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8 essential craft beers

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No training wheels here: Behold, the bottles you must sip before you can call yourself a craft beer lover.

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier: Superbly bacony and surprisingly sessionable, this centuries-old Bavarian classic spawned the new generation of smoked beers.

Russian River Pliny the Elder: This is what double IPAs should be: A celebration of citrusy, piney hops in one clean, cohesive swallow.

Oskar Blues Old Chub: Nobody thought much of canned beer until this rich, poetically malty Scotch ale came along.

Paulaner Salvator: Known by its “liquid bread” malt base, this mastery of German brewing still defines the doppelbock style.

Deschutes Black Butte Porter: The brewery’s roasted flagship elevated working-class porters to elite American beer status and put Oregon on the beer map.

Cantillon Gueuze 100% Lambic: Every sour beer on shelves today is inspired at least in part by this puckering, earthy ode to wild Belgian yeast.

Brooklyn Lager: This dry-hopped Vienna-style beer gave lagers new life and hooked a nation on craft beer.

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA & Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA: The two trophy beers unwittingly led last decade’s battle between West Coast and East Coast IPAs, fueling a thirst for bitter beers.

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