There are so many great beers being brewed all over the world, with exciting new ones appearing each year. Furthermore, beer appreciation is such a subjective topic, all of which means choosing a list of the best is an almost possible task.
That said, for the beer aficionado, there are plenty out there that are worth the effort of tracking down to sample, so we’ve created a list of some of our favorites to help you get started.
In our list, we’ve tried to include a few of the more popular beers that you should be able to find easily – as well as some others that you’ll be extremely lucky to get your hands on.
So now let’s have a look at our picks for the 29 best beers in the world.
The Best Beers in the World
1. Chimay Blue (Chimay Brewery, Belgium)
Brewed in Belgium at the Chimay Brewery, if you like dark Trappist ales, this is one you have to try. Deep brown in color with a velvety head, it’s smooth in the mouth and displays a complex and rich flavor profile.
It manages to be fruity and peppery while at the same time giving off malty hints of chocolate or caramel, and the flavors change with time and as the temperature gradually rises towards room temperature.
At 9% ABV, this is a beer that packs a punch, so it’s one to sit and savor when you have plenty of time to appreciate it.
2. Delirium Nocturnum (Huyghe Brewery, Belgium)
The Huyghe Brewery in Flanders, Belgium, is probably best known for its tasty Delirium Tremens, a classic strong Belgian blonde of 8.5% ABV that was chosen as the “Best Beer in the World” at the 2008 Beer Championships in Chicago, Illinois.
However, for us, the less common Delirium Nocturnum beats it into second place. Also with an ABV of 8.5%, the Nocturnum is a rich dark ale with a sweet maltiness that is pleasant but not overpowering as well as plenty of other spicy notes to appreciate.
3. Juice Machine (Tree House Brewing Company, USA)
Juice Machine is a heavily hopped double India Pale Ale that’s a big favorite among those who enjoy brash IPAs that don’t mess around.
It has a respectable but not excessive ABV of 8.2% and combines a huge hop hit with more fruity undertones including mango, lime, papaya and tangerine.
A popular offering from a brewery that is making a big name for itself.
4. Pauwel Kwak (Bosteels Brewery, Belgium)
If served properly, as it always should be, in the specially designed glass that requires a wooden stand to hold it, you might be forgiven for thinking that this Belgian pale ale is a gimmick.
However, the eccentric glass represents the history of the beer since it was originally served to coachmen who weren’t allowed to leave their coaches, and the shape of the vessel was designed to be hung next to where they sat.
The glass aside, the intriguing and complex flavor profile of this beer makes it a popular choice with fans of Belgian ales and one that shouldn’t be missed.
5. Paulaner Hefe-Weizen (Paulaner Brewery, Germany)
A big favorite with lovers of wheat beer and one of the most popular in Munich where it’s brewed, this is the kind of beer you can turn to when you want something reliable that’s guaranteed to hit the spot.
In the glass, it’s opaque with an inviting yellow hue and a clear and frothy white head. It displays a fresh, crisp and fruity nose, and when you sip, the taste delivers what the nose suggests.
Refreshing and moreish, this is the perfect kind of beer to sip from liter glasses in the early afternoon of a Bavarian summer.
6. Hoegaarden (Hoegaarden Brewery, Belgium)
The quintessential Belgian witbier is famous the world over, and for good reason. Spiced with coriander and orange peel, the refreshingly fruity taste is unmistakable, making this a beer that’s ideally suited to lazy days and warm sunny weather.
Hoegaarden wheat beer has a distinctive cloudy appearance, which is due to the fact that it’s unfiltered, and with an ABV of 4.9%, you can easily sink a few of these without feeling too worse for wear.
The brewery also produces several other versions, including a rosé and the 8.5% ABV grand cru. These might be harder to find but are well worth a taste for fans of the original.
7. Pilsner Urquell (Pilsner Urquell Brewery, Czech Republic)
Pilsner lager may be seen as a kind of standard, default beer to many since a host of uninspiring versions are available worldwide.
However, writing off the whole style just because many brewers produce sub-standard versions would be a mistake since there are plenty of worthy options to sample.
Among them is Pilsner Urquell, the original pilsner and arguably still the best. It comes from the Czech town of Pilsen (Plzeň in Czech), where it has been produced since the mid-19th century.
So for anyone unconvinced by this style of beer but who prefers to keep an open mind, this is the pilsner to go for.
8. Duvel (Duvel Moortgat Brewery, Belgium)
In a country that produces such an array of excellent beers and where beer-drinking is an integral part of the local culture, one that ranks highly on the list of national bestsellers must have something going for it.
That being the case, Belgium’s ever-popular Duvel is a beer that any self-respecting connoisseur needs to sample at least once. “Duvel” is the Dutch word for “devil”, and the name probably comes from the beer’s notoriously high alcohol content, which at 8.5% is enough to make you notice its effects after just a couple of bottles.
Aside from this, it’s a crisp, fresh blonde that is guaranteed to hit the spot, making this a beer not to miss.
9. Guinness (Guinness Brewery, Ireland)
Guinness hardly needs any introduction. Quite simply the most famous stout in the world, if you go into a bar in Ireland and ask for a pint, this is what you’ll get – they’ll know you mean a Guinness, so there’s no need to specify.
Pouring the perfect Guinness is an art, with the bubbles gradually rising to form a delicious creamy head on the top before it’s ready to sip.
It has a comforting flavor that’s full of notes of chocolate and coffee and with a slightly bitter finish.
It’s also available as a stronger export version in bottles, but nothing can beat a glass of the real thing poured from a tap and served in a pint glass – preferable in Dublin where it was first brewed.
10. Beerlao (Lao Brewery Company, Laos)
This might be a controversial entry, but it’s all about the context, and if you’ve ever spent time travelling in Southeast Asia, you’ll probably understand.
Compared to some of the more complex and sophisticated beers coming out of the craft scene nowadays, this beer might not stack up so well. However, this simple and unassuming pale lager is crisp, refreshing and surprisingly tasty, making it the perfect option to accompany a spicy Lao meal.
In Thailand you there’s Singha and Chang, you can drink Tiger in Malaysia, and Indonesia has its Bintang – but for us, this is by far the best beer the region has to offer.
Beerlao also brews a decent dark lager, which is worth tracking down while you’re there.
11. Westvleteren XII (Westvleteren Brewery, Belgium)
Among those who taste this almost mythical brew, many rate it as the best beer in the world. Unfortunately, only the privileged few can claim to have sampled it since it is only available to buy at the Trappist monastery in Belgium where it is brewed.
This quadrupel has an ABV of 10.2% and displays a dark reddish-brown color. The nose is complex and hard to pin down, while the taste is an explosion of fruit, nuttiness, bread, vanilla and so much more.
This is the kind of beer that’s difficult to describe – and that everyone will experience differently – so no beer aficionado who has the chance to sample this rare brew should pass up on the opportunity.
12. Trappistes Rochefort 10 (Rochefort Brewery, Belgium)
If you can’t lay your hands on an ultra-rare Westvleteren XII, the Rochefort 10 is a worthy alternative that is produced in far larger quantities, making it more practical to obtain. This is also a quadrupel, this time with a big ABV of 11.3%.
It’s dark in color and produces a thick, frothy head. In terms of flavor, you can expect a rich, malty taste with notes of caramel and fruit, while the mouthfeel is smooth and dreamy.
For such a potent beer, this one is extremely easy to drink. It’s one of our favorites, but definitely a brew to treat with respect.
13. Milk Stout (Left Hand Brewing Company, USA)
If you haven’t yet had the chance to try a milk stout, this beer will open your eyes and take your taste buds on a ride.
This is possibly the best example of this style currently brewed in North America, and you can expect a smooth, creamy beer with gentle notes of coffee, hints of cherry or berries and an irresistible sweet finish.
14. Double Tempest (Amsterdam Brewing Company, Canada)
The winner of the World Beer Awards 2020 Best Flavored Beer category, this beer is as black as they come, with an enticing nose displaying vanilla, strawberry and coffee.
In the mouth, it’s a rich and intense, with hints of cocoa powder, dried cherry, toffee and even bourbon. At 11.9% ABV, it packs plenty of punch, and the high alcohol is pleasantly apparent in both the nose and the taste.
15. Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout (Toppling Goliath Brewing Company, USA)
Currently topping BeerAdvocate’s list of user-reviewed beers, this one is clearly something special.
An American imperial stout with a huge ABV of 12% and a silky-smooth mouthfeel, it’s sweet with notes of maple and coffee as well as vanilla and raisin.
This is another beer that’s not always easy to obtain, but if you manage to get your hands on one, make sure you sit down and appreciate it because this is a brew that can fairly claim to being among the very best in the world.
16. Pliny the Elder (Russian River Brewing Company, USA)
In recent years, the Russian River Brewing Company has established itself as one of the foremost craft-style brewers in the US, and their Pliny the Elder is among their standout flagship beers.
It’s a big, bold Imperial IPA that’s brewed in limited quantities and features a blend of Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ, and Simcoe hops.
The result is a beer that displays a bold hoppiness counteracted by the undertones of malt with notes of citrus and pine. A much sought-after and highly rated beer that all IPA lovers need to taste.
17. Pliny the Younger (Russian River Brewing Company, USA)
We wouldn’t normally include two similar beers from the same brewer, but Russian River’s Pliny the Younger deserves a mention, and we couldn’t leave it out.
This triple IPA is characterized by its higher ABV rating of 10.25% (compared with the 8% of Pliny the Elder) and is nothing short of a hop bomb.
That said, there’s plenty of depth and character to this beer, and it’s a big favorite with those who like their IPAs to be loud and uncompromising.
18. Heady Topper (The Alchemist, USA)
New England IPA is among the most divisive style of beer out there at the moment, but love it or loathe it, it’s a style that looks like it’s here to stay.
If you’re one of the few beer enthusiasts who hasn’t had the chance to find out what all the fuss is about, Heady Topper, brewed by The Alchemist, would be the perfect place to start.
Its flavor profile is dominated by the huge amount of American hops that go into it – and the brewer recommends you drink it straight from the can to experience the intense taste to its fullest.
19. Very Hazy (Tree House Brewing Company, USA)
This beer from Tree House was inspired by the brewery’s own acclaimed Haze beer, but with it, they’ve somehow managed to better the original. It’s a fruity beer that’s dominated by the flavor of grapefruit but there’s plenty more to look for beneath the surface.
You can probably guess what it looks like from the name, and the cloudiness also lends a deep, silky feel to it, making it all too easy to drink. Another favorite with the New England IPA crowd and a beer that demands to be sampled.
20. Marshmallow Handjee (3 Floyds Brewing Co., USA)
Currently occupying second place on BeerAdvocate’s list, this Russian imperial stout from 3 Floyds Brewing boasts an almost mind-blowing ABV of 15%.
It’s aged in bourbon barrels with vanilla beans, which has a big influence on its flavor, the appearance is dark almost to the point of being black and the mouthfeel is thick, smooth and silky.
This is another brew that has those lucky enough to sample it raving about its qualities. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find – so if you manage to acquire one, take your time to enjoy it.
21. Zombie Dust (3 Floyds Brewing Co., USA)
This beer is also from 3 Floyds, but it’s a completely different style to the Marshmallow Handjee above.
This one is an American pale ale, and it’s a shining example of the type – it’s a medium-bodied, single-hop brew that bursts with delicious fruity flavors.
It has an attractive orange-amber hue, and you’ll be able to detect distinct notes of citrus and pine to go with the predominant taste of Citra hops.
22. Morning Wood (Funky Buddha Brewery, USA)
This is a strong imperial porter with an alcohol content of 12% from Floridian brewery Funky Buddha.
It’s aged in bourbon casks, giving it a smoky flavor with unmistakable notes of coffee and maple syrup, and you may also be able to pick out undertones of chocolate and brown sugar.
Despite its high ABV, alcohol doesn’t dominate the taste, and many people also claim to detect the presence of bacon in this beer – so perhaps you can enjoy a Morning Wood for breakfast?
23. Barrel-Aged Abraxas (Perennial Artisan Ales, USA)
IPA aside, stout is among the most popular styles of beer currently being produced in the North American craft brewing scene, and this is one of the best you’ll find.
It has a high ABV of 11%, as is typical of many North American stouts, and the 12-month ageing process inside Rittenhouse Rye barrels imparts a distinctive flavor.
It’s also infused with cacao, vanilla, chili and cinnamon, making it a beer that’s hard to forget. It’s not available year-round, but if you can get hold of one, you’re in for a treat.
24. Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout – Double Barrel Aged (Cigar City Brewing, USA)
Another high-quality American stout, and at 11% ABV, this one also packs a punch. Like the stout above in #23, this one is also infused with cacao, vanilla, chili and cinnamon.
However, this one is aged in apple brandy and rum barrels, giving it a subtly different flavor that is rich and complex.
A delicious beer that many people rate among the best available – and one you need to try if you ever have the chance.
25. Zenne Y Frontera (Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen, Belgium)
A traditional lambic beer that’s aged for 12 months in 40-year-old casks prior to bottling for a richer, more complex flavor.
The result is an aromatic beer that represents the pinnacle of the style – it’s a dry, musty, nutty brew with hints of lemon zest and perhaps apple or apricot that lingers in the mouth long after you swallow it.
A recommended option for those who want to know what a great lambic beer can taste like.
26. Abner (Hill Farmstead Brewery, USA)
The Abner is a classic New England double IPA. It’s packed full of American malt and hop varieties and is brewed with the local water.
The brewing process includes double dry-hopping, and the beer is unfiltered, giving it the signature haziness of a New England IPA.
As you’d expect from this style of beer, the flavor profile is big on citrus, along with notes of pine and some more unexpected fruits – accompanied by the tiniest hint of sweetness from the malt.
This is everything you could want from a New England IPA and more.
27. Anabasis (Side Project Brewing, USA)
At 14% ABV, this American barleywine-style beer is among the most potent brews on our list, so it’s one to treat with caution.
It’s produced by American brewer Side Brewing Project using all-American barley and hops but combined with an English old ale yeast – with spectacular results.
Expect an explosion of flavors including strong notes of vanilla against a bourbon backdrop that comes from the barrels used to age it for 24 months.
This is the only beer of this style that made our list, so if you only try one American barleywine beer, make it this one.
28. Hefeweissbier (Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan, Germany)
A world-class beer with a good claim to being Germany’s best wheat beer, it’s a cloudy, opaque golden-yellow in appearance, smooth in the mouth and packed with strong notes of banana and exotic spices.
A must for all fans of wheat beer – and a recommended brew for those still undecided about this style.
29. Westmalle Tripel (Brouwerij Westmalle, Belgium)
This is another of Belgium’s Trappist beers, and to be honest, none of them let you down. Among the Trappist beers, this one ranks among those brewed in the largest quantities, making it easier to find than some of the others.
This is good news since this is a fantastic beer with a rich and complex flavor profile that includes hints of banana, cloves and Belgian yeast.
At 9.5% ABV, it’s a typically strong beer, and the alcohol adds a pleasant extra layer to the taste.
It’s hard to name a single Trappist beer as the best of them all, but this is one that should always feature in the conversation.
So many beers to try – so what are you waiting for?
Of course, there are innumerable other worthy beers that didn’t make our list – but we just don’t have space to include them all.
Working through this list will take a serious amount of effort and dedication, but you will be rewarded with the chance to taste some of the greatest beers on the planet.
So what are you waiting for?