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The World’s Best Beers, According To The Masses — Plus Tasting Notes

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The world of “craft beer” has come to dominate the beer conversation for a good long while now. But before there was great craft beer, there were more than a few great beers (all well crafted) from around the world (with Belgium and Germany often dominating that convo). Some of those top beers from around the world are made by big-time brewers while others were made in tiny Trappist monasteries most of us have likely never heard of.

The point is, there’s been a lot of great beer around for a long time. So we’re not going to pretend that any single list of ten beers is going to be correct, much less comprehensive. This list is just a look at what people like to drink around the world. And while a lot of these lists pulled from the masses tend to be very populist and Americo-centric, this one hits on some seriously good international beers.

Ranker asked the world what the world’s best beers are and 205,000 votes later a clear top ten emerged. At the end of the day, that’s pretty hard to argue with. Let’s dive in!

10. Leffe Blonde

Leffe

Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 6.6%
Brewery: Stella Artois (AB InBev)

The Beer:

This is probably the beer that leaves me the coldest on this list. It’s fine. I’ve drunk a lot of it. But that was before I really go “into” Belgian beers. Or maybe my tastes just changed. Anyway, this Blonde is a solid example of the style and serves as a great entry-point beer for Belgium’s many beer styles.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a mild sense of wheat that manifests in what was once cloves and banana. The fizziness is cut with spice while the beer tends to stay full-bodied and refreshing. The sip carries a bit of the stainless steel vat and corn adjunct within it which makes you wonder what it was like when it was still made in an abbey.

9. Chimay Première (Red)

Chimay

Style: Dubbel
ABV: 7%
Brewery: Bières de Chimay

The Beer:

This was the first modern-day beer that was brewed at the Notre-Dame de Scourmont Abbey, hence the name. The beer is a Belgian Dubbel that amps up the flavors while adding depth to the beer that’s very enticing and welcoming.

Tasting Notes:

Sweet apricots, dark spices, malty bread, and brown sugar greet you. The sip leans into the fruit and clove-forward spice with a small nutty edge and velvety texture. A faint hoppy bitterness arrives late on the dry yet full end.

8. Rochefort 8

Bevmo

Style: Strong Ale
ABV: 9.2%
Brewery: Brasserie de Rochefort

The Beer:

This classic Trappist ale is a great example of the style. The water comes from within the monastery’s walls and is mixed with malts and hops from Germany.

Tasting Notes:

Dried stone fruits, nuts, spice, and brown sugar verging on molasses give this brew a very Christmas cake feel. The taste carries on all of those notes with a clear alcohol edge that reminds you to take it slow. The spice and sweet linger the longest on the bold end.

7. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.6%
Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

The Beer:

This almost feels like a record-scratch moment after those three big Belgian beers. Still, Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale is an American craft classic and deserves a spot on any best beers list. This beer from Chico, California is still one of the easiest drinking craft ales on the market to this day.

Tasting Notes:

Those resin-laden Cascade hops shine through without overpowering the sourdough malt and light citrus notes. The sip leans in the malt with a well-balanced bitterness from the subtly dank hops as a little bit of savory fruit cuts in. The end is short, hoppy, malty, and just the right amount of dry.

6. Hoegaarden Witbier

Hoegaarden

Style: Wheat Beer
ABV: 4.9%
Brewery: Brouwerij van Hoegaarden (AB InBev)

The Beer:

The original Hoegaarden used to be spiked with coriander and orange peels during the brewing process, creating a unique wheat beer (or witbier). That history is why the beer is still often served with a sad orange wedge at bars in the U.S. to this day.

Regardless, this is a very popular wheat beer that goes down without asking too much of the drinker.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a bit of clove and banana up top but it’s slightly artificial. Notes of citrus and pear mingle with almost peppery wheat and a hint of grassiness. The dry end is slightly honeyed and pulls back to the fruit.

5. Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)

Chimay

Style: Strong Ale
ABV: 9%
Brewery: Bières de Chimay

The Beer:

This Chimay has been aged in French and American oak. It truly feels like the progenitor of the barrel-aged beers that dominate the craft beer world today. It’s amazingly well-crafted at Scourmont Abbey and brings a real sense of place in every sip.

Tasting Notes:

Christmas spices, dried stone fruits, sweet figs, and a hint of vanilla open this one up. The sip carries on in that vein with a flourish of vinous notes that lean towards Cognac, but it’s really all that fruit and spice that marries the oak that lets this creamy brew shine to the last drop.

4. Rochefort 10

Bevmo

Style: Quadrupel
ABV: 11.3%
Brewery: Brasserie de Rochefort

The Beer:

This Quad is all about amping up ABVS and dialing in the flavors while emboldening the overall experience of the beer. It’ll also get you fall-down drunk if you’re not careful. Those Trappist monks are tricky that way.

Tasting Notes:

This is the perfect holiday season sipper. The Christmas cake spices, nuts, dried berries, and maltiness is accented by a molasses rum essence, dark cacao, and a very distant hint of bananas foster. The sip doesn’t shy away from any of those notes on the palate and adds a bit of creamy, almost burnt toffee to the mix. The end is reminiscent of drunken nights around Christmas.

3. St. Bernardus Abt 12

St. Bernardus

Style: Quadrupel
ABV: 10%
Brewery: Brouwerij St. Bernardus

The Beer:

Speaking of drunk holiday nights, St. Bernardus is an abbey ale (that means it’s not made by Trappist monks) that will also knock you on your ass if you’re not careful. The ultra-strong ale is designed to carry a punch in both flavor and ABVs, and it doesn’t disappoint on either front.

Tasting Notes:

This one leans more into the toffee sweetness on the nose with minor hints of all those Christmas cake elements. The taste is fruitier, brings more vanilla, and keeps the sweetness closer to sugar cane to the point that it might slightly remind you of cream soda. There’s a nice lightness to the end that can be very deceptive given the alcohol in this one.

2. Guinness

Guinness

Style: Dry Irish Stout
ABV: 4.2%
Brewery: Guinness Brewery (Diageo)

The Beer:

One of the best selling international beers of all time at number two? Yeah. That makes sense. The dark stuff is a classic for a reason. It’s also arguably the most quaffable beer on the list with the most flavor in the actual pint — thanks to the deeply roasted malts involved in the red stout.

Tasting Notes:

Those roasted malts come through with a little hint of coffee bitterness and a distant note of grassy hops. The roasted malts continue to be the star of the sip as the bitterness sweetens from coffee to dark chocolate and very, very subtle sourness arrives. A bit of toffee sweetness arrives and helps usher in a full-velvet end with a return hit from the coffee bitterness.

1. Stella Artois

Stella Artois

Style: Lager
ABV: 5%
Brewery: Stella Artois (AB InBev)

The Beer:

With all the lagers available in the world, Stella continues to dominate. Just last year, Stella won the World’s Beer Award distinction as the world’s best international lager. And that’s because Stella does what it says it will. It’s easy-drinking, refreshing, and affordable.

Tasting Notes:

There is a note of floral hops when you pop this open. The malts feel there while the bitterness from the hops balances out the beer. It’s light, dry, and tastes like a solid lager that neither offends or wows.

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  1. Pingback: The World's Best Beers, According To The Masses - Plus Tasting Note - POP TIMES UK - Home Growing Hops

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