There are some 4,500 active breweries in the United States now, the most in 142 years (oh to be an American pub owner in 1874). “It’s clear that there’s a lot of great beer right now.” says Samuel Richardson, owner and brewmaster at Other Half Brewing (whose Mosaic IPA represents New York this year). "I can't think of a city without a good brewery." We would know — we’ve tried an incredible amount in the past year, with our small, hard-drinking army of beer writers, editors, and local experts sampling and exploring to come up with our annual list of the Best Beers in America. Here are the best two from each state — plus D.C., which gets two picks this year. Our advice: try your own local offerings first — they’re bound to be the freshest.
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New Hampshire: Shepherd's Crook
Brewery: Earth Eagle Brewing
Style: American Pale Ale
At times more impressive than a brew that blows your mind and mouth with fervorous flavor is the one whose strength lies in its subtlety. Such is the case with Shepherd’s Crook, a nearly half-wheat hybrid pale ale from Earth Eagle in Portsmouth. Modest with hidden intrigue, the mixed-breed beer is as laid-back and easy drinking as a hefeweizen, yet has the spine to stand up to its trio of New Zealand hops (Green Bullet, Moteuka, and Nelson Sauvin), marrying chewy grain with the tart flavors of pineapple and white grape.