A little while ago I read a few different blogs about different writer’s go-to breweries. They took this to be the breweries that they will always trend towards when they are at the store. If the brewer releases a new brew, they are sure to pick it up. This past weekend I got thinking about a similar concept but with a little different angle. Saturday I spent the day at my friend’s house brewing a Belgian Blonde beer using all-grain. It was interesting getting to look at a different style of brewing, as I have only really used the extract brewing technique. Anyway, I brought some beer for consumption throughout the hours of brewing, and he had some of his previous homebrew and other things to share as well. We managed to consume most of it throughout the brewing hours, and we had nothing left to really consume as dinner approached and our wives got home for dinner. Not really looking to make an extended beer run, we stopped at a store right near his house which he told me didn’t have the best selection. Since we were looking for immediate consumption, we decided to head straight for the cold aisle. This is where my post idea came from. What do you drink when good beer is “slim pickens”?
Everyone has at one point been put in a similar situation. You end up at a bar that seems to be run by every big beer company in existence, or your only option is a store that sells singles of Hurricane. What are your go-to breweries for something good? Saturday I had a few different options, and I think it is this experience that has really shaped my view on my go-to breweries. We obviously walked by everything containing Miller, Bud, or Coors, but there were other options that had far more appeal than others. They were my go-to options.
1. Boston Beer Company: Sam Adams does one thing right, they flood the market with every type of beer they create at that particular point in time. The majority of people I talk to are not a big fan of Boston Lager, but especially now, you can go to a store and find a whole plethora of other options that are readily available. I know Sam Adams walks a fine line between big beer and craft beer, but in a pinch, they may be your best options for a beer you won’t hate yourself for drinking later on.
2. Sierra Nevada: I almost went with Dogfish Head on this one, and in my area, they are definitely an option that you can stick in this particular category; however, Sierra Nevada seems to have a slightly larger reach than Dogfish Head does. They are a similar company that tends to toe the line between big beer and craft beer, but they also do a good job of creating a wide variety of readily available beer that is pretty good. Plus, especially when I’m out at a bar with limited selection, I’m always happy to pick up their standard pale ale.
3. Yuengling: There are a few beers I will tend to always drink because they are beers I drank early on in my venture into the world of beer. For me, the beer I drank most throughout my earliest drinking times was Yuengling. I went to college in PA, and Yuengling almost dominates the majority of the state. Of course there are other really significant craft beers there as well: Victory, Troegs, Yards, etc…; however, Yuengling is really popular where I grew up in NJ as well. It was the first beer I ever drank, and in a pinch, I am sure to make certain that I always go back to it. It reminds me of home.
4. Local Brews: Saturday we ultimately decided to go with a beer out of Flying Dog. This isn’t a brewery that is going to be available to everyone all over; however, in this area, you are sure to find a lot of their stuff in pretty easy to get to locations. Thankfully around here Dogfish Head, Heavy Seas, Flying Dog, and a few others can be found even at a corner store in DC. Therefore, a fairly good craft beer is never too far away. In DC now, you can definitely even find a DC Brau at most restaurants when you head out.
Like I said earlier, I had this thought due to the circumstance I found myself in on Saturday. However, it made me realize that there is almost never a really good reason to resort to a lot of the big beer companies. Unless you are on a camping trip where everyone only brought a Bud product, you should be fully capable of finding something slightly better. Even if it means resorting to a beer from America’s oldest brewery.
What are some of your go-to brewery when the selection is slim pickens?