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The Best Craft Beers from Each State in the USA

The Best Craft Beers from Each State in the USA

The craft beer revolution is in full swing, and it’s about time we tell you about which beers rank amongs the best. Each state has it’s own unique brew culture, so we compiled a list of the 50 best craft beers from each state.

Alabama

Good People Brewing in Birmingham is the best source of brews in the Yellowhammer State. Their Snakehandler IPA has 10% ABV and has hints of pineapple, paired with a strong caramel overtone. Yum.

Alaska

Alaskans tend to stick to stouts because of their heavier kick and warm undertones. Check out Midnight Sun Brewing Company’s Berserker Imperial Stout, an opaque, vicious black stout with a huge alcohol-by-volume percentage.

Arizona

Out in the desert beer drinkers get thirsty. Four Peaks Brewing has several beers that can quench that thirst, best among them is their light-bodied Peach Ale.

Arkansas

Ozark Beer Company is an up-and-coming brewery that puts together some tasty beers. Try their Cream Stout, which is full of notes of oak, dark chocolate, and goes well with that southern barbeque.

California

The Golden State is awash in high-quality craft beers, so picking the best among them is difficult, so I am going to go with the most unique. 21st Amendment Brewing in San Francisco has a beer called Hell Or High Watermelon, a seasonal watermelon-flavored wheat beer that is perfect in summer. But we have to shout out to Lagunitas, to Sierra Nevada, to Anchor Brewing… well, you get the picture.

Colorado

Colorado is covered in beers, literally– their baseball stadium is named for a major brewer. For this recommendation, I am going to point out one available almost everywhere: New Belgium Brewing’s Ranger IPA. It’s hop-heavy and flavorful and just plain awesome.

Connecticut

Old Burnside Brewing in East Hartford has a Scottish Ale that’s delicious. Called the Ten Penny Ale, it’s as balanced a beer as you can find in ole CT.

Delaware

Delaware beer is made up of two words – Dogfish Head. A brewery known for it’s various IPA’s, try the 60-Minute IPA, the 90-Minute IPA, the 120-Minute IPA, or the 75-Minute IPA… they’re all great, really.

Florida

Funky Buddha Brewing took a very unique idea for a beer and ran with it – Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. It’s a whole breakfast in a glass, and is sweet, salty, creamy, and much more.

Georgia

Red Hare Brewing in Marietta takes the cake in the Peach State. If you happen upon it, grab their Long Day Lager, a golden lager with a citrusy aroma.

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Hawaii

Kona Brewing is a mainstay of any craft beer enthusiast’s repertoire. Their Fire Rock Pale Ale is a coppery ale with a citrus finish, and is one of my personal favorites.

Idaho

Selkirk Abbey Brewing Company bends the lines of traditional brewing guidelines. For example, their St. Thomas Black Saison is a combination of coffee and malt notes with a light crisp finish that makes it good in either the summer or winter.

Illinois

I once wandered into a grocery store in Aurora, Illinois, with a friend and happened upon Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout. My friend immediately bought all of the Bourbon County Stout they had. He later sold some of it for a profit. With a huge 14.2% alcohol content, this brew is aged in old oak whiskey barrels and released yearly. This one is a unicorn of beers, so to speak.

Indiana

Three Floyd’s Brewing in Munster, Indiana is a bastion of delicious craft beers. For this list, I have to go with their Dark Lord Imperial Stout, which has its own festival called Dark Lord Day. From their Web site, it “has a reverse cascading head that starts blowing out… like the Dark Lord rising from the black primordial beginnings.” Wow.

Iowa

The Midwest must be full of cult-ish beers. People take road trips to Toppling Goliath Brewing, which once brewed their beers a half a barrel. Try the ZeeLander IPA, whic focuses on hops from New Zealand.

Kansas

Tallgrass Brewing is a hard-working make of specialty tallboy beers that have beautiful artwork on their cans. Try their 8-Bit American Pale Ale, a tropical tasting beer that has Pac-Man on the can.

Kentucky

Against the Grain Brewing in Louisville is pretty great. Try the Citra Ass Down American IPA, brewed with Citra hops, a variety of hops introduced in 2008.

Louisiana

Abita Brewing is the go-to in this French-tinged state. You might still be able to find some of their Christmas Ale. Grab it if you do, it’s great.

Maine

Allagash Brewing in Portland, Maine, is at the foremost here. Grab the Allagash White, which is brewed with coriander and orange peels.

Maryland

Flying Dog has some very unique brews. My personal favorite is their UnderDog Atlantic Lager, a light, bitter beer, that just tastes like the Atlantic Ocean. It’s great.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts is known for Sam Adams, but I am going to point out Clown Shoes Brewing, specifically their Pecan Pie Porter. If you happen upon this one, grab it.

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Michigan

Michigan is a great state for craft beers. While Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids is great, I have to give it to Bell’s Brewing. Bell’s Two Hearted is a delicious IPA that is a staple in the Midwest. Get it while it’s hot.

Minnesota

Dangerous Man Brewing is the place to go in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. This is one of those destination breweries, so while you’re there, grab a growler of the Rooibos Red Ale.

Mississippi

You’d be hard-pressed to find a great brewery out here. But if you stumble across it, try the Devil’s Harvest American Pale Ale from Southern Prohibition Brewing.

Missouri

Perennial Artisan Ales takes the cake in the Show-Me State. If you can manage to win their lottery (not joking), you earn the right to take home a bottle of their Barrel-Aged Abaxas, a year-aged Imperial Stout that includes the flavors of both ancho chilies and cinnamon sticks.

Montana

Big Sky Brewing boasts Moose Drool Ale, a superbly drinkable brown ale that uses four different malts. It’s a great one with a fairly wide distribution area.

Nebraska

If you happen to be in Omaha, stop by Krug Brewery, the oldest brewery in the state, and grab a drink. They’ve got a great food menu at the taproom, as well.

Nevada

Great Basin Brewing in Reno is the place to be. Their Bitchin’ Berry is made with real raspberries and will do well to quench your desert thirst.

New Hampshire

Smuttynose Brewing has a good line-up of beers. Grab their Bouncy House IPA, perfectly well-balanced and bursting with flavor.

New Jersey

Atlantic Highlands, a Prohibition-era staple of alcohol, boasts Carton Brewing. If you are on your way to the casinos, grab a Boat Beer, which hangs on some grapefruit and mossy notes.

New Mexico

Santa Fe Brewing Company is the largest craft beer company in the state. Grab their Black IPA if you get a chance. A chocolatey IPA, it’s a unique concept.

New York

Ommegang Brewing functions in cross-branding and brewing with their Game of Thrones beers. Valar Margulis is supposed to taste like “sweet revenge.” Grab it, if you are so inclined.

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North Carolina

Foothills Brewing wins the award for most arousing beer name with its Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout. A seasonal bourbon-barrel-aged beer, this one is just right, especially when shared.

North Dakota

North Dakota is known for Fargo, both the movie and the brewing company. Grab their Sodbuster Porter, a smoky, thick beer meant to get your through the winter.

Ohio

Ohio has a wide selection of craft beers to choose from but you should grab something from the Hoppin’ Frog Brewing, with beers that focus on alliteration in their naming. Maybe the D.O.R.I.S., the Destroyer Oatmeal Stout, will suffice.

Oklahoma

Prairie Artisan Ales gives Oklahoma some legit street cred. Tip back a Wine Barrel Noir, an imperial stout uniquely aged in wine barrels. The diverse brewing history gives it a mosaic of flavors.

Oregon

Oregon is speckled with delicious craft brews. Sticking to just one, I have to recommend Deschutes. They have a huge distribution area, so you can probably find the River Ale in your area.

Pennsylvania

They have a ton of small craft brewies in the Keystone State, but I have to shout out to Yuengling, which, if I could get it in Chicago, would be my personal everyday beer. It’s from the oldest brewing in America and is just perfectly simple.

Rhode Island

Narragansett Beer boasts some great tall boys. Grab an Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout and take your time sippin’. It’s great.

South Carolina

Most South Carolina beers stay within its borders. But if you happen to be in the state, sit down at Holy City Brewery in Charleston and ask the bartender to take care of ya, and then enjoy that southern hospitality.

South Dakota

Crow Peak Brewing is the place to be in South Dakota. Pour out an 11th Hour IPA, which is flavored with pine and citrus notes.

Tennessee

Nashville has Yazoo Brewing and their perfect Sly Rye Porter. Grab it and its spicy undertones if you can.

Texas

Shiner Brewing in Shiner, Texas, has a great selection. Try Shiner Bock, which was originally a seasonal, but became a year-round beer because of the demand.

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Utah

Epic Brewing is proud to boast the best beers in the state. Their Spiral Jetty IPA is the most aggressive of a series of five IPA’s Epic brews. Grab it and enjoy.

Vermont

Magic Hat Brewing is the winner in the Green Mountain State. With a wide distribution area, you can find their #9 almost anywhere. It’s a “not-quite-pale ale.” So mysterious.

Virginia

Devil’s Backbone Brewing is the place to go here. Grab their Pear Lager for a unique fruit twist on a solid beer.

Washington

Red Hook Brewery is the place to be out west. Their Pumpkin Porter actually contains pureed pumpkin, as well as cinnamon and nutmeg. This has got to be the best pumpkin-flavored beer around.

West Virginia

The Mountaineers of the University of West Virginia know all about Morgantown Brewing Company. The Nutty Blonde Peanutbutter Ale ale is unique and creamy and just for you.

Wisconsin

New Glarus’s Spotted Cow is a perfect beer sold ONLY in the state of Wisconsin. It’s no joke that, when passing through, Midwesterners make sure they pick up a case.

Wyoming

If you are in Jackson Hole, make sure to grab a Mommy’s Little Monster IPA, the only beer on this list named after a Social Distortion song.

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc

Featured photo credit: Thomas Hawk via flickr.com

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Last Updated on June 18, 2018

What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

Eight out of ten adults experience lower back pain once in their lifetime. I am one of those people and I’m definitely not looking forward to my participation award. I know how it feels like to step out of bed and barely being able to put on your socks. Having lower back pain sucks. But 9 out of 10 patients that suffer from lower back pain don’t even know the primary cause of it.

Video Summary

Back Pain? Blame Our Evolution

Once upon a time in our fairly recent past, our ancestors felt the urgency to stand up and leave our quadruped neighbors behind. Habitual bipedalism, fancy word for regularly walking on two legs, came with a lot of advantages. With two rear limbs instead of four, we were able to more efficiently use our hands and create tools with them.

Sadly, life on two legs also brought along its disadvantages. Our spine had four supporting pillars previously, but now it only got two. The back is therefore naturally one of the weak links of our human anatomy. Our spine needs constant support from its supporting muscles to minimize the load on the spine. With no muscle support (tested on dead bodies) the back can only bear loads up to 5 pounds without collapsing [reference Panjabi 1989]. With well-developed torso muscles, the spine can take loads up to 2000 pounds. That’s a 400-fold increase.

Most people that come to me with a history of a herniated disc (that’s when the discs between the vertebral bodies are fully collapsed, really severe incident), tell me the ‘story of the pencil’. The injury with the following severe pain usually gets triggered by picking up a small, everyday object. Such as a pencil. Not as you may think by trying to lift 100 pounds – no, but by a simple thing – such as a pencil.

This tells us that damage in your back adds up over time, it’s a so called cumulative trauma disorder. Meaning back pain is a result of your daily habits.

Sitting Is the New Smoking

Whenever I sit for too long, my back hurts. In fact, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting. But isn’t sitting something that should reduce the stress of your back? No, just the opposite.

The joints between the bones of the spine are not directly linked to the blood supply. These joints instead get nourished through a process called diffusion. Diffusion works because molecules (such as oxygen, important for cells) are constantly moving and try to get as much space for themselves as they can. A key element for diffusion therefore is a pressure difference. In the image below the left room contains more moving molecules than the right, that’s why the molecules from the left are moving to the right. This way nutrition gets transformed into the joints, whereas toxins are transported out of the joints.

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Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spinal chord. The diffusion process therefore can’t function as efficiently. Nutrition and toxins can’t be properly transported, the joints get damaged.

    Sit Properly

    If sitting can play such a huge part in the creation of your lower back pain, how do you sit properly then?

    Is it better to sit with a straight back or should you rather lay back in your chair? Can I cross my legs when I’m sitting or should I have a symmetrical position with my feet? These are questions that I hear on a daily basis. The answer might shock you – according to recent science – all of them are right. The best sitting position is an ever-changing one. An ever-changing position minimizes the pressure on certain points of your spine and spreads it on the whole part.

      Credit: StayWow

      Stand Up More

      Even better than a sitting position is a stand up position. Standing dramatically reduces the pressure on your spine. If you’re forced to work on a desk the whole day though, you have two options.

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      Take breaks every hour of about 2-3 minutes.

      Set an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour! In that time you stand up and reach to the ceiling, on your toe tips with fully extended arms. You’re inhaling during the whole process. You do this activity for 20 seconds. Afterwards you’re walking through the office for the next 2 minutes. You might grab a healthy snack or some water in that time. The exercise relieves the pressure on your spine, while the walking makes sure that the joints on your spine are properly used.

      Or get a standing desk.

      One of the best companies on the market for Standing Desks, according to my research, is Autonomous. Autonomous offers a rather cheap Standing Desk, with the ability to change the height. Which means you can start the day standing and switch to sitting if you’re tired.

      Exercise for Lower Back Pain

      Sitting is an immobile position. Your joints are made for movement and therefore need movement to function properly. If humans are moving, all moving parts: e.g. the joints, bones and muscles get strengthened. If you’re in a rested position for too long, your tissues start to deteriorate. You have to get the right amount of activity in.

      But not too much activity. There’s a chance that going to the gym may even increase your risk of lower back pain. I know plenty of friends with chiseled bodies that suffer from pain in the spine regularly. Huge muscles do not prevent you from back pain. In your training you should focus on building up the muscles that are stabilizing your back and relieve pressure. Squats with 400 pounds don’t do the trick.

      The more weight you carry around, the more weight your spinal chord has to bear on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons why huge, muscular guys can suffer from back pain too. One of the most important goals of your exercise regimen should therefore be weight loss.

      Here are some important tips for you to consider when starting an exercise regimen:

      Make sure you implement cardiovascular training in your workout routine.

      This will not only help you lose weight, it will also make sure that your arteries, which flow to the tissue next to your spinal discs, are free of placque and can therefore transport nutrients properly.

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      Important: If you have rather strong back pain, maybe even an herniated disc, don’t start running on a threadmill. Running is an high-impact exercise. Which means there are continuous, reocurring high pressure points on your spine. Your endurance training should therefore either be fast-paced walking or a training on the elliptical trainer for the beginning, because both have little to no stressful impact on your backbone.

      Focus on developing your whole core if you want to minimize your pain.

      There are some people that do hundreds of sit ups a day. While sit ups are a good exercise for your abdomen, it also puts pressure on your spine due to the bending movement. A sixpack workout routine is one-sided. Your abs may become overdeveloped in comparison to your back muscles. You’ve created an imbalance. A great way to train your abdominal muscles and back muscles simultaneously, is holding the plank position.

      Stretch only if you have tight muscles.

      I remember stretching every morning after I woke up. I took 10 minutes out of my day to just work on my flexibility and prevent injuries. Little did I know that I was actually promoting an injury, by doing so.

      Contrary to common belief, stretching is only partially beneficial to treating lower back pain. Stretching makes sense if tight muscles (such as the hamstrings) are forcing you to constantly bend your back. Stretching to treat pain doesn’t make sense if you’re already on a good level of flexibility. Hyper-mobility may even enforce back pain.

      If you found out that you had tight muscles that you need to stretch, try to stretch them at least three times a week. Don’t stretch your muscles right after you wake up in the morning. This is because your spinal discs soak themselves up in fluid over the nighttime. Every bending and excessive loads on your spine is much worse in that soaked-up state. Postpone your stretching regime to two-to three hours after you’ve woken up.

      Where to Start

      The key to improving your habits is awareness. Try to get aware of your back while you’re sitting down, laying down or lifting an object next time. This awareness of your body is called proprioception. For example, you have to be aware whether your back is bended or straight in this very second. Trust me, it is harder than you might think. You may need to ask a friend for the first few tries. But the change that this awareness can make in your back pain is absolutely fascinating. This consciousness of your body is one of the most important things in your recovery or prevention.

      Here are a few behavioural tactics that you need to be considering:

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      If you’re leaning forward more than 30 degrees with your upper body, support your spine with your arms.

      Ever tried to show a colleague of yours a complex issue and found yourself awkwardly leaning forward on their desk, pointing with your fingers to his paper? If that ever happens again, make sure you’re using the not-pointing arm to support yourself on the desk.

      Keep a straight back.

      Be it while exercising, stretching or standing. If you’re bending your back you’re putting stress on small areas of your spinal chord. A straight back redistributes the force to a bigger area. You’re minimizing the pressure. Remember this whenever you’re at the gym and reracking your weights, focus on having a neutral spine.

      Put symmetrical loads on your spine.

      I used to play the trumpet when I was a child. The instrument is pretty heavy. The trumpet gets transported in a big, metallic suitcase – with no wheels. Being the nature of suitcases, you only carry it with one arm, on one side of your body. This forced me to constantly lean on the other side with my upper body, while transporting the instrument from A to B. Not really the healthiest activity for your spine as you can imagine.

      If you have to carry heavy objects, carry them with both arms. Put the object in the middle of your body and keep it as close to your mass of gravity as you can. If this is not possible, try to carry the same amount on the left side than you do on the right side. This puts the stress vertically on a fully extended spine. The load is much better bearable for your spine.

      Stay Away From the Back Pain League

      Our world is getting more sedentary. We will continue to develop faster transportation, more comfortable houses and easier lives. While our technological progress definitely has its amazing benefits, it sadly has its downsides too. The danger for back pain will continue to rise on our ever-increasing motionless planet. It’s time to raise awareness.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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