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The Best Canned Beers For Labor Day Weekend, According To Bartenders

Let’s be clear, we’re not here to slander beer bottles. But there’s something special about cracking open a can of craft beer and slowly sipping it on a hot summer’s day. While science (and common sense) might tell us otherwise, it feels like a bottle held in our hands will warm up quicker than a can. Plus bottles look dorky in koozies while cans look undeniably awesome in them.

Labor Day weekend unofficially marks the end of refreshing, crisp, highly crushable beer season. Meaning the ideal canned beer widow is dwindling.

To find the best canned beers for this holiday weekend, we went to the experts, asking some of our favorite bartenders and bar professionals to tell us their go-to canned beers for summer’s last days. Take a gander at their picks and then crack few for yourself over the long weekend.

Avery Liliko’i Kepolo

Avery

Hailey Landers, bartender at Takibi in Portland, Oregon

ABV: 5.4%
Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Avery’s Liliko’i Kepolo. This beer is a refreshing and tangy tropical adventure. It is crisp and tart but balanced with rich wheat malted banana bread backing. This beer is a lush desert island treasure hunt in which you’re sure to find bountiful round fruity esters, marked tongue-tickling sour pear, and a bright display of summer island harvests.

Montucky Cold Snacks

Montucky Cold Snacks

Daniel Yang, lead bartender of Electra Cocktail Club at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas

ABV: 4.1%
Average Price: $13 for a twelve-pack

Why This Beer?

Montucky Cold Snacks is my go-to. It’s an extremely crushable beer. It’s not the most complex in terms of flavors, but it’s lightly malted and has a very manageable 4.1% ABV. If you’re looking for a shot and a beer combo, this one wins the ticket.

Estrella Jalisco

Estrella

Tom Levron, USBG bartender in San Diego

ABV: 4.5%
Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Estrella Jalisco. It’s a decent cerveza for much less money than the well-known brands. Light, refreshing, crisp, and goes down easy on a hot day. Pretty much everything you want in a canned beer this weekend.

Brooklyn Summer Ale

Brooklyn

Hayden Miller, head bartender of Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami

ABV: 5%
Average Price: $13.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Brooklyn Summer Ale is my pick. It’s always a hit with hints of citrus and mild malt. Always a refreshing can to chase a sunset with.

Corona Extra

Corona

David Ortiz, beverage manager at Rocco’s Tacos in Tampa, Florida

ABV: 5%
Average Price: $18.99 for a twelve-pack

Why This Beer?

This one’s a no-brainer. It is Corona Extra beer. It is Refreshing, very crisp, and offers an approachable flavor profile that’s enjoyed by everyone.

It’s pretty much summer in a can.

Modelo Especial

Modelo

Ryan Anderson, complex director of beverage at Ace Hotel in New Orleans

ABV: 5%
Average Price: $18.99 for a twelve-pack

Why This Beer?

When the heat comes around in New Orleans and it feels like there’s no escape, all I need is a very cold Modelo Especial to cool me off a touch. Available almost anywhere, Modelo is easy and versatile. If you want to dress it up, you can add a squeeze of lime and a dash of hot sauce to the rim of the beer.

Stella Artois

Stella Artois

Federico Doldi, beverage director of Gansevoort Meatpacking in New York City

ABV: 5%
Average Price: $18.99 for a twelve-pack

Why This Beer?

I think the easiest to find and at the same time, one of the greatest beers ever is Stella Artois. Is a very clean, dry, and tasty beer, rich in citrus notes and slightly bitter as well.

Founders All Day IPA

Founders

Ryan Mish, bar manager at The Graceful Ordinary in Chicago

ABV: 4.7%
Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

In the summer I really like to drink Founders All Day IPA. It is bright and citrusy with enough hops to remind you that although the ABV is lower, it still packs in the flavor.

IPAs may not seem like the first choice for late summer, but they had me at “All Day”.

Anderson Valley Briney Melon Gose

Anderson Valley

Lynnette Marrero, co-founder of Speed Rack and bar director of Lllama Inn in New York City

ABV: 4.2%
Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Anderson Valley Briney Melon Gose. It is like a beer meets electrolyte fix. It’s refreshing, slightly salty, and filled with bright citrus flavors that pair well with late summer humidity.

Goose Island 312 Lemonade Shandy

Goose Island

Chandra Richter, chief mixologist at Drinkworks

ABV: 4.2%
Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Goose Island 312 Lemonade Shandy is summer in a can. It’s bright, lemony, and super refreshing on a warm summer day. I always make sure to have a few cans on hand for patio happy hours or to take on Labor Day camping trips.

Calicraft Tiki Time

Calicraft

Piero Procida, director of food & beverage at The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills, California

ABV: 6.5%
Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Calicraft Brewing Company’s Tiki Time Tropical Wheat beer is a fantastic, flavorful alternative to other beers. It is considered an American-style wheat/ hybrid beer and has flavors of guava, orange, and passion fruit. Though it is a wheat beer, it is very light in style and a very easy drink for the summer and around the pool.

Its balance and taste are just incredible and even if you don’t like flavored beers, you will enjoy this one.

Night Shift Fluffinity

Night Shift

Matthew Olson, restaurant manager at Sabroso + Sorbo at The Notary Hotel in Philadelphia

ABV: 7%
Average Price: $15.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

During the summer I enjoy a good hazy New England style IPA. This year I have been drinking Night Shift Fluffinity. It’s hazy, juicy, and the citrus notes are refreshing.

Tecate

Tecate

David Nasser, bartender at the New Orleans Marriott

ABV: 4.5%
Average Price: $12.99 for a twelve-pack

Why This Beer?

For me, Tecate is hard to beat on a hot summer day. Especially when the weather is extra humid. I enjoy it with a lime and maybe a dash of Tajin seasoning.

To me, it doesn’t get better than that.

Urban South Paradise Park

Urban South

Myles Holdsworth, director of food and beverage at The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans

ABV: 4.5%
Average Price: $8.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

I really enjoy Paradise Park American Lager from Urban South on the hot southern summer days. It is a straight -forward lager that pairs nicely with a boat and ice chest full of fish. Crisp, refreshing, light, and highly crushable.

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

Leinenkugel

Frankie Riffa, mixologist at SoBou in New Orleans

ABV: 4.2%
Average Price: $17 for a twelve-pack

Why This Beer?

I’m a huge fan of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. It’s a lemony beverage with a light, deliciously aromatic fruit flavor great for a hot day and lounging with friends.

Blue Moon Light Sky

Blue Moon

Brandon Parnell, general manager and director of beverage for Flora-Bama in Perdido Key, Florida

ABV: 4%
Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Blue Moon Light Sky tastes like summer in a can. Light tangerine citrus notes drive this incredibly sessionable light beer — making it perfect for closing out the season.

Stiegl Radler

Stiegl

Ryan Pines, beverage director at Ukiah in Asheville, North Carolina

ABV: 2.5%
Average Price: $12.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Oh man, that’s too easy. I would have to say Stiegl Radler, hands down. It’s freaking hot and a Radler will cool you down really quick. You get that bright pop of orange and it’s a little bit lower in ABV so you don’t feel bad about having several.

Lone Star Lager

Lone Star

Sother Teague, beverage director at Overthrow Hospitality in New York City

ABV: 4.7%
Average Price: $8 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Honestly, I’m a sucker for a hammock beer — lots of people call them lawn mower beers as they’re what you drink after mowing the lawn. My favorite is known as The National Beer of Texas, Lone Star. It’s bright and crisp with a slight grain aroma of corn. Straw-colored with barely any head, it makes no pretense but delivers on refreshment when served cold.

In fact, it’s a beer I commonly have poured over ice.

Sloop Confliction

Sloop

Jeff Bell, bartender at PDT in New York City

ABV: 4%
Average Price: $13.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Sloop Confliction is an outstanding sour beer. Sours are a bit like IPAs in the way that it’s not super easy to drink multiple of them because they have very big flavors and the law of diminishing returns kicks in as you consume more. But Sloop’s is excellent and not too robust.

Narragansett Lager

Narragansett

Johnny Swet, master mixologist at JIMMY at Modernhaus SoHo in New York City

ABV: 5%
Average Price: $8 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Narragansett 16-ounce lager that sips perfectly when ice cold. Plus, they drink it in Jaws. It’s refreshing, crisp, and always there for you. What could be better for the last long weekend of the summer?


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