Home Cities Drinking Beer in the Deep South: Top Beers of the Southern States

Drinking Beer in the Deep South: Top Beers of the Southern States

Drinking Beer in the Deep South: Top Beers of the Southern States


Hop Hash American Double IPA – Sweetwater Brewing Company

If your travels take you down to Atlanta make sure to stop in at Sweetwater Brewing Co. for a wide variety of great brews from one of the Southeast’s more established craft brewers. In particular you should try to grab a Hop Hash American Double IPA (7.8%) fresh off the tap, you certainly won’t regret it!

This brew pours from the tap as an amber color with an airy head that dissipates to a light lacing. As you prepare to taste you’ll enjoy bright, fresh and floral aromas consisting of pine and cedar, resinous hops mixed with orange and citrus zest. As you take your first sip, you’ll find a very unique, yet balanced brew highlighting orange and citrus flavors which flow into the piney, resinous hops while not becoming too bitter.

It finishes nicely with a light piney bitterness which leaves you wanting more. Overall this is a very drinkable IPA and will surely stand out in your memory as a must have anytime you’re traveling to the Southeast!


Jai Alai IPA – Cigar City Brewing

Jai Alai IPA photo
Photo by Bernt Rostad

Next time you’re headed to Florida for your beach vacation you may be well served to head to Tampa. Along with the beautiful beaches and great nightlife you’ll also find yourself a great retreat in Cigar City Brewing’s Jai Alai IPA (7.5%). Not only will you enjoy the atmosphere but the beers on tap will not disappoint; Cigar City is known for using bold Floridian flavors in many of its recipes, such as the Jai Alai.

This smooth IPA will cool you off after being out in the sun with its vibrant, hazy orange color, thick head and lacing; you can tell it’s refreshing, even from across the bar. Before you can taste Jai Alai your nostrils are captivated by the aromas of citrus, orange and grapefruit over a mix of bitterness and the tropics.

If you’re like me; in Tampa for business typically and unable to get to a beach, the aroma of the Jai Alai will have you believing you brought your swimsuit with you. When tasting, you’ll be delighted to find this IPA pairs well with its aroma; carrying orange, citrus, grapefruit and the tropics to the forefront over the malt background.

As it finishes the hoppy bitterness we all love about IPAs comes into play, leaving you refreshed and ready for another. This brew is dangerously drinkable because of the refreshing characteristics it possesses, while it’s still a 7.5% ABV, I might have guessed it was a Session if I hadn’t looked it up first!


Purple Haze Raspberry Lager – Abita Brewing Company

This selection is one that you may be able to find in your local craft brew store, a great summer lager that everyone at the BBQ will appreciate. Abita Brewing Company in Abita Springs, Louisiana, is a well-known Southern brewer that has had some great successes over the years, the Purple Haze(4.2% ABV)  being among them.

This Lager is mixed with raspberries to give the beer a subtle sweetness, something that can be tricky to balance as many fruit based brews become overly sweet and almost undrinkable. The popularity of Purple Haze is due to the well-rounded nature of the beer, while the aroma of raspberry can be overpowering the taste is well balanced.

As the beer is poured, you may be surprised that it’s not ‘purple’ but rather a hazy orange color with a fair amount of head. As the foam dissipates it leaves an impressive lacing around the inside of the glass. The aromas coming from your glass will certainly clue you in to the fact that raspberries are a highlight of the beer, after that there are supporting players such as citrus and wheat that round out the raspberry nicely.

The surprise comes when you take your first taste, the lightness is refreshing and not overly fruity; the citrus and raspberry work together in the background as the malt takes the driver’s seat. As you make your way through the glass you’ll find this brew to be very sessionable, and an easy go-to for the summer BBQ’s. While fruit beers aren’t for everyone, Purple Haze will win most over as a great fruit based lager and the perfect way to cool off after a hot day.


Crowd Control American IPA – Southern Prohibition Brewing

As one of the few breweries currently operating in Mississippi, Southern Prohibition Brewing is a clear go to when traveling within the State. One of the top brews from this local favorite is the Crowd Control IPA(8% ABV), as far as the locals are concerned this Pale Ale is the ‘crowd pleaser’.

When ordering this IPA you’ll be able to notice the burnt orange color from across the bar. As it slides over you can appreciate the light haze and carbonation. Over time the head dissipates and the moderate lacing as well as the fruity, tropical aromas emanating from the glass will certainly capture your attention.

The combination of fruit, malt and hops will leave you salivating. As you taste this brew you’re greeted with mango, grapefruit, blood orange and tropical fruits; all of which come to the forefront, followed by a hop forward profile mixed with a malty base. The end result is a deliciously refreshing IPA that will certainly create a nationwide following in the years to come.

Next time you’re in the south, look for Southern Prohibition Brews and give them a try, they’ve already got the attention of the locals, now it’s time to take this brewery national!

Featured Image By Rodrigo MenezesOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0



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