5. Heady Topper
> Brewery: The Alchemist Brewery (Vermont)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.71 out of 5
Hailed for the Best Beer Label by 10Best. One of the original cult beers (before it became more widely available, there was an independent website devoted to hunting for it, and people sold it â illegally â on eBay); well-balanced and full of floral, citrusy, and piney flavors.
4. Two Hearted Ale
> Brewery: Bell’s Brewery (Michigan)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.27 out of 5
Named for the Two Hearted River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Creamy and toasty, redolent of chocolate, strong coffee, and butterscotch, with a strong malt backbone.
3. Dark Lord Imperial Stout
> Brewery: 3 Floyds Brewing Company (Indiana)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.28 out of 5
Sweet and strong (15% ABV); brewed with coffee, Mexican vanilla, and Indian sugar, and emitting an aroma that’s part vintage Port, part molasses; sold only at the brewery on one day in April each year.
2. Todd The Axe Man
> Brewery: Surly Brewing Co. (Minnesota)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.46 out of 5
Described by its brewers as “not quite a West Coast (i.e., heavily hopped) IPA;” intensely flavorful and if not exactly hop-heavy, certainly full of fruity hops flavor.
1. Pliny The Younger
> Brewery: Russian River Brewing Company (California)
> Beer Advocate avg. rating: 4.69 out of 5
Floral and piney — it has three times the usual portion of hops, making it a triple IPA — with an alcoholic kick (it’s 10.25% ABV) and a smoothing touch of sweetness.