The craft-beer world is a rapidly evolving landscape, full of distinct flavors and nuance. However, in this vast expanse, there are the “big three” styles that overshadow all others: IPA, stout and sour are the power trio of craft beer. No party should be without at least one or two of these core styles. Don’t feel intimidated – we’ve got you covered with a few of the best craft beers to grab before the Super Bowl.
Deschutes Brewery’s Fresh Squeezed IPA
Well-known for hoppy beers, Deschutes consistently makes stellar, well-balanced brews. Fresh Squeezed, however, pushes the limit of what we know as an IPA. Massive orange, grapefruit and mango notes take over and only a slight, welcoming bitterness remains.
Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon, 541.385.8606, deschutesbrewery.com
Stone Brewing Co.’s Stone Ruination Double IPA 2.0
After retiring its flagship imperial IPA last year, Stone reinvented the wheel and released version 2.0. This imperial IPA clocks in at 8.5 percent ABV and gets an impressive 99 on RateBeer. Be careful: This one is dangerously easy drinking.
Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, California, 760.294.7899, stonebrewing.com
Prairie Artisan Ales’ Bomb!
Once an impossible beer to find, you can now purchase Bomb! with relative ease. This 13 percent ABV imperial stout is amazingly well-balanced and features coffee, chocolate and ancho chile – well deserving of the 100 rating on RateBeer.
Prairie Artisan Ales, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 918.949.4318, prairieales.com
Founders Brewing Co.'s Breakfast Stout
Dark, smooth, sweet and bitter, this warming coffee stout is definitely at the top of every beer geek’s list. Clocking in at 8.3 percent ABV, Founders' Breakfast Stout is one of the top 70-rated beers in the world and graces shelves for just three months per year.
Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 616.776.1195, foundersbrewing.com
Vander Ghinste Cuvée des Jacobins
Craft-beer fans are catching on to the sour beer boom. Sour beers are becoming a go-to favorite behind the ever popular IPAs and stouts. Cuvée des Jacobins is a lightly tart and extremely well-balanced Belgian sour that's approachable to beer- and wine-lovers alike. If you haven't tried a sour beer yet, here’s where to start.
Brouwerif Omer Vander Ghinste, Bellegem, Belgium, omervanderghinste.be/en
Brouwerij Verhaege Duchesse de Bourgogne
Also known as a Flanders Red Ale, this beer has more in common with wine than with beer. A slight vinegar twinge mellows the red-brown body, creating a lightly tart and refreshing beer that pairs with many types of cuisine.
Brouwerij Verhaege, Vichte, Belgium, brouwerijverhaeghe.be/en
Brothers Brandon and Ryan Nickelson are available to help with beer picks and pairing recommendations at their store, Craft Beer Cellar, the only all-craft beer shop in the St. Louis area. Craft Beer Cellar is located at 8113 Maryland Ave. in Clayton, Missouri. To learn more, call 314.222.2444 or visitcraftbeercellar.com/clayton.