Our Favorite Southern Craft Beers, State by State

May 16, 2014 | By | Comments (27)

southernfoodnow online banner Our Favorite Southern Craft Beers, State by State

Not so long ago, the predictable pilsner prevailed in Dixie. Red-and-white cans bobbed in our coolers. We lived the High Life at tailgates. But now you’ll find us cracking open a different sort of brew.

After many grassroots efforts to revise laws governing beer production, the South is now a veritable hop heaven and craft beer destination with the highest annual production rates of any region in the country.

If you haven’t paid your local brewery a visit, now’s the best time to enjoy the beers of summer. These are our favorite beers from the South, state by state.

Good People IPA

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

Alabama (Birmingham): Good People IPA (IPA)
This supremely hoppy brew is our Birmingham-based staff’s local favorite.

Ozark Beer Co.

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

Arkansas (Rogers): Ozark Beer Co. American Pale Ale (Pale Ale)
Growlers of this Pale Ale are the perfect excuse to invite friends over for a backyard get-together.

Red Brick Hoplanta

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

Georgia (Atlanta): Red Brick Hoplanta (IPA)
Named after its hometown, we can confirm that Hoplanta is indeed “hoppier than a frog in a buggy summer.”

Cigar City Brewing Co.

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

Florida (Tampa): Cigar City Jai Alai IPA (IPA)
Regarded as one of the country’s best IPA-style beers, Jai Alai has notes of citrus and tropical fruit.

West Sixth Lemon Grass American Wheat

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

Kentucky (Lexington): West Sixth Lemongrass American Wheat (Wheat)
Kentucky may be famous for bourbon, but breweries like West Sixth are making us take note of their craft beer scene too.

Bayou Teche LA31

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

Louisiana (Arnaudville): Bayou Teche LA 31 Bière Pâle (Pale Ale)
Straight out of Cajun country, this pale ale will make you want to throw a crawfish boil.

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

Maryland (Baltimore): Heavy Seas Loose Cannon (IPA)
This IPA is hopped in three stages of its brewing process, earning its nickname Hop3.

Lazy Magnolia Timber Beast

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

Mississippi (Kiln): Lazy Magnolia Timber Beast (Double IPA)
This high-gravity IPA proves that good beer can come from unexpected places.

Boulevard Brewing Co. Double Wide

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

Missouri (Kansas City): Boulevard Brewing Company Double-Wide IPA (IPA)
With a name like double-wide, you know this beer has got a little something extra (six kind of hops to be exact).

Full Steam Cackalacky

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

North Carolina (Durham): Full Steam Cack-a-lacky Ginger Pale Ale (Pale Ale)
We all have that one friend who claims pale ales are boring. With the sweet heat of fresh ginger, this is the beer that will change your friend’s mind.

Prairie Artisan Ales

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

Oklahoma (Krebs): Prairie Artisan Ales Birra (Saison)
In the case of Prairie Artisan Ales, you can judge a beer by its label. This crisp, light saison is our favorite from this small brewery to watch.

Charleston Craft Beer

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

South Carolina (Charleston): A tie between Coast 32/50 Kölsch (Kölsch) and Westbrook Brewing Co. White Thai (White Ale)
With these two breweries and another six within the city limits, the Charleston area is planting its flag on the Southern craft beer map. Coast’s refreshing kölsch and Westbrook’s Southeast Asia-inspired White Thai are perfect porch sippers.

Wiseacre Tiny Bomb

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

Tennessee (Memphis): Wiseacre Tiny Bomb (American Pilsner)
If you’re just starting to break into craft beer, pick up this Memphis-made pilsner with a touch of honey. Wiseacre’s cans designed by Nashville artist Rachel Briggs are so stunning you may not want to put them down.

Jester King Craft Beer

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

Texas (Austin): Jester King Noble King (Farmhouse IPA)
Jester King has a cult following that extends well beyond the Lone Star State, and this IPA will show you why.

Vienna Lager

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

Virginia (Lexington): Devils’ Backbone Vienna Lager (Lager)
If you’ve hit the hop wall, reach for this nutty and slightly sweet lager.

West Virginia Craft Beer

Photo: Chris Ellenbogen

West Virginia: Bridge Brew Works Momma Rye IPA (Rye IPA) and Mountain State Brewing Co. Cold Trail Ale (Blonde Ale)
Bridge Brew Works and Mountain State Brewing Co. are making sure West Virginia isn’t counted out of the craft beer game.

What are your favorite Southern brews? Tag your posts, tweets and Instagrams with #SouthernFoodNow. You might just be featured on The Daily South.


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  4. AM

    Any beer placed in a can should be considered a federal crime.

    June 14, 2014 at 8:22 am
  5. Dennis marchesani

    Living in N.J. , I always look forward to finding new craft or microbrew beers when I travel. I like the selections and will try to find Wiseacre Tiny Bomb when I visit Nashville this summer. Reading the other blogs, I find it interesting that some Southerners don’t view The Virginias as southern states. Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t the capital of the confederacy in Virginia. I do however view Maryland as a more Northeastern state. Anyway I find all the selection to be very interesting and would love to try them all.

    May 24, 2014 at 12:25 pm
  6. Bronte

    Countryboy brewery Lexington, Cougar bait my favorite

    May 24, 2014 at 12:04 pm
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    […] Heavy Seas Beer was excited to be in our list of the best craft beers in The South. […]

    May 21, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    NOLA brewing is probably one of the worst in the south if not the worse.

    May 21, 2014 at 10:02 am
  9. John Jester

    Maryland is south of the Mason-Dixon line so yeah, we’re in the South. Our state was quite divided during the Civil War.

    May 20, 2014 at 1:23 pm
  10. Brian McCall

    Also, since when are OK and MD considered the South?

    May 20, 2014 at 1:08 pm
  11. Brian McCall

    So glad to see West Sixth selected as the best in KY, but I’d definitely pick others, like Country Western, their collaboration w/ Country Boy, their cocoa porter, their Heller Heaven double IPA, and their cherry quad.

    May 20, 2014 at 1:07 pm
  12. Brian McCall

    Louisiana is indeed listed, boyo: Louisiana (Arnaudville): Bayou Teche LA 31 Bière Pâle (Pale Ale)- Straight out of Cajun country, this pale ale will make you want to throw a crawfish boil.

    May 20, 2014 at 1:06 pm
  13. oliverklosoff

    “My current favorite is Abita’s Andygator, an excellent Belgian style ale with a bit of kick.”

    Andygator is a Maibock and bocks are German, not Belgian.

    As far as Maryland not being souther, it’s really semantics as it is below the Mason-Dixon Line.

    May 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm
  14. Kit

    Wow – someone really likes hop bombs. My local Kroger feels like they have a great craft beer select: 24 IPAs and a dozen pale ales. Where are the sours, the dortmunder exports, the coffee stouts? Where are the hundreds of other beer styles out there? I couldn’t get a gose if my life depended on it. Luckily I brew my own and bide my time. Eventually there will be a backlash – as there usually is when something is so horribly unbalanced and overdone, but I’m afraid most brewers would just find another style to brew into the ground.

    May 19, 2014 at 7:08 pm
  15. Phill

    Isn’t it great to have so many good craft beers to argue about? What a good problem to have! The south has been stuck with the big brands for too long.

    May 19, 2014 at 4:13 pm
  16. tommyboy

    This is the problem I see with craft beers these days (in the mid south, at least): too many IPAs. Not so much with the breweries making them, but rather with the stores and bars/restaurants serving them. The shelves and taps are inundated with IPAs. I like a good one as much as the next guy, but I’ve about had it with the unbalanced availability of beers NOT with the word ‘pale’ on their labels. But I get it. It’s the trendy brew to drink when you want to dabble in the craft scene. I’ve just had enough and felt the need to whine when I saw this list covered up in IPAs.

    May 19, 2014 at 3:47 pm
  17. Rob McDonald

    Yeah, come on with the IPAs. Sure, I like a good IPA..but there are many more delicious porters, stouts, ambers, Belgians, and more. My current favorite is Abita’s Andygator, an excellent Belgian style ale with a bit of kick. I also prefer Good People’s Snake Handler to their regular IPA. I could go on…

    May 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm
  18. jb

    Maryland??????……is not southern. Neither are the Virginias.

    May 19, 2014 at 1:06 pm
  19. Kirk Gipson

    I’ll spot you Oklahoma and Mizzou, but Maryland’s in the South? Really?

    May 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm
  20. Grant Parish

    Why all the IPAs? Lots of other great beers from many of the brewers listed.

    May 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm
  21. Roy Dowty

    Great beer in Memphis with Wiseacres one of my favorite.
    Tiny Bomb is a great pilsner not to mention ther IPA Ananda

    May 19, 2014 at 12:42 pm
  22. Mary Lee

    The local brew business is definitely booming in Huntsville. Yellowhammer’s Lost Highway is my favorite!

    May 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm
  23. Steve Bender

    How could you overlook Delaware’s Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA, arguably the best beer in America?

    May 18, 2014 at 8:26 am
  24. Kelly

    I vote for Abita Beer brewed in Abita Springs, Louisiana. In particular, I like their Turbodog (dark ale) and Amber (lager). They also make great root beer!

    May 17, 2014 at 10:51 am
  25. Jamie

    I take it that the writer prefers an IPA.

    May 17, 2014 at 9:53 am
  26. Kp

    Seems that the author has left out the fine state of Louisiana and the NOLA brewing co. They have a few great brews worthy of a sampling trip including the Hopatoulas.

    May 17, 2014 at 9:22 am
  27. Sean Lilly Wilson

    Thanks so much for including our Cack-a-lacky ginger pale ale in this great list of Southern beers! What an honor.

    May 17, 2014 at 12:13 am

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