"American Craft Beer Week" is the annual, national celebration of small and independent breweries here in the U.S., and this week (May 13th-19th) is 2019's time to toast everything about American craft beer.

Did you know that there are over 7,000 breweries in the U.S. with 98% of those small and independent craft brewers.

How do you know if you're tilting a beer brewed by an independent brewer? Well, many use the independent craft brewer seal on their packaging. Basically, it's an upside down bottle with the word "independent" on it.

But, even if it doesn't have that seal, you can enter the name of the brewery on this page to see if it is, indeed, an independent brewery.

With over 7,000 breweries in the U.S., you can imagine there's quite a few beers out there you need to try. Below are 5 of my favorites for you to check out on your next beer run.

If you're looking for more inspiration, check out the Hoppiness Delivered page.

  • Real Ale "Axis IPA"

    Brewed for tap walls overrun with the white noise of West Coast IPA's, here’s an offering so exotic, you’d think it was from another world. Like its namesake before it, the axis deer of Southern Asia, so too has this species of hop-forward animal magnetism come to invade the landscape of IPA’s that have long held sway over the taps of Texas’s finest watering holes. Tropical fruit, citrus, and a pale golden body, help keep this breed light on its feet. And with few natural predators there is little anyone can do to stop the spread. IPA may not have been born in Texas, but it will soon seem as native as the sky that stretches between its borders. [Real Ale Brewing]

    The Real Ale Axis has a big hoppy profile with a fresh, juicy nose. In my opinion, it's the premiere IPA for the modern age. You really get a sweet taste up front followed by a nice, restrained citrus and piney hop follow through. The bitterness is just right. Not too sharp, not too mild.

    I give the Real Ale Axis IPA 4.75 pints out of 5.

     

  • Deschutes "Fresh Squeezed IPA"

    A juicy citrus and grapefruit flavor profile. As if fresh Citra and Mosaic hops were squeezed straight into the bottle. [Deschutes Brewery]

    Don't let the name or bright flavor fool you, Fresh Squeezed IPA has a devilish side to it as it clocks in at 6.4% ABV.

    Overall it's just a delicious, refreshing IPA that I will go back to again and again. Not only would this be a fantastic gateway IPA for you to lure your friends to – it's also a first choice of many hop-heads.

    I give the Fresh Squeezed IPA 4.5 pints out of 5.

  • Martin House "Pils"

    Martin House Pils 4.2% – The Ultra Premium Lager Beer. We’ve dreamt of having a year-round pilsner available here at Martin House for quite a while now. It took many test batches to perfect the MH Pils and we’ve landed on a solid, flavorful pilsner that you can enjoy all day long. This easy drinking, summer sipper is available starting February 2019 and forever in 6packs and on draft. Cheers! [Martin House Brewing]

    Personally, the Martin House Pils is a restrained beer. While it does have the flavors of light, bready malt along with spicy hops and a citrus finish, it's definitely not overpowering like a full flavored craft beer. In other words: sessionable and crushable.

    I give the Martin House Pils 2.75 pints out of 5.

     

  • Oskar Blues "Dale's Pale Ale"

    Dale’s Pale Ale is our defiant, proud, voluminously hopped mutha of a pale ale. If you’re looking for a fistful of flavor, look no further than this hopped-up trail ride. It delivers a hoppy nose and assertive-but-balanced flavors of pale malts and citrusy floral hops from the first sip to the final swig (6.5 % ABV and 65 IBUs). Dale’s Pale Ale is the beer that started it all. [Oskar Blues Brewery]

    Dale’s Pale Ale definitely sets the bar for all pale ales. it comes through with bold flavor but light enough to be one of the most drinkable craft beers on the planet. it also clocks in at 6.5% ABV, so while it packs a nice punch, it’s not too boozy.

    I give America's first hand-canned craft beer, Dale's Pale Ale, 4 pints out of 5.

     

  • Sweetwater "420 Strain G13 IPA"

    This aromatic super-hybrid sticky IPA is first and foremost a phenomenally delicious and drinkable beer, with the added bonus of an olfactory experience that mimics that of the legendary G13 cannabis strain. The IPA base brew has a great body, good head and nice amount of haze at a pleasurable 6% ABV. To work with the malt bill, the brewers added some of their dankest hops, Columbus and Simcoe, plus two dry hop additions. To achieve the aroma, our brewers found the perfect botanically-sourced, strain specific terpenes and married them with proprietary natural hemp flavor, both perfectly complementing the hops in the IPA. [Sweetwater Brewing Company]

    To put it bluntly, pun intended, the G13 is like smoking a fatty while drinking an IPA at the same time. Well, flavor wise.

    I give the Sweetwater G13 4 pints out of 5.