Stepping into the craft beer world can be intimidating (not really), and it may require a period of adjustment for your desperate and corn-fatigued palate. For those of you who are ready and willing to immerse yourself immediately into the world of craft beer, Peaks and Pints presents Craft Beer Crosscut 8.17.17: A Flight for Everyone. Indeed, today’s beer flight present five craft beers everyone should enjoy. These craft beers don’t require that you wait in line for hours to buy them, or that you travel to some distant locale, or that you trade away your car for a taste. Think not a $20 750-ml bottle of The Bruery’s Sour in the Rye but rather affordable craft beer. Think drinkable, low-alcohol beers that still maintained big flavor profiles. These five craft beers are solid drinkers. The bigger, bolder beers are in our cooler when you’re ready.
5.4% ABV, 12 IBU
Many of us are familiar with the story of New Belgium Brewing. Fat Tire, an amber, was one of co-founder Jeff Lebesh’s first recipe. Fat Tire killed it; allowing New Belgium to support a vast, wide-ranging, flavorful catalog as well as an employee-driven culture. This version of Fat Tire, Belgian White, takes inspiration from New Belgium’s decades of experience brewing Belgian beers with Seville oranges and Indian coriander, both freshly ground less than a mile from the Fort Collins, Colorado brewery. It’s a fresh, perfectly sweet, easy drinking, natural tasting Belgian White.
6% ABV, 15 IBU
Silver City Brewery’s Ridgetop Red brought home GABF gold in 2009, and though it takes some unexpected turns on the tongue, it’s clear why it’s a winner. There’s a beer for everyone. Ridgetop Red is everyone’s beer. Full-bodied and smooth, this ale surges hits the tongue with grainy caramel sweetness before lifting into pear and passion fruit notes. It’s never overly sweet, but it also doesn’t completely dry out in the finish: A touch of bitter Liberty hops kick in at the end, completing a well-balanced swallow.
4.7% ABV, 22 IBU
Everyone loves a good Pilsner and this one’s a classic. Named for the delicate engravings popularized by 19th century seafarers, North Coast Brewing’s Scrimshaw is a fresh tasting pilsner brewed in the finest European tradition using Munich malt and Hallertauer and Tettnang hops. It pours a honey gold with a frothy, white head. Grains and soft hop notes abound in the aroma. The swallow is closer to a pale ale, starting with ample two-row malt sweetness, followed by lemony, zesty hop tastes. The perfect carbonation and light body create a smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a crisp, dry finish and mild fruity aftertaste. It’s not trying to do anything fancy — it’s just a very well-balanced pilsner. It’s not a hop bomb, or a malt showcase. It’s just clean, thirst-quenching lager.
5.6% ABV, 38 IBU
Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale has been the beer drinker’s gateway craft brew for more than three decades. Peaks and Pints doesn’t know how many times we’ve heard someone tell us that, for some reason, they ordered a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale at a bar instead of a Bud or Coors. And that this seemingly insignificant decision in their life was transcendent. No longer would they settle for watered-down corporate beer. Sierra was their introduction to the world of craft. To the possibility of bitter hop flavors. It was a palate shocker. The proverbial beer awakening. BTW, generous quantities of premium Cascade hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.
4.5% ABV, 47 IBU
Firestone Walker Brewmaster Matt Brynildson traveled to Germany and spent several days in the Hallertau region, the birthplace of hops dating back more than 1,000 years. There, he hung out at small family hop farms and worked with the farmers to secure an ample supply of Mandarina Bavaria and Hull Melon — two backbone hops for Easy Jack. This kickback beer spotlights those spicy, leafy hops; plus a dose of oats smoothes out the sip. Low in alcohol or not, Easy Jack still boasts the flavor of an IPA, with a soft blend of citrus and distinctive melon/cantaloupe-type flavors as its signature notes. It’s like the smart, lazy kid in high school, tasting like a balanced beer without even trying, and most importantly, without you falling off your porch rocker after two drinks.