I can’t say when it happened, but there’s not debating it now. I’ve clearly switched over from my former life as a red wine drinker to a true craft beer fan. Cheers to that!
According to the Brewer’s Association, there were over 6,300 craft breweries in the United States as of 2017. The largest segment of growth in that count came from the opening of new brewpubs starting in 2012, a number that has exponentially grown since the report. So, it’s no surprise that my love of the suds is also growing exponentially!
A fan of unfiltered and fruit-forward brews, I’ve narrowed down my list to five must-have beers. I don’t like hoppy beers so you won’t find those on my list. However, my go-to selection includes a few shining stars you should be sipping on! Without further a do, I give you 5 Craft Beers You Need to Try!
- Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat 4.4% – Described as an “ale with natural citrusy flavor,” it’s Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing Company’s best selling beer for its drinkability. Why do I love it? It’s smooth, full of flavor, and drinks like a slightly sweetened ballpark light beer. I’ve yet to find a type of food that I can’t drink it with OR a friend who doesn’t want to drink one with me. If you have the opportunity to visit the brewery, I highly recommend making a reservation for a tour of the facility. Having visited on my birthday a few years back, I have fond memories of toasting to another great year in their tasting room!
- Free State Brewery’s Guavatas Sour 4.65% – A graduate of the University of Kansas, I spent Mondays at Free State Brewery drinking ales shoulder-to-shoulder with townies and college students alike on $1 Pint Night. The “sour” craze wasn’t popular back in the day (boy did I just sound old!) so I drank their Wheat State Golden or Ad Astra Ale. Today, I’m a big fan of sours so I can’t recommend their small batch Guavatas Sour enough! Don’t be alarmed to see pulpy bits of guava in your glass after the pour – that’s normal! Why do I love it? It’s tropical notes beckon thoughts of summer and it’s mild tartness finishes nicely. The brewery’s slogan “Because Without Beer Things Don’t Seem To Go As Well” basically sums up my college experience and I’m still drinking their beer two decades later. That says something about their beer’s consistency and quality.
3. Uinta Crisp Apple Ale 4.0% – Clearly I’m a fan of beers with fruity notes. I grabbed a six back of Uinta’s Crisp Apple Ale on a whim and I’ve purchased it many times since then. The Uinta Brewery, located in Salt Lake City, was founded by a guy who transitioned from a home brewer to a professional set-up in a leased mechanic’s garage. They brew all types of craft beer, but I’m partial to their brews featuring fruit including grapefruit, mango, and apple. Why do I love it? It’s a light beer with a slight apple after-taste, which is always refreshing on the palette. Craving apple pie, now?
4. Boulevard Jam Band Berry Ale 5.9% – Unlike any beer I’ve ever tasted, Boulevard’s Jam Band Berry Ale is like a dessert in a glass. This ale’s bold taste includes blueberries, raspberries, and tart cherries. I assumed this beer would be one Boulevard would make only for awhile due to the cost of using loads of fruit. I assumed it would be one of those one-offs that wouldn’t stay on liquor store shelves. I’m glad they proved me wrong. Lucky us! If you don’t like sweet beers or ciders, steer clear of this one. Why do I love it? Loaded with berry and citrus flavor, this beer balances malt with real fruit flavor. It’s my jam! 5. Roadie Grapefruit Radler 4.2% – So I need to apologize. This beer isn’t one that you can try today because it is a seasonal that is only available April-August, but it is worth the wait! Brewed in 5 gallon barrels to be heavy in citrus flavor using grapefruit puree, it’s an tangy, crisp beer perfect for drinking on a hot summer day. Why do I love it? I love all things grapefruit. Denver’s Great Divide Brewing Company’s seasonal beer is one of my must-haves. It even smells good (ha!). Although it has a tart finish, you can drink more than one in a drinking session.
It’s not easy to narrow my list to five craft beers, but this compilation represents my current faves. I might just have to write another post for my go-to seasonal picks this fall! What are you drinking right now? I’m eager to hear which craft beer you think I should try next – remember I like ales and sours more than any other kind! Leave your recommendation in the comments section below.