Sleeping Giants

The 15 Most Underrated Beers in the World


May 14, 2020 Drinks By
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Hardly a week goes by anymore that isn’t accompanied by a beer release hailed as the next best thing. This makes it all too easy to forget the many exceptional ales and lagers that have stood the test of time. So we asked 15 brewers from across the country to name a beer they consider underrated. The results run the gamut of styles, and include at least a few surprising answers. When was the last time you had one of these beers?

Editor’s Note: Some responses have been edited for clarity and length.

Ecliptic Capella Porter

Style: Porter
ABV: 5.2%
Brewery Location: Portland, Oregon
“Maybe it’s a stretch to call a beer that has won gold at [the] World Beer Cup and the Oregon Beer Awards underrated, but this is the kind of beer that often gets overlooked in today’s landscape where raves are reserved for bombastic pastry stouts, hazies, and crispy lagers. John Harris is a master of the brown porter, so much so that no one else in town need even attempt it! I feel lucky to be able to find this reliably around Portland, fresh, all the time.” — Ben Edmunds, Breakside Brewery

Pilsner Urquell

Style: Czech Pilsner
ABV: 4.4%
Brewery Location: Plzen, Czech Republic
“It’s refreshing and crisp, yet has enough of a malt backbone to keep it interesting. The grassy, floral hop aroma is inviting but doesn’t dull the senses as many hoppy beers are likely to do. Amazingly it makes it to the U.S. in pretty good shape, too!” — Patrick Rue, The Bruery

North Coast Tart Cherry Berliner Weiss

Style: Berliner Weiss
ABV: 4.1%
Brewery Location: Fort Bragg, California
“They blend in Montmorency cherry juice which gives it a balanced acidity, delicate aroma and a beautiful color. It is low in alcohol, very sessionable and delicious; three of the things I always look for in a beer.” — Fal Allen, Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Mayflower Porter

Style: Porter
ABV: 5.2%
Brewery Location: Plymouth, Massachusetts
“We fly through 5.5 percent stouts and porters on tap, but no one really talks about these beers and they are even becoming tough to find in a liquor store. These are malt-driven beers with no donuts, hamburgers, vanilla, yuzu or any other odd ingredient, classic but thoroughly flavorful beers with traditional ingredients. A seasonal beer that people seem to gulp down in a bar setting while talking with friends, who are likely not checking them in on Untappd.” — Mark Sigman, Relic Brewing Company

Georgetown Bodhizafa

Style: IPA
ABV: 6.9%
Brewery Location: Seattle, Washington
“Locally, people know this beer hits all the marks for an IPA: It’s balanced, fruit forward, consistent, and clean, but it’s neither west coast or hazy [and] juicy. Even despite winning a gold at GABF for American IPA a few years ago, I don’t think that many people are aware of the beer or even the brewery outside of [the Northwest].” — Steve Luke, Cloudburst Brewing Company

Birra Moretti La Rossa

Style: Doppelbock
ABV: 7.2%
Brewery Location: San Giorgio di Nogaro, Italy
“While regular Birra Moretti is a relatively bland industrialized lager, the La Rossa is a wonderful German-style doppelbock made in Italy. Clear, malty, and bitter enough to balance the sweetness. It arrives in the United States in very good condition and not as oxidized and old tasting as most of the doppelbocks from Germany and it is relatively easy to find.” — Ashleigh Carter, Bierstadt Lagerhaus

Brauerei C. & A. Veltins Pilsener

Style: German Pilsner
ABV: 4.8%
Brewery Location: Meschede-Grevenstein, Germany
“As much as I love a good hoppy IPA or a robust, malty beer, sometimes I just want something crisp, light, and refreshing. Veltins Pilsener is my go to beer when I need a palate break. It’s crisp and light without being tasteless. I love the hint of malt sweetness and grassy, floral hop bite.” — Robyn Schumacher, Stoup Brewing Company

Fullers London Pride

Style: English Bitter
ABV: 4.1%
Brewery Location: London, England
“I was born close to the brewery and worked for many years close to it, driving past it every day. It exudes London—ester forward British yeast, smooth British caramel malt, and earthy hops. Such a sessionable beer, born in (parti-gyle) tradition.” — Adam Robbings, Reuben’s Brews

Schilling Schlaumeier

Style: Hefeweizen
ABV: 4.8%
Brewery Location: Littleton, New Hampshire
“There is a large amount of effort and love put into brewing this style to pull out the nuance in each batch. The goal is to balance the delicate phenolic clove and spiced flavors mixed with bold esters of banana and bubblegum notes. [This is] my personal favorite.” — Chris Naro, Throwback Brewery

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier

Style: Rauchbier
ABV: 5.1%
Brewery Location: Bamberg, Germany
“I think a largely unappreciated category of beer is smoked beer. And of course, the high water mark for the category has got to be Schlenkerla. I was fortunate enough to visit them at the source in Bamberg this past summer. And it was lovely to see dozens of locals drinking it as their local beer… like no big deal. Smoke and all.” — Scott Smith, East End Brewing Company

The Alchemist Heady Topper

Style: Double IPA
ABV: 8%
Brewery Location: Stowe, VT
“[John] Kimmich inspired so many of us along the way that people often consider it a trailblazer forgetting how perfectly it balances all the aspects of what an American IPA has come to mean. Blowing out different palate [and] aromatic components of an IPA is fun and wonderful, blowing them all out, and remaining tight, that far out is art.” — Augie Carton, Carton Brewing Company

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.6%
Brewery Location: Chico, California
“I think some folks have lost touch with (or have never known) how good the old school guys make beer. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was the beer that opened my eyes to the magic of hops back in the ‘90s. These guys have been pounding out liquid forever and still put out the same great beer day after day. Everyone should have one every now and then, if for no other reason than as a way to say thanks to Mr. Grossman.” — Mike Halker, Due South Brewing Company

Brasserie Dupont Saison Dupont

Style: Saison
ABV: 6.5%
Brewery Location: Leuze-en-Hainaut, Belgium
“Saison Dupont, a beer born before the current era of fervent rating culture, generally available, packaged in a bottle and a style that generates as much chatter as… things that generate no chatter. It’s wonderfully drinkable, dry and lightly funky, shining with its namesake yeast character and green bottle must. It’s effervescent, crisp and just tasty AF bro.” — Basil Lee, Finback Brewery

North Coast Old Stock Ale

Style: Old Ale
ABV: 10.2%
Brewery Location: Fort Bragg, California
“At least out here, North Coast Old Stock doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s a bottle shop sleeper, and becomes something really special after aging for a few years. I’ve been picking some up annually since I’ve been a brewer, and it’s always fun to crack a dusty one from the back of the cellar.” — Seth Morton, Jackie O’s Brewery

Matt Brewing Utica Club

Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5.0%
Brewery Location: Utica, New York
“I like beers that are refreshing in nature, with fewer frills, great core ingredients, and flawless execution. Utica Club is produced by a great family-run business, supported by a community of wonderful employees. It has a timeless quality that speaks to a variety of beer enthusiasts.” — Andrew Hausman, Ithaca Beer Company

The 25 Beers You Need to Try Before You Die

We asked a dozen masters of beer and brewing to name which beers every drinker should try at least once in their lifetime. How many have you tried? Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Ben Keene

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