1. Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien
BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes) (Switzerland)
No one disputes this beer's greatness, yet I suspect it sits on shelves for reasons twofold: one, it's from a Swiss brewery and, like, have you ever heard of a great Swiss beer? and, two, it's prohibitively expensive, MSRPing for around $40 a bottle. Let me tell you, though, there's nothing else out there like this exceedingly complex, 11% ABV bière de garde aged in wine barrels. It's one of my top two or three "desert island beers" so I hope you'll continue not buying it so I can.
2. Lion Stout
Lion Brewery (Sri Lanka)
Did you know Sri Lanka makes beer? (Do you even know where Sri Lanka is?) Well I don't...but I do know the country makes at least one beer. And it's a damn good tropical stout at that. Lion claims making this beer necessitates transporting the ingredients along "precarious" roads to get to the brewery 3,500 feet above sea level. That sounds like marketing horseshit, but apparently it's not. An 1996 acquisition by Denmark's Carlsberg Group has made it more widespread, yet I still don't see anyone drinking it. It even comes in cans, people!
3. Rodenbach Grand Cru
Belgian sour ales are certainly not ignored by American beer fans, with lambics and gueuzes from breweries like Cantillon and Drie Fonteinen rarely even seen on shelves—and gobbled up immediately if they are. Which makes it odd the pinnacle of another Belgian sour style, the Flanders red ale, is so often passed over. The tart and fruity Rodenbach Grand Cru is cheap (like $9 for a huge bottle!) and plentiful, so why aren't you drinking it more?!
4. Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw
Brouwerij Het Anker (Belgium)
Another Belgian beer oft-ignored by Americans is from the little-known Het Anker brewery. I guarantee several bottles of it are currently caked in dust at your closest beer store. Good. This Belgian dark ale is brilliant fresh, but with a little age it's somewhat cloying flavors meld into a luscious port-like brew. It's made once a year to celebrate Charles the Fifth's birthday, and you should drink it at least once a year, too.
5. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier
The modern American seems bored by German beers. We see them as old-fashioned, hundred-year-old recipes made by thousand-year-old breweries. Good for pounding out of massive steins or glass boots while at a picnic table—not particularly worth geeking out over. That's silly, though, as an authentic German hefeweizen is still one style American brewers simply can't compete with. There's really no need for them to, though, when "the world's oldest brewery" (opened in 1040!) makes this clove-y banana-like stunner.
Schneider Weisse (Germany)
Yet another German beer wrongly neglected. Sure, it's a weizenbock which is a weird style (it's essentially a dark and boozy wheat beer). But, this is no "boring" German wheat. Aventinus smells and tastes like straight liquid bubblegum. It is truly one of the best beers to ever grace this planet and its recipe has remained the same since 1907. Yet you're still busy searching your city for that IPA made by that hip "brewmaster" who just opened his nanobrewery last week?!
7. Péché Mortel
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel (Canada)
Canadian beer is likewise overlooked by Americans...unless they're college kids seeing how many 30-racks of Molson Ice they can crush. Yet there are some terrific breweries up north, perhaps none better than Quebec's Dieu Du Ciel! (the exclamation mark is part of their name). Their best beer, Péché Mortel, is a coffee-infused imperial stout that's been around since 2001. Maybe you've been cold-shouldering it since you've been stuck on trying to amass the rarest of America's coffee stouts like Goose Island's Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout or even Toppling Goliath's Mornin' Delight. This is nearly as good and so much easier to score.
8. Double Jack
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (Paso Robles, CA)
Just like our most famous musicians, America's top IPAs need only go by their first name. Elvis. Bono. Heady. Pliny. Nowadays, they also mostly can only be located if you happen to be at certain stores when the week's shipment arrives (the IPAs, not the rock stars). Which makes it even stranger people don't make it easier on themselves and just buy fresh bottles of any number of world-class IPAs always available in their supermarket's cooler. For my money, Double Jack is the best of the bunch, a juicy and tropical hop explosion. Perhaps it's time it too goes simply by one name: Jack.
9. Allagash Curieux
Allagash Brewing Co. (Portland, ME)
Bourbon barrel-aged beers continue to be the hottest thing in the beer world, with consumers' thirst for such products unquenchable. Then why does Curieux, a Jim Beam-barreled tripel, get such short shrift? It's one of the craft beer movement's first examples of bourbon-barreling, and it continues to be one of the few offerings of the sort easily findable. Even more ignored is its brother Interlude, a red wine-barreled saison equally delightful. Sure, their prices are a tad high, but spending all day online searching for something better is even more costly...and futile.
10. Any flagship beer from any craft beer pioneer
Sam Adams Boston Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Anchor Steam, Brooklyn Lager, etc.
Yes, I'm sure statistically these are the 1st through 4th best-selling craft beers in the country. Yet, it seems even if everyone is drinking them...no one is drinking them because they want to. They're what you're forced to get at a baseball game instead of a $12 macrobrew or the best beer you can find in Terminal B. Sam Adams even made a commercial where people (OK, paid actors probably) are shocked to learn they've just enjoyed Boston Lager. They shouldn't be, and you shouldn't either. Appreciate these pioneers a little more, and perhaps actually buy their beers even when there are "better" choices.