, 13%
- The Decorah-based IPA and barrel-aged ale specialist has been lighting up beer nerd bucket lists from the jump, and the ever-indulgent KBBS, ranked number one in the world by both BeerAdvocate and RateBeer, is the undisputed granddaddy of them all. It drinks like a sweet breakfast landslide, oozing onto the palate on a 13% ABV bed of woodsy maple syrup, rich, nutty espresso, creamy milk chocolate, and soft wheated bourbon. Goliath, consider yourself toppled.
- American Pale Ale, 5.9%
- There’s truly nothing meh about 515 Brewing Co’s single-hopped citra explosion from their “Meh” series. Pouring a foggy orange with sunny tangerine undertones, the crushable Pale Ale is almost as pretty to look at as it is to imbibe (almost). With bursts of fresh vine-ripened citrus erupting in every gulp, these guys have figured out how to make a beer that steers clear of any dank, resiny bitterness while also remaining impressive, interesting, and well-balanced, not a small feat in the age of dime-a-dozen creamsicle rippers.
Pulpit Rock Brewing Company Loopy Lynn
- Double IPA, 8.14%
- Pulpit Rock is threatening to turn sleepy Decorah, Iowa, population 7701, into a veritable beer geek destination, especially when it comes to the hoppy stuff, like the neon orange tropical oasis known affectionately as Loopy Lynn. Mango, pineapple, guava, clementines, ripe kiwis -- you name it, it’s in there, countered by a smack of drying grapefruit pith and a cozy wash of fluffy, medium-bodied sweet malt. Pulpit Rock + Toppling Goliath = the ultimate Iowan taproom crawl.
Here are Heil's top 3 beers for the state of Illinois and her notes.
Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
- Imperial Stout, 14.5%
- For the past 15 years, OG Chicago craftmasters Goose Island has been marinating their wickedly intoxicating Imperial Stout in a variety of spent bourbon barrels. This year’s batch hung out on a combo of Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, and Wild Turkey, resulting in a velvety brew laced with luscious layers of coffee, dark chocolate, and stone fruit. What can we say? You don’t mess with the G.O.A.T.
Pipeworks Brewing Company Ninja Vs. Unicorn
- Double IPA, 8%
- A devilishly dank bouquet of Citra, Simcoe, and piney Columbus hops lurk beneath the surface of this potent Chicago-born double IPA’s eye-catching can. Crack one open and the room is instantly seeped in orange blossoms, resin, and fresh peaches delivered to the senses on a silky, surprisingly light caramel malt-fueled body.
Mikerphone Brewing Mikerphone Check 1, 2
- New England IPA, 8%
- Milwaukee native Mike Pallen, who cut his teeth at area mainstays Pipeworks and 18th Street Brewery, is the music-obsessed genius behind this suburban Chicago superstar. This cloudy, ridiculously juicy banger, first brewed in 2017, beguiles curious quaffers with its creamy, double dry-hopped depths, explosive blood orange and tropical fruit flavor, kick of bitter spice, and tantalizing golden tangerine hue. Now that calls for a mic drop.
If you are a Busch Light lover and made it this far, congrats and don't forget,Busch Beer is taking $1 off for every inch of snow Iowa see's this year!