The Most Iconic Beer in Every State

A surprising number of IPAs and a beer made from pecans are among America’s most iconic beers.

Sure, there have been lots of articles written about the each state’s beer of choice and many more about the best beers from each state. But is there an article about each state’s most iconic beer?

Well, there is now. Below you’ll find each and every state’s home-brewed beer (with one or two impossible-to-ignore exceptions) that stands out as representative of that state. This is regardless of if the brewery is craft or not, flavor or any other shenanigans. This is the beer that comes to mind when you think of that state. And yes, sorry, Missouri, but Budweiser had to come from somewhere.

Alabama – Good People IPA

It’s not a huge name on the beer scene, but Alabama’s Good People Brewery is quickly gaining popularity. Their imperial stout was named one of Paste magazine’s top 10 for 2015.

Alaska – Alaskan Amber Ale

Alaskan Amber
Flickr/Addisen Berry

Stop into any bar in Alaska, and you’ll find a local kicking back with an Alaskan Amber from the Alaskan Brewing Co.

Arizona – Four Peaks Kilt Lifter

Besides having one of the coolest names ever, Kilt Lifter is also crazy good. Not only is Four Peaks Brewery a favorite in Arizona, but also it’s a favorite across the U.S.A. It was named as the 2014 best craft brewery by the Travel Channel.

Arkansas – Diamond Bear Pale Ale

Named after two Arkansas institutions: its diamond mine (the only one open to the public in the world) and its former motto as The Bear State.

California – Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA

Flickr/Christer Evartsed
Flickr/Christer Evartsed

Although it’s one of America’s largest brewing companies, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. still crafts a well-balanced, complex beer. And Californians wouldn’t have it any other way.

Colorado – Coors Lite

Even though Coors headquarters has teamed up with Miller in Chicago, it’s hard to argue that the Taste of the Rockies’ is anything but the most iconic beer in Colorado. With apologies to the New Belgium Brewing Co.

Connecticut – Gandhi-Bot Double IPA

New England Brewing Co. wasn’t messing around when they crafted this local favorite: it boasts an intense aroma and an 8.8% ABV, which might have something to do with why it’s so popular.

Delaware – Dogfish Head IPA

Any brewery that has become one of America’s top 25 by volume isn’t really a craft brewery anymore. But Dogfish Head is sticking to their guns.

Florida – Jai Alai IPA


As comfortable in a can as it is in a bottle, the Cigar City Brewing beverage is a Florida mainstay and necessity for boating or kicking back on the beach.

Georgia – SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale

Although SweetWater Brewing Company produces unpasteurized beer (thus limiting its distribution), it is still one of America’s most popular beers.

Hawaii – Longboard Island Lager

Flikr/John Gateley
Flickr/John Gateley

You’ve probably tried a Kona Brewing Co. product before, even if you’ve never spent time on the islands. But you probably didn’t know that even though Kona headquarters are in Hawai’i, they are owned by Craft Brew Alliance out of Oregon.

Idaho – Laughing Dog IPA

Like the happy pooch that adorns their label, the Laughing Dog Brewery is a iconic throughout Idaho.

Illinois – Miller High Life

Miller High Life, is, after all, the Champagne of Beers.

Indiana – Alpha King

Flikr/Danny Armstrong
Flickr/Danny Armstrong

The flagship beer of Three Floyds Brewing, Alpha King lives up to its name in Indiana.

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Iowa – Pastime Pale Ale

The pale ale from Madhouse doesn’t score very high with many beer aficionados. But that doesn’t matter; Iowa loves it anyway.

Kansas –Ad Astra Ale

This ale from Free State Brewing draws its name from the state’s motto: Ad astra per aspera –To the stars through difficulties.

Kentucky – Nut Brown Ale

Bluegrass Brewing Co. set out to make an Old World ale with their Nut Brown, and they achieved it. They use English hops in their brewing. And the good people of Kentucky are on board.

Louisiana – Abita Amber

Though the Jockamo IPA, Golden and Purple Haze are just as iconic. Might as well make it a variety pack.

Maine – Allagash White

Flickr/Thomas Cizauskas

The Allagash Brewing Company brews live beer, adding live yeast to finish. The White’s distinctive taste comes from coriander and Curacao orange peel.

Maryland – Flying Dog Pale Ale

With the support of Hunter S. Thompson, who lived nearby, and label artwork done by his biographer, Flying Dog could never have been anything but Maryland’s most iconic beer.

Massachusetts – Samuel Adams

Any cooler in New England will have a few varieties of Sam Adams stashed in it, no matter if the rest of the beer are Bud Lights or Pliny the Elders. Sam just seems to fit in everywhere.

Michigan – Bell’s Lager

Although its typical gold can (blue for the light beer) is instantly recognizable, Bell’s also make a number of other beers.

Minnesota – Grain Belt


Grain Belt has experienced its ups and down during its existence, but it’s made an impressive comeback in the past few years, becoming the northern mid-west’s beer of choice.

Mississippi – Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale

Everything about this choice screams “southern.” From pecans to the very name of the Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company, they knew who their target was. This is also world’s only beer brewed from pecans. Thought you should know.

Missouri – Budweiser

America’s largest brewery by volume, Missouri’s beer may also be America’s, and the world’s, most iconic.

Montana – Moose Drool

Flickr/Bill Gracey

Big Sky Brewing Co.’s Moose Drool tastes better than it sounds, just ask the locals. The brown ale has become a something of a legend in Montana.

Nebraska – Hop God IPA

Hope God is Belgian-style IPA that also has a big brother. A 10.1 ABV version aged six months in French Oak Chardonnay Barrels. Touche, Nebraska Brewing Co., touche.

Nevada – Dirty Dog IPA

Las Vegas’s Big Dog’s Brewing Co.’s IPA is a rather high-rated, strongly flavored selection for the state’s most iconic beer. But then again, people from Nevada are pretty strong-willed themselves.

New Hampshire – Finestkind IPA

Flikr/Lynn F
Flickr/Lynn F

Smuttynose is distributed in 19 states, but nowhere is it as popular as its home state of New Hampshire.

New Jersey – Exit 4

The Exit 4 was the first in series of Flying Fish limited-run beers named after exits in New Jersey, which is just a really cool idea. It’s an American Trippel released in 2009.

New Mexico – Santa Fe Pale Ale

New Mexico’s oldest brewery, the Santa Fe Brewing Company is proud of its home, emblazoned with the New Mexican sunburst on its label. And New Mexicans are proud of their favorite beer.

New York – Brooklyn Lager


Whether it’s a seasonal selection or the standard lager, a beverage from the Brooklyn Brewery is never far from a New Yorker’s hand.

North Carolina – Red Oak Amber Lager

Red Oak brews unfiltered, unpasteurized Bavarian style lagers. And the good people of North Carolina love it.

North Dakota – Wood Chipper

Does it really take reminding that Fargo Brewing Company’s beer is named after the woodchipper in the Coen brothers’ famous movie? Didn’t think so.

Ohio –Dortmunder Gold


This dortmunder-style lager from the Great Lakes Brewing Co. was originally named The Heisman.

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Oklahoma – Atlas IPA

Marshall Brewing Company demands your respect with their Atlas IPA. Though it’s a favorite in Oklahoma, it’s nearly impossible to find anywhere else.

Oregon –Deschutes Black Butte Porter

People from Oregon aren’t messing around when it comes to beer. The Black Butte Porter is a butt-kicker in all senses.

Pennsylvania –Yuengling Lager

America’s oldest brewery is still Pennsylvania’s most iconic. It is also the most popular beer in, surprisely, Florida.

Rhode Island – Narragansett Lager

Flikr/Timothy Valentine
Flickr/Timothy Valentine

Hi neighbor, have a Gansett! And the favorite beer of the New England hipster was born.

South Carolina – HopArt IPA

The IPA was Coast Brewery’s first beer to go to tap back in 2007, and it hasn’t looked back. It has become a South Carolina staple.

South Dakota – Firehouse Red

Converted into a brewery from an old firehouse (thus the appropriate name), Firehouse Brewery is also a popular restaurant and theatre in Rapid City.

Tennessee – Ghost River Golden Ale

Ghost River gives credit to the soft Memphis water for its mellow, refreshing beer. And on a blazing Memphis summer afternoon, locals know that nothing hits the spot like a Golden Ale.

Texas – Lone Star Beer

Flickr/Kevin Trotman
Flickr/Kevin Trotman

Texas’ Lone Star Brewing Company has been around for over 130 years, every one of them Texas proud. Lone Star beer is an institution in Texas. It has been the beer of outlaw country and also gave us the term “longneck.”

Utah – Big Cottonwood

Winner of the World Beer Cup’s 2012 Gold Medal for American amber ale, Squatters Beers’ Big Cottonwood is also a local favorite.

Vermont – Long Trail Ale

The beer is almost as analogous with Vermont as cows are with milk.

Virginia – Northern Lights IPA


Although Dark Starr Stout is their most decorated beer (and America’s craft breweries’ most decorated dry Irish stout), Star Hill Brewery’s IPA is more popular.

Washington – Redhook Extra Special Bitter

The beer that got Redhook going is still the beer of choice from this Washington brewery.

West Virginia – Seneca Pale Ale

Mountain State Brewing Company’s Seneca IPA bears the name of the Native Americans from West Virginia, southern hops, and a British brewing style.

Wisconsin – Minhas Light

It says it right on the can; since 1845 Minhas has been brewing beer in Monroe, Wisconsin.

Wyoming – Zonker Stout

Flickr/Tim Bounds

Named after a large, underwater fishing fly (a zonker), this beer is very likely to be seen in the hands and coolers of the fishermen plying Wyoming’s fabled rivers.

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The Most Iconic Beer in Every State