It's the funny name that gets this strong Scottish ale on taps and in beer aisles across the country, but it's the mild malty flavor that keeps it around. True to the ales of its heritage, Kilt Lifter doesn't do much to get in the way of a good session. It's thick to the point that you almost wonder if they forgot to carbonate it, but smooth enough to go down easier than its 6% ABV would suggest. If you're into caramel, malt or things that smell and taste like warm baked goods in general, Kilt Lifter will likely be enough to settle the nerves after a few double OT nail-biters. Omaha, Neb.: Upstream Brewing's Flagship IPA
Nebraska's serious about its college sports, and it doesn't take its beer lightly either. Upstream is better known for its high-powered Belgian-style Grand Cru and whiskey barrel-aged Ebenezer, which each manage about 9% ABV, but its Flagship IPA is no slouch. Though slightly underpowered at 6.2% ABV, it's still bursting with Cascade hops and a citrusy undercurrent. We'll admit, Upstream has a bit of a pre-fab quality to it from the outside and its casual-dining menu doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence at first glance. But the place is built around its beer and its Flagship IPA pulls no punches.