Extreme American Beer Bucket List

*First of all, a disclaimer: I have had every beer on this list and they all kick ass, or I wouldn't waste your time or mine talking about them. There, I feel better and so should you. Let's drink.

There are a lot of beers out there that shouldn't just be difficult to find, they should be impossible to find because they suck and the brewery stopped making them. I've had plenty of those beers too, but this list is about holy grail beers, beers that if there were three bottles on the shelf but there was a two bottle limit, you would honestly consider stealing that third bottle. There will be more to that story in a bit.

It seems like every brewery is jumping on the limited release bandwagon, so this list needed to be somewhat practical too. I decided to go with simple math: There are seven days in a week, so if I could have one beer a day for a week, this would be the menu. Some are impossible to find, some have such high alcohol content you'll start feeling warm and fuzzy after a few sips, some are just borderline weird. The bottom line is they are all bucket list beers that any true brew lover needs to get a taste of, even if it's just a sip.

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout- Grand Rapids, MI

Bernt Rostad

KBS is my own personal "Proudest Beer Hunter" find. Walking into the local adult beverage store, I spotted the big bold label. There were two bottles, but a tag next to the price informed me that it was a limit of one bottle per customer. I grabbed both in a panic, then began looking for a place to hide one so I could come back later in the day. Luckily a friend happened to walk in so I purchased her Bud Limerama-ding-dong-Ice and she bought one bottle, then we traded. Best. Trade. EVER. Sorry, I get nostalgic every time I tell that story, back to the beer. KBS will whup your ass, so go with a smaller pour in a snifter. It's smooth as silk, but also 12.4% abv, so put the koozie away. It's almost like a bourbon and stout cocktail, which makes me feel funny in a good way, and it will do the same for you. Little jolts of bitter coffee and sweet vanilla give it balance and layers of flavor to warm you up on any type of night you like.

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout- Chicago, IL


Goose Island BCS is like my 90's dorky teen at the prom movie of beers, except I'm not Freddie Prinze Jr. I can't even guess the number of times I've "found out" about a BCS release in advance, gone to the promised location, only to be laughed at (or gently had my heart broken) by a bartender telling me they just poured the last one. At 13.8% abv, it is definitely a beer that ages well, and in most cases should age to mellow the intensity of the sweet vanilla and bourbon heat. When I finally did get to try it, it was eight ounces of velvety bliss at a local pizza joint with an amazing, and amazingly random, beer menu, and some of the best pizza in Kansas City.

Boulevard Rye on Rye on Rye- Kansas City, MO

Drew Baranowski

R Cubed (I swear that's what they call it) is rye beer that is aged in two different sets of Templeton Rye Whiskey barrels, thus the three ryes. It is the second in command on this list when it comes to alcohol level, at 14.6% abv. However, it is scary-smooth so put on your big girl britches. Currently only available on tap in limited locations, Boulevard is planning to bless us with this sweet, nutty goodness in bottles in 2017. As for the picture above, not only did I take it myself, but I also filled the barrels myself. It's good to know people who make killer beer and can get you part time work on the brewery floor.

Mother's Brewing D'Lila- Springfield, MO

Drew Baranowski

So I've come to realize that I seem to like things that are put in barrels that other things used to be in, imparting both new and wonderful flavors as well as higher alcohol content. I don't know if that indicates some kind of problem, but D'Lila is aged in tequila barrels and has that citrusy snap of warmth that a nice sipping tequila carries at the end courtesy of the tequila and the citrus peel medley that it is brewed with.

Avery The Beast- Boulder, CO

Drew Baranowski
The Beast is a Belgian strong ale by name and by its ability to pick you up and knock you down, kind of like Popeye's spinach, but in the beer world. This is one of my favorite winter beers. There are winter warmers, and then there is The Beast coming in at a hefty 16.8% abv and taking the crown for booziest bottle of heavenly barley based liquid on this list. This is a sipping beer that deserves a glass, a little time to get close to room temperature, and your undivided attention.

Odell Friek- Fort Collins, CO

Drew Baranowski

Friek is the lone fruit beer to make the list, but it's a fantastic addition. It is a raspberry and tart cherry sour beer that is low in alcohol at 6.5% but high in flavor and funkiness. Sour beers are definitely an acquired taste, and if you do happen to acquire that taste, I suggest you also acquire a bottle of Friek. O'Dell has a great tour and tasting room, so don't pass this one up.

Colt 45 (Tallboys only)- Woodridge, IL

Drew Baranowski

There has to be a "yard beer" on the list, the kind of beer you keep in the garage fridge for when you are wrenching on a bike, mowing the lawn, or just kicking around and want something really cold in a big tall can. As the ads say, "It works every time." If you can find the cans with Billy D. Williams on them, there is a number you can call to hear Lando Calrizian speak. Dorks unite!

Drew is a self-professed beer nut who loves a good search for elusive and hard to find beers, even if the hard to find part is just a picture of Billy D. Williams' face.