Over the past decade, the craft beer scene in the U.S. has exploded, offering beer lovers across the country plenty of excellent drinking options. To find the top brews in each state we focused on the top-selling craft breweries, defined by the Brewers Association as small (producing 6 million barrels of beer or less per year), independent (less than 25% owned or controlled by an alcohol industry member that's not a craft brewer), and traditional (the majority of alcohol volume in beers whose flavor comes from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation).
As you learn about local favorites and discover new breweries, keep in mind that exact brewery data can be difficult to pin down, according to the Brewers Association.
Good People Brewing
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 17,000
Flagship beer: IPA
Since selling its first keg on the Fourth of July in 2008, this Birmingham brewery has grown steadily, and its products can now be found in Tennessee and Florida. It offers seven year-round brews, including the flagship unfiltered and dry-hopped IPA, as well as four seasonals, and experimental Bearded Reserves. Now the oldest and largest brewery in Alabama, Good People consistently receives high marks from fans on Beer Advocate.
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 154,300
Flagship beer: Alaskan Amber
One of the oldest craft breweries in the country and the oldest in the state, Alaskan Brewing Co. began brewing in 1986 and remains the top seller. To create the local favorite and flagship beer, Alaskan Amber, the brewers dug back into history for a Gold Rush-era recipe to create a malty alt-style beer.
SanTan Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 30,261
Flagship beer: Devil's Ale
When craft beer drinkers in Arizona are looking to cool off from the hot sun of the Southwest, they most often reach for brews from this Chandler-based brewery, founded in 2007. While you'll find plenty of creative pours like the Mr. Pineapple Wheat, Grapefruit Moonjuice, and rotating seasonal and pilot beers in SanTan's lineup, the flagship Devil's Ale is an award-winning pale ale with Cascade, Centennial, and Simcoe hops that provide a crisp, piney finish.
Lost Forty Brewing
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 10,000
Flagship beer: Love Honey Bock
Named for a patch of untouched forest in Calhoun County that -- legend says -- was saved when loggers chose to drink beer instead of chop trees, Lost Forty has quickly earned a loyal following with the use of local ingredients and creative brews. The hugely popular Love Honey Bock employs local honey for a velvety pour with notes of caramel and toasted bread. Be sure to check out the barrel-aged sours, too.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 1.1 million
Flagship beer: Pale Ale
This craft brew pioneer, founded by home brewer Ken Grossman in 1979, is known for its hops-forward beers that have come to define the West Coast style of brewing. The distinctive citrus-pine flavor of Cascade hops is unmistakable in the flagship Pale Ale, as is the hop-bomb of the Torpedo Extra IPA that uses an innovative dry-hop technique. The classic Stout is also a hit as are the seasonal releases.
New Belgium Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 957,969
Flagship beer: Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale
Another heavy-hitter in the craft beer world, New Belgium Brewing was launched commercially in 1991 by home brewers -- as many craft breweries are -- and is now a 100% employee-owned outfit with a strong commitment to sustainability. The signature Fat Tire brew -- with its iconic red bicycle -- is a bright and biscuity American interpretation of a Belgian-style ale. The Black Lager and Amber Ale are also favorites, but New Belgium offers an extensive array of styles and seasonals, as well.
Two Roads Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 42,000
Flagship beer: Road To Ruin Double IPA
Founded in 2012 by craft beer vets, Two Roads has earned a loyal following with a mix of traditional styles, innovative seasonals, and easy-drinking session beers. Fans gravitate toward the boldly hoppy Road to Ruin Double IPA, according to Beer Advocate, but also keep an eye out for fruit-forward brews like the Bog Wild Cranberry Sour and Passion Fruit Gose.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 233,916
Flagship beer: 60 Minute IPA
Since opening in 1995, this Delaware brewery has steadily expanded to reach fans across most of the U.S. and remains a big favorite in the Mid-Atlantic. While perhaps best known for its hoppy 60 Minute IPA -- denoting the length of the boil when hops are added -- the brewery is also famous for wildly experimental brews, such as its Ancient Ales that use recipes thousands of years old, and now SeaQuench Ale, which uses technology to create a low-calorie, low-carb, thirst-quenching, and tasty beer.
Cigar City Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 65,000
Flagship beer: Jai Alai IPA
This Tampa-based outfit steadily turns out highly rated beers that play on the flavors that delight Floridian palates. The hugely popular Jai Alai IPA accounts for over half of production, but beer nerds flock to specialty Latin-inspired flavors like El Coco, a tropical coconut flan ale, and Hunahpu's Imperial Stout, made with ancho and pasilla chile peppers, vanilla, cacao, and cinnamon -- ranked No. 4 in the country in barrel-aged form on Beer Advocate.
Sweetwater Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 226,420
Flagship beer: 420 Extra Pale Ale
A staple of the Southern craft beer scene, the fan base of this Atlanta brewery extends far beyond the city limits. Over the past 20 years, the laid-back brewery has grown to become the biggest craft producer in the Southeast, known not only for its hoppy flagship, but also innovative brews that use hop hash, and local favorite Blue, a blueberry wheat ale.
Maui Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 39,550
Flagship beer: Hiwa Coconut Porter
The popularity of this Hawaiian brewery has reached far beyond its island shores, and its production has rapidly grown since it was opened by a husband-wife duo 12 years ago. While they claim four flagship beers, the chocolatey Hiwa Coconut Porter takes top ranking among fans on Beer Advocate, followed by the Big Swell IPA.
Payette Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 11,003
Flagship beer: Rustler IPA
Since opening in 2010, this Boise-based brewery has made a name for itself as the largest producer in Idaho, now reaching beyond state lines. While Payette had to change the name of its flagship brew due to a conflicting trademark at a brewery in Arizona, the newly dubbed Rustler IPA remains a favorite. And the brewery shows no signs of slowing growth with an expanded lineup of year-rounds, and fun seasonals, sours, Imperial IPAs, and barrel-aged brews.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 71,580
Flagship beer: Anti-hero IPA
This Chicago brewery has risen to the top of the Illinois craft beer world -- with revolutionary fist raised -- since opening in 2010. The crisp, citrusy Anti-hero IPA leads the charge of the core lineup, while supporters cheer for seasonals like the Rosa hibiscus ale, the hop-themed League of Heroes IPAs, barrel-aged stouts, and more.
Three Floyds Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 55,248
Flagship beer: Alpha King Pale Ale
Founded in 1996 by two brothers and their dad, this Munster-based brewery prides itself on adhering to the strict German beer purity law known as Reinheitsgebot, which allows only the use of hops, barley, water, and yeast. The bold Alpha King Pale Ale is always a big seller, while beer geeks hail seasonals like the Behemoth Barleywine.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 8,432
Flagship beer: G.G. Dunkel
This 5-year-old Des Moines brewery continues to develop a strong following for its creative brews and colorful bottle art. Flagship G.G. Dunkel took home the gold at the Great American Beer Festival in 2015, and the brewers continue to raise the bar with cleverly named brews like Sir-Moch-A-Lot mocha stout, and pilot beers like the Piña Colada gose.
Tallgrass Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 22,000
Flagship beer: 8-Bit Pale Ale
Founded by home brewer Jeff Gill in 2006, Tallgrass Brewing expanded to a larger brewery home in 2014, firmly establishing itself as the top brewer in the state. The 8-Bit Pale Ale is a crisp, easy-drinking option, while fans on Beer Advocate also enjoy the unique Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout.
Alltech's Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 40,000
Flagship beer: Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
Proving there's more to drink in Kentucky than just bourbon, the state's oldest craft brewery -- developed on the site of a 200-year-old brewery -- turns out a wide range of excellent brews alongside Town Branch spirits. It should come as no surprise that the flagship brew is the bourbon-barrel-aged English Strong Ale, but the company also offers some other unique beers like the Blackberry Porter, Peach Barrel Wheat Ale, and the Vanilla Barrel Cream Ale.
Abita Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 150,000
Flagship beer: Amber
Abita may be brewed just outside of New Orleans, but there's no questioning its status as the official craft brew of the Big Easy. Since 1986, the brewery has steadily expanded its production of inventive ales and lagers. The flagship Abita Amber, is an easy-drinking Munich-style lager, but the chocolatey Turbodog dark brown ale and the Purple Haze raspberry lager have earned a huge following, as have seasonals and limited-release beers unique to NOLA like Mardi Gras Bock and the Pecan Ale.
Shipyard Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 118,018
Flagship beer: Export Ale
Born out of one of Maine's original brewpubs in 1994, this Portland favorite has since grown to be the largest brewery in the state and the fourth-largest in New England. In addition to flagship Export Ale, a refreshing American golden ale, fans also gravitate toward Monkeyfist IPA, the spiced, fall favorite Pumpkinhead Ale, and plenty of other seasonal specialties.
Flying Dog Brewery
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 101,337
Flagship beer: Raging Bitch Belgian IPA
Flying Dog Brewery may have started in Colorado in the early 1990s, but since moving to the East Coast in 2006, it has become a staple of Maryland's craft beer scene and by far the biggest producer. Over the decades, the brewery has rapidly expanded its reach and now turns out over 40 types of beer such as the blood-orange ale Bloodline, but the flagship Raging Bitch Belgian IPA is still responsible for one-third of Flying Dog's sales.
The Boston Beer Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 2.3 million
Flagship beer: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
Launched in 1984, Boston Beer Co. -- best known for its iconic flagship Samuel Adams Boston Lager -- has since grown to become the second-largest craft brewery in the country. The company has expanded its lineup over the years to include seasonal favorites like the Winter Lager and Honey Rye Pale Ale, and while the majority of brewing is done out-of-state at larger facilities, its headquarters and pilot program remain in the Boston area.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 421,529
Flagship beer: Amber Ale
What began as a home brew supply shop in the mid-1980s with beer brewed in a soup kettle has since grown to become one of the biggest regional craft breweries in the country reaching over 30 states. The balanced bitterness of the flagship Amber Ale is among a lineup of eight year-round brews, but fans keep an eye out for the extensive roster of rotating seasonal and specialty brews.
August Schell Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 131,000
Flagship beer: Deer Brand
Far pre-dating most U.S. breweries -- let alone craft beer makers -- this Minnesota brewery was founded in 1860 by German immigrant August Schell, and is the second-oldest family-owned brewery after Yuengling. Specializing in German-style lagers -- including the flagship Deer Brand -- the long-running brewery still manages to be innovative. Bananas Foster Weizenbock, anyone?
Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 13,268
Flagship beer: Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale
Lazy Magnolia opened in 2003 and has grown ever since. Fully embracing a laid-back Southern attitude, many of the brewery's beers utilize local ingredients, including the flagship Southern Pecan Nut and the Backwoods Belgian that features a "Southern" infusion of honeysuckle flowers. Don't miss the limited-release Debutant bottle series and Mississippi Nectar mead made with local wildflower honey.
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 195,400
Flagship beer: Boulevard Pale Ale
Boulevard Brewing produced its first batches in 1989 using vintage brewing equipment from a closed brewery in Bavaria. The company has since expanded the lineup beyond the flagship Boulevard Pale Ale to include a diverse array of year-rounds, creative seasonals, and the high-alcohol Smokestack Series. The brewery recently sold to Belgian brewer Duvel Moortgat, yet still remains independent enough to meet the Brewers Association's guidelines.
Big Sky Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 40,000
Flagship beer: Moose Drool Brown Ale
First opened in 1995, Big Sky Brewing is by far the biggest brewery in Big Sky Country and is now distributed in 23 states. The chocolatey malt of flagship Moose Drool Brown Ale is easily Big Sky's best-known beer, both locally and beyond Montana, while other favorites include mostly animal-themed beers like Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout and Scape Goat Pale Ale.
Nebraska Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 8,304
Flagship beer: Cardinal Pale Ale
Longtime home brewer Paul Kavulak opened the brewpub of Nebraska Brewing Co. in 2007 with his wife, Kim, and it has grown steadily since then to become the biggest craft outfit in the state. The flagship Cardinal Pale Ale came about as a happy accident during the home-brewing days, and the offerings have since expanded to a solid lineup of year-round beers, seasonals, and limited edition barrel-aged favorites.
Ellis Island Casino and Brewery
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 4,250
Flagship beer: Amber
If you care for a bit of gambling with your craft beer, this Vegas microbrewery is the perfect destination. Located just off the Strip, the small brewery offers a solid array of brews, including an amber, weiss, stout, and IPA. They even shuffle the deck with a few seasonals.
Smuttynose Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 48,000
Flagship beer: Finestkind IPA
This award-winning and largest LEED Gold-certified brewery, located on the scenic and historic Towle Farm in Hampton, New Hampshire, has been turning out top-notch beers since 1994. The hoppy, East Coast-style Finestkind IPA is definitely one of the biggest draws, but you'll also find an excellent selection of year-round classics, seasonal and rotating options, Belgian styles, and more in the "Big Beer" series, as well as rare and unusual beers from the Smuttlabs in Portsmouth.
Flying Fish Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 23,920
Flagship beer: Extra Pale Ale
This Jersey craft brewery makes the proud claim of being the first "virtual" microbrewery, initially selling its beers online in 1994. A year later, it went brick-and-mortar as the first in South Jersey and is now the largest craft brewery among more than 70 in the state. Beyond its flagship brew, Flying Fish offers interesting year-rounds like the Belgian-style Abbey Dubbel and American Tripel, as well as popular seasonals and limited releases.
Santa Fe Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 21,165
Flagship beer: Happy Camper IPA
The oldest brewery in the state, Santa Fe Brewing Co. started as a one-man operation in 1988 and has since grown to become the state's largest craft brewery, as well as a very sustainable one. The brewery even grows four types of hops on a nearby farm, including Neomexicanus, a wild hop indigenous to Northern New Mexico and considered by some to be the only native North American hop suitable for brewing. In addition to the popular Happy Camper IPA, fans also enjoy the Imperial Java Stout, as well as rotating seasonals, barrel-aged sours, and experimentals.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 282,000
Flagship beer: Brooklyn Lager
Opened by a former Middle East news correspondent and home brewer, this Brooklyn favorite began brewing in 1988 and has steadily grown since then, thanks in large part to word-of-mouth publicity. The roster has since expanded from the signature Brooklyn Lager to include a diverse lineup of year-rounds, seasonals like the popular Black Chocolate Russian Imperial Stout and Post Road Pumpkin Ale, plus quarterly experimentals and brewmaster reserves.
Highland Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 46,478
Flagship beer: Gaelic Ale
Founded in 1994, Highland Brewing Co. was the first legal brewery in Asheville, North Carolina, since Prohibition and is the largest family-owned in the Southeast. The malty amber of flagship Gaelic Ale is a popular choice, but fans also gravitate toward the Highland Oatmeal Porter, as well as seasonal and small-batch brews.
Fargo Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: N/A
Flagship beer: Wood Chipper IPA
Fargo Brewing Co. took a long road to go from an idea in a garage to its first Wood Chipper IPA on tap in 2011 and a full-fledged brewery a couple years later, but fans think the wait was worth it. Other popular pours include the Stone's Throw Scottish Ale and the Sodbuster Porter.
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 140,235
Flagship beer: Dortmunder Gold Lager
Founded by two brothers in 1986, this Cleveland brewery was the first craft microbrewery and brewpub in the state. The operation has expanded significantly since then, now recognized for its flagship Dortmunder-style lager -- locally known as "Dort" -- as well as a diverse array of styles often named for local legends and lore, plus many pub-only special brews.
Choc Beer Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 8,500
Flagship beer: Choc Beer
Not to be confused with a chocolate-flavored beer, Choc beer takes its name from "Choctaw Indian beer," a unique style made with golden wheat and other local ingredients that legend says was taught to coal miners in southeastern Oklahoma by the native tribe. A variation of the brews survived underground through Prohibition and decades to follow, still made by the same family alongside other craft brews.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 374,313
Flagship beer: Black Butte Porter
What began as a brewpub in Bend selling 310 barrels its first year has dramatically grown to a hugely popular operation that now ships to 28 states with a new East Coast brewery in Roanoke, Virginia. Best known for its highly rated Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Ale, the brewery also turns out an array of year-rounds, seasonals, and limited-edition series.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 2.7 million
Flagship beer: Traditional Lager
This local favorite is not only the oldest operating brewery in the country -- since 1829 -- but it also consistently tops the Brewers Association of Top 50 Craft Breweries in the country. The malty, medium-bodied Traditional Lager is easily the most popular and recognizable brews, but Yuengling also has several other classic and seasonal beers.
Narragansett Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 91,041
Flagship beer: Lager
Locally known as 'Gansett, this legendary brewery has managed to survive in various forms for 127 years, and has taken the recent craft beer movement in stride. The iconic flagship Lager is still a staple in the region, but the lineup now includes a variety of styles, including a coffee-milk stout, IPAs, German-inspired Märzen and Sticke Altbier, and more.
Thomas Creek Brewery
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 19,000
Flagship beer: River Falls Irish Red Ale
Since 1998, this family-owned Greenville brewery has grown a loyal fan base, beginning with its flagship Irish Red Ale. Its offerings also include the popular Trifecta IPA, and unique specialty brews like the Banana Split Chocolate Stout and Dirty Monk, a Belgian-style porter.
Crow Peak Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 2,128
Flagship beer: 11th Hour IPA
This small but mighty brewpub began operating in 2007 in Spearfish as the state's first new brewery since 1942. The flagship 11th Hour IPA, made with Cascade and Amarillo hops, is easily the best seller, but the Pile O' Dirt Porter is also a big seller alongside an array of small- and big-batch brews.
Yazoo Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 24,300
Flagship beer: Sly Rye Porter
Started by home brewer Linus Hall and his wife, Lila, in 2003, this Nashville favorite has quickly grown in size and popularity over the recent years. The popular Sly Rye Porter offers a chocolatey depth with a spicy and dry finish thanks to malted rye. Other favorites include Dos Perros, a Mexican-Austrian style brown ale, and Gerst Amber, a revived pre-Prohibition Nashville legend.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 550,000
Flagship beer: Shiner Bock
This family-owned Texas icon has been brewing since 1909, making it the oldest independent brewery in the state. The malty, full-bodied Shiner Bock is a favorite in the Lone Star State, they also offer other popular brews like the Bohemian Black Lager, the citrus-ginger flavored Ruby Redbird, and seasonal hits like the Holiday Cheer Dunkelweizen.
Uinta Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 86,705
Flagship beer: Pale Ale
Launched in 1993 in a former mechanic's garage with a home-brew type system, this wind-powered Salt Lake City brewery has since expanded its reach to over 32 states. The flagship Pale Ale, locally known as Cutthroat, is full of piney hops and caramel malts yet still remains low in alcohol -- under 4% due to Utah distribution laws -- as do their other flagship brews. Though select brews, including Hop Nosh IPA, reach above that threshold.
Long Trail Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 131,000
Flagship beer: Long Trail Ale
Tucked in the heart of the Green Mountains, this Vermont brewery has been winning over fans of beer and the great outdoors since 1989. While the flagship Long Trail Ale is a German-style altbier, you'll also find many English-style top-fermented ales in the lineup, along with seasonal and limited-run beers.
Starr Hill Brewery
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 32,000
Flagship beer: Northern Lights IPA
Founded in 1999, this award-winning Virginia brewery has steadily expanded its reach to the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest, and is part of the region's Brew Ridge Trail self-guided brewery tour. The flagship Northern Lights IPA remains a constant favorite, as does the Dark Starr Stout.
Georgetown Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 53,575
Flagship beer: Manny's Pale Ale
When this Seattle brewery began in 2002, it was a draft-only operation, but it has since expanded greatly in size and its products can now be found in cans. Manny's Pale Ale with a malty middle and a hoppy finish is the flagship, but the Lucille IPA is also a big seller.
Mountain State Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 4,500
Flagship beer: Seneca Indian Pale Ale
Founded in 2005 by two friends, this West Virginia brewery prides itself on self-sufficiency -- including growing its own hops and milling grains -- as well as pure, mountain spring water for its popular brews. The flagship Seneca Indian Pale Ale is a big favorite as is the Miner's Daughter Oatmeal Stout, but don't miss the seasonal specials, as well.
Minhas Craft Brewery
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 274,454
Flagship beer: Huber Bock
The oldest craft brewery in the Midwest and one of the oldest in the country, this Monroe brewery first opened in 1845 (originally known as the Monroe Brewery) and is currently run by brother and sister, Ravinder and Manjit Minhas. The award-winning Huber Bock has been a favorite for decades, while the Simpler Times Lager, a Trader Joe's staple, is an affordable, easy-sipping option.
Black Tooth Brewing Co.
Barrels of beer produced in 2016: 8,150
Flagship beer: Saddle Bronc Brown Ale
This brewery, located at the base of the Big Horn Mountains, had humble beginnings when it opened its doors in 2010 and has grown steadily since then. The Saddle Bronc, an English Style Brown Ale, offers a well-balanced nuttiness, while the Bomber Mountain Amber and Hot Streak IPA are also popular flagships favored by locals.