BEER is for drinking. But beer is also an occasion for conversation—and, if good enough, a subject for it, too.

What is American beer? That depends on where you’re drinking. Sure, you can still find a familiar red-and-white can in any corner store, and rest assured it’ll taste identical no matter where you buy it. But on a recent beer-focused road trip, Author William Bostwick traced the outlines of a number of distinct and diverse regional styles: the New England IPA, the Southern saison, the Great Lakes gose, the Rocky Mountain lager, the Cascadian fruited sour, the Southwestern Scotch and the SoCal session. Some new, some traditional, many growing from particular local customs and conditions.

Check out Mr. Bostwick’s a guide to 21 top beers that deliver an intriguing taste of place.


Well what about India Pale Ales, or IPAs. They have come into their own. Few beers incite and enrich conversation as much. Their distinctive character—the “firm bitterness [that] lingers long and clean” in one, the “complex aromatic notes of citrus, berry, tropical fruit and pine” in another—spur discussions that spill over from tap rooms to websites with ease.

Check out the Economist’s spin on this side of the craft beer conversation.