The World’s Top 10 Beers: A Guide to Exceptional Brews

Beer is a beloved beverage enjoyed by people around the world. From crisp lagers to bold ales, there is a beer for every taste preference. In this article, we will explore the world’s top 10 beers, highlighting their unique characteristics, flavors, and origins. Whether you’re a seasoned beer connoisseur or a curious beginner, this guide will introduce you to some of the finest brews from different corners of the globe.

1. Westvleteren 12 (Belgium)

Known as one of the best Trappist beers, Westvleteren 12 is highly sought after for its complex flavors and exceptional craftsmanship. Brewed by the Saint Sixtus Abbey in Belgium, this beer is a Quadrupel with a rich, dark color and a velvety smooth texture. It offers a harmonious blend of malt sweetness, dark fruit notes, and a hint of spice. The limited availability and the mystique surrounding the brewery have contributed to its legendary status among beer enthusiasts.

2. Pliny the Elder (United States)

An iconic American Double IPA, Pliny the Elder is renowned for its intense hop character and balanced bitterness. Brewed by the Russian River Brewing Company in California, this beer showcases the vibrant flavors and aromas of American hops. It pours a golden color with a frothy white head and delivers a burst of citrus, pine, and floral notes. Despite its high hop content, Pliny the Elder maintains a smooth and well-rounded profile, making it a favorite among hop lovers.

3. Westmalle Tripel (Belgium)

This Belgian Trappist ale is famous for its golden color, fruity esters, and spicy notes, making it a classic example of the Tripel style. Brewed by the Westmalle Abbey in Belgium, the Westmalle Tripel is a well-balanced beer with a rich malt backbone and a complex yeast character. It offers flavors of ripe banana, pear, and clove, along with a subtle bitterness. The effervescence and dry finish add to its refreshing nature, making it a popular choice among beer enthusiasts.

4. Orval (Belgium)

Orval is a distinctive Trappist beer with a dry and complex flavor profile, featuring notes of fruit, spice, and a subtle Brettanomyces character. Brewed by the Orval Abbey in Belgium, this beer stands out for its unique fermentation process and aging in the bottle. It pours a hazy amber color and offers a blend of flavors including citrus, apple, earthy hops, and a touch of wild yeast. The result is a beer that is both intriguing and memorable.

5. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier (Germany)

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, a world-class wheat beer from Germany, delights beer lovers with its banana, clove, and yeast characteristics. Brewed by the Weihenstephan Brewery, the oldest brewery in the world, this Hefeweizen showcases the traditional Bavarian brewing techniques. It pours a hazy golden color with a fluffy white head and offers a refreshing combination of fruity and spicy flavors. The banana and clove notes are prominent, complemented by a subtle wheat sweetness.

6. Rochefort 10 (Belgium)

A Belgian Quadrupel, Rochefort 10 impresses with its rich maltiness, dark fruit flavors, and warming alcohol presence. Brewed by the Rochefort Brewery in Belgium, this beer is a masterpiece of brewing craftsmanship. It pours a deep brown color with a creamy tan head and releases aromas of caramel, figs, and raisins. The taste is complex, offering layers of toffee, dark chocolate, and dried fruit, all balanced by a subtle hop bitterness. The high ABV adds a gentle warmth to the overall experience.

7. Guinness Draught (Ireland)

This iconic Irish stout is known for its smooth and creamy texture, as well as its distinct roasted malt and coffee flavors. Brewed by the Guinness Brewery in Ireland, Guinness Draught is a beer that has captivated beer lovers for centuries. It pours dark with a cascading effect and settles into a rich ebony color with a creamy tan head. The flavors of roasted barley, dark chocolate, and a hint of coffee create a velvety and satisfying drinking experience.

8. Chimay Blue (Belgium)

Chimay Blue, also known as Chimay Grande Reserve, is a classic Belgian Strong Dark Ale with a complex blend of dark fruit, spice, and malt sweetness. Brewed by the Chimay Brewery, located within the walls of Scourmont Abbey in Belgium, this beer represents the Trappist brewing tradition at its finest. It pours a deep mahogany color with a creamy beige head and exudes aromas of plums, raisins, and caramel. The taste is rich and velvety, with flavors of figs, toffee, and a touch of spiciness.

9. Trappistes Rochefort 8 (Belgium)

Rochefort 8, a Belgian Trappist beer, has a complex taste with overtones of dried fruit, caramel, and spice. Brewed by the Rochefort Brewery in Belgium, this beer is a Quadrupel with a deep brown color and a dense tan head. It offers a bouquet of aromas, including dark fruits, molasses, and Belgian yeast. The flavors are rich and intricate, with notes of plum, raisin, toffee, and a subtle spiciness. The medium body and smooth finish make it a highly enjoyable beer.

10. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (United States)

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is famous for its hop-forward flavor and balanced bitterness. Brewed by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in California, this American Pale Ale showcases the vibrant aromas and flavors of Cascade hops. It pours a deep golden color with a frothy white head and releases aromas of citrus, pine, and floral notes. The taste is crisp and refreshing, with a solid malt backbone and a lingering hop bitterness. It has become a benchmark for the pale ale style in the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where can I find Westvleteren 12?

A: Westvleteren 12 is notoriously difficult to find due to its limited availability. The beer is primarily sold at the Saint Sixtus Abbey in Belgium, and visitors can purchase it directly from the abbey’s on-site shop. However, advance reservations and adherence to specific purchase rules are required.

Q: What makes Pliny the Elder an iconic beer?

A: Pliny the Elder is considered iconic for its bold hop character and balanced bitterness. It showcases the intense flavors and aromas of American hops, making it a favorite among hop enthusiasts. The beer’s reputation has been further elevated by its limited distribution and high demand, contributing to its legendary status.

Q: What food pairs well with Westmalle Tripel?

A: Westmalle Tripel’s fruity esters, spicy notes, and golden color make it a versatile beer for food pairing. It pairs exceptionally well with rich and creamy cheeses, such as Camembert or Brie. The beer’s effervescence and spicy character also complement dishes with bold flavors, such as grilled sausages or spicy Thai cuisine.

Q: What is the ABV of Rochefort 10?

A: Rochefort 10 has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 11.3%. The high alcohol content contributes to its warming presence and adds depth to its rich maltiness and dark fruit flavors. It is a beer that is best savored slowly to fully appreciate its complexity.

Q: Can I visit the Guinness Brewery in Ireland?

A: Yes, visitors can explore the Guinness Storehouse, which is located in the heart of Dublin, Ireland. The Guinness Storehouse offers a multi-level visitor experience, including interactive exhibits, brewery tours, and a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city. It is a must-visit destination for beer enthusiasts and those interested in the history of Guinness.

Q: What sets Trappistes Rochefort 8 apart from other beers?

A: Trappistes Rochefort 8 stands out for its complex taste and exceptional brewing tradition. The beer showcases flavors of dried fruit, caramel, and spice, which are skillfully balanced to create a unique and memorable drinking experience. Its association with the Trappist monastic tradition adds to its allure and contributes to its reputation as a world-class beer.


The world’s top 10 beers offer a captivating journey through different brewing traditions and styles. From the complex and sought-after Westvleteren 12 to the hop-forward Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, each beer on this list represents the craftsmanship, creativity, and passion of its brewers. Whether you prefer Belgian ales, American IPAs, or German wheat beers, there is a beer on this list that will entice your taste buds and leave a lasting impression. So raise a glass and embark on a flavorful adventure with these exceptional brews.


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