No two adult beverages are created equal.
Thus, knowing which beers to try and which
beers you shouldn’t waste your hard-earned
dough on will spare you from those disappointing
moments when your first sip brings a frown
instead of a smile.
If you want to start exploring craft beer
but aren’t sure where to start, Allagash White
Ale is a good bet.
When the Maine-based Allagash first came out
with their white ale, it was one of the few
Belgian-style cloudy ales being brewed in
Now, Allagash serves as the perfect stepping
stone for those who like beers like Blue Moon
and Shock Top, but who want to start exploring
the wider world of white ales.
Allagash White has been ranked as one of the
best American wheat ales in the country, and
it’s easy to see why.
The beer is a little cloudy and a little malty,
and it has a warm spice profile thanks to
the addition of coriander.
“The resulting beer is, uhh, crisp, clean,
pretty notable in spice and citrus fruit character.”
The fact of the matter is: This brew is beloved
by many a beer drinker no doubt thanks …at
least in part …to its appeal to both IPA
lovers and those who prefer less hoppy beers.
Sugar Hill Golden Ale, named after a neighborhood
in New York made famous by musicians during
the Harlem Renaissance, is the flagship brew
of the Harlem Brewing Company.
When brewer and company owner Celeste Beatty
first moved to Harlem, she became involved
in community gardening, and that’s when she
fell in love with growing hops.
When she combined her newfound interest with
an existing passion for cooking with beer
and wine, Harlem Brewing Company was born
…the first African-American owned brewery
in the country.
With a background in cooking, it makes sense
that Beatty was able to craft a well-balanced,
rich golden ale.
Sugar Hill has pronounced malt aromas and
flavors, and a slight bitter spiciness and
notes of citrus thanks to the Willamette,
Tettnang, and Cascade hops used in brewing.
It’s medium bodied and has an ABV of 5.4 percent,
which makes it a delightful session ale …meaning
you don’t have to worry about getting too
tipsy after a couple of rounds.
“First was Finestkind IPA which is an absolutely
Smuttynose Finestkind IPA is a classic New
England-style IPA that primarily uses Simcoe,
Santiams, and Amarillo hops for a balance
of citrus and bitter flavors that make this
style of beer so distinct.
Finestkind is unfiltered and hazy, which is
also classic for east coast IPAs.
The body of the beer is refreshing and light,
which helps to keep the intense hoppy bitterness
from overwhelming the other tastes and aromas
in the glass.
That being said, this beer definitely doesn’t
skimp on those bold hop flavors.
It was British Extra Special Bitter Ale that
started it all for the brand back in 1994
with its extra hoppy taste, but fans wanted
These days, you can get exactly what you asked
for …really, really hoppy beer …in the
form of Smuttynose Brewing Company’s Finestkind.
Even if you don’t end up liking it, Oskar
Blues Old Chub is worth trying at least once
just to get an idea of what a bold and brassy
Scotch Ale should taste like.
Old Chub is made in Colorado by Oskar Blues,
one of the first craft breweries to sell their
ales exclusively in cans, which started off
a trend so big that now you can even buy wine
in a can instead of a bottle.
This beer is not for the faint of heart.
It’s brewed with malted barley and grains,
as well as beechwood-smoked malt, giving it
a robust, smoky sweetness.
In fact, this ale is quite a bit sweeter than
you might expect, necessary to help balance
out the bitterness and alcohol heat you get
from a beer with 8% percent ABV.
If you like stouts, porters, and barleywines,
Old Chub is definitely worth exploding…
uhh, we mean exploring.
Another white ale that’s high on our list
is Avery Brewing’s White Rascal.
It’s an unfiltered, Belgian-style wheat ale
with a subtle but compelling blend of coriander
This crisp brew pairs well with a lot of foods,
from a cheese and charcuterie platter to a
plate of Pad Thai.
White Rascal comes from Avery Brewing Co in
The company began in 1993, proved it was ahead
of the curve when it introduced the first
packaged IPA in Colorado in 1996, and has
continued churning out both classic and unconventional
beers ever since.
Even if you can’t find White Rascal at your
favorite local spirits store, you’re in luck
…Avery provides a scaled-down homebrew recipe
on their website for those who’d like to try
their hand at beer making.
There are IPAs, and then there’s Stone Brewing’s
Enjoy By IPA.
The brewery has released several iterations
of their Enjoy By, but what stands the same
among all of them is that Enjoy By is best
…pardon the obvious …enjoyed when it’s
as fresh as possible, according to the date
on the bottle.
“When we bottle this and keg it, it will have
a very specific date for each bottling and
kegging displayed right here on the bottle.”
These time-sensitive, hop-forward beers carry
robust floral, citrusy, and pine flavors that
haven’t been overwhelmed by the bitterness,
acidity, and residual sweetness of the beer
The fresh hop flavor stands up quite well
to a higher alcohol content, too …for example,
their 4/19/2019 Double IPA clocked in at 9.4
percent ABV, with the 10 different hops used
throughout the brewing process giving the
drink a tropical, peachy flavor and aroma.
Each bottle is emblazoned with a label that
says “Enjoy By” in large letters, followed
by the date before which your beer should
So far, the brand has experimented with releases
in the series that include their Tangerine
IPA, a Chocolate & Coffee IPA, an Unfiltered
IPA, and a Brut IPA.
Enjoy By isn’t always available, but when
you see it on the shelves of your local store,
we recommend snatching it up.
You’ll be happy you did.
“Yeah… we happy.”
There is such a thing as too much of a good
thing, and while Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA
is a reliable classic, the brand itself has
suffered since being bought by Constellation
Brands in 2015.
That’s unfortunate for the new owners, who
purchased Ballast Point for a whopping $1
One of the problems is that, instead of sticking
to their roots as an innovative IPA-maker
and shifting to more East Coast-IPAs like
a lot of their competitors, Ballast Point
hopped on the fruit beer trend, damaging their
reputation among beer-lovers in the process.
That’s because, frankly, a lot of their fruit
beers aren’t any good …the Watermelon Dorado
and Mango Even Keel come to mind.
Another big downside to buying from Ballast
Point is that their product is just more expensive
than their competitors, even though the beer
doesn’t always live up to its price tag.
Save your pennies this time around …you’re
better off leaving this one on the shelf.
Heineken is imported and comes in a fancy
green glass bottle, so it must be a pretty
decent macro-brew choice, right?
Make no mistake …though it’s the number
2 most popular imported beer in the country,
Heineken isn’t worth the fridge space.
That’s some cold s—.”
The main issue?
It doesn’t taste good.
Because Heineken is imported, it has to travel
Unfortunately, its signature green glass bottle
doesn’t protect the liquid inside from damaging
sunlight, leading it to develop a second,
much more unfortunate signature: a skunky,
With so much great beer available these days,
why bother drinking something if it tastes
Need further evidence that buying Heineken
means you’re wasting your money …and your
Their biggest announcement of late has been
the release of a zero-alcohol beer with 69
Yeah, not exactly a direct competition with
anything you’d find in the craft beer market.
Online reviews are easy to make fun of, but
the truth is that most of us put a lot of
stake in what we read on the good ol’ interwebs.
In fact, one study showed that 84 percent
of survey respondents said that they trusted
online reviews as much as they would trust
a friend’s recommendation.
So, that begs the question …why would anyone
drink Coors Light, an abysmal beer that has
a rating of 2.04 out of 5 from more than 5,000
reviews on Beer Advocate and an even worse
0 out of 5 rating from over 2,000 reviews
on Rate Beer?
This is an easy one to pin down.
Basically, it just tastes… well… bad.
Coors Light may have been the second best
selling beer in the country in 2018, but that
doesn’t mean you have to buy it.
It just means that a whole lot of Americans
were duped the same way.
Speaking of large groups of people dishing
out their dough for the same tired, old brewskis…
Bud Light is the most popular beer in America.
Now, we’re not denying that there’s a time
and place to crack one open.
It’s a fine beach beer, and it’s certainly
thirst-quenching on those sweaty summer nights
at the bar.
But Bud Light’s popularity is dropping, and
that’s probably because it’s one of the more
boring beers out there.
It’s not alone, though …the entire, quote-unquote,
“premium light beer” category peaked in 2007
and 2008, and these days consumers are moving
away from mass-produced American beers and
toward imports, craft beer, wine, and spirits.
There’s just not a lot to keep people coming
back to this old standby.
It has a score of 1.86 out of 5 from over
6,000 ratings on Beer Advocate, and it’s made
with a bland blend of barley and rice that
results in a watery, flavorless brew.
There isn’t much case for keeping this one
in your fridge.
Shock Top reminds us of Blue Moon …another
iffy yet popular beer …in a lot of ways.
It’s a relatively benign, middle-of-the-road
mass-produced wheat beer masquerading as a
It’s not quite terrible but it’s also not
You’ll also often get both brews served with
an orange wedge, a garnish that some might
argue is honestly tastier than the beer itself.
However decent the original Shock Top may
be, the same cannot be said of their flavored
We’re not at all against fruit beers, but
they need to be done right.
Shock Top really misses their footing here.
The Raspberry Wheat beer is made with “wild
raspberry flavor” that just doesn’t taste
a lot like a fresh raspberry, throwing the
entire flavor profile of the beer off.
The Lemon Shandy is similarly disappointing,
both a bit too sweet and a bit too sour.
Their Ruby Fresh, on the other hand, is a
grapefruit flavored beer that doesn’t successfully
pair the sweet-tart taste of grapefruit with
the yeasty flavor of a wheat beer …it ends
up tasting too funky.
If you’re really craving a Shock Top that
involves fruit, stick to a glass of the original
flavor with a juicy slice of orange slipped
onto the rim.
It’s a classic.
Michelob Ultra falls under the umbrella of
American-style light lagers, and unfortunately
it shares a lot in common with its brethren.
It’s a watery, pale brew that focuses on its
low calorie and carb content over its flavor.
So instead of undoing the effort you put in…”
“…you can celebrate it.”
The keywords the brand itself uses to describe
the beer are “crisp” and “clean,” and that’s
not exactly wrong …it’s just that Michelob
Ultra is a beer so light that it has actually
ceased to taste anything like beer.
The 1.14 out of 5 rating on Rate Beer …and
its overall score of 0 …says it all.
If you really want a beer, but don’t want
to go overboard on the calories, try a craft-made
session ale like Lagunitas’ DayTime IPA.
They have a lower ABV than traditional craft
beers which usually means fewer calories without
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