Bartenders Tell Us Their Favorite ‘Grocery Store’ Beers


The rise of craft brewing has led to a seemingly never-ending onslaught of new, limited-edition, hard-to-find beers. Beer fans flock to beer destinations like Other Half in Brooklyn (and now Western New York) and Russian River in Northern California to wait in line for hours to grab the newest, hottest beer offering of the day.

This saturation of expensive, sought after beers gives rise to a few questions: Is the beer worth the hype? The lines? The crosstown treks?

Some of those left scratching their heads over these issues are bartenders. So we asked them to tell us their favorite beers that can be purchased anywhere. There’s no waiting in line for these brews. Not unless there’s a rush on your local grocery store or corner bodega.

House Beer

Jason Rodriguez, beverage director at HALL in New York City

“Currently I am on a House Beer kick. It is a premium lager that has been exploding on to the New York scene right now and I have to say, it’s pretty damn good. From a light easy drinking beer this one packs a ton of great flavor — mildly sweet but with a creamy ale meets light bitterness combo that makes it the perfect beer to drink year-round.”


Tara Shadzi, lead bartender at BOA Steakhouse in Los Angeles

“For some reason, Corona just always tastes refreshing and the fact that you can throw a lime in it makes it approachable and fun.”

Miller High Life

Nahm Kim, head mixologist at Sunda New Asian in Chicago

“What’s my favorite beer that can be purchased at any grocery store? Miller high life. Weirdly old school with its bottle design and size options. Clean, light, and inexpensive. All hail the champagne of beers, for real.”


Andrew Hannigan, bartender at Bastion in Nashville

“My favorite grocery store beer: Guinness. It’s a classic, it’s delicious and has a low ABV so you can drink until content.”

Coors Original

Mariel Burns, head bartender at Trademark Taste + Grind in New York City

“I’m a Coors Original girl and I love Miller High Life. I love craft beer as well, but the old school offerings just speak to me.”

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Adam Peabody, bartender at LH Rooftop in Chicago

“Samuel Adams Boston Lager. I love the clean, refreshing flavors that lagers provide, and Boston Lager brings an added layer of malt complexity to the table where some lighter lagers fall flat.”

Negra Modelo

Will Benedetto, director of bars at In Good Company Hospitality in New York City

“What’s my favorite beer that can be purchased at any grocery store? Negra Modelo. Cerveza is the most approachable beer in my opinion and Negra Modelos dark malt makes it a great beer to have with food which is fun.”

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Robert Hubbard, bartender at JW Marriott in Chicago

“I have two favorite beers that can be purchased in the grocery store: the first is Sam Adams Boston Lager and the second is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. You can find these both in almost every grocery store, they taste great, and they have paved the way for craft beers.”

Bud Light

Josh Cameron, head bartender at Boulton & Watt in New York City

“Easy to find beer? Yes, I will say it, I drink Bud Light. It is for the many, not the few. Bud Light
works. Just make sure it is tailgate-ice-bucket-imagine Green Bay-cold as hell.”

Blue Point Toasted Lager

Hope Ewing, beverage director at Rappahannock Oyster Bar at ROW DTLA in Los Angeles

“East Coast—Blue Point Toasted Lager. West Coast—Anchor Steam. I think this makes me boring, but I don’t care. These are tasty beers.”

Modelo Especial

Eryn Reece, Head Bartender, BANZARBAR in New York City

“What’s my favorite beer that can be purchased at any grocery store? As much as I enjoy a big complex beer my favorite go to is a simple, Modelo Especial with a squeeze of lime.”