Life

We Asked Craft Beer Experts To Name The One Beer They Drink All Year

As the wise man once said, “there’s a beer for every season.” Certain craft beer releaseswinter lagers, spiced holiday ales, Oktoberfest’s Märzens, spiced pumpkin ales, the list goes on … and on — just seem particularly dialed for a specific time of year. Of course, nobody should tell someone not to drink a Guinness on a hazy, humid, summer day or a hoppy, bitter IPA on a frigid winter night, if that’s what they enjoy.

Moreover, there are a few beer styles with flavor profiles that work well for every month of the year. It’s those beers we’re celebrating today.

We asked a few well-known craft beer experts to point us in the right direction and tell us the one beer of any style they drink all year long. Check out their choices and maybe you’ll find a new beer to stock in your fridge as a year-round favorite.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada

David Ringler, director of Happiness at Cedar Springs Brewing Company in Grand Rapids. Michigan

ABV: 5.6%

Average Price: $11 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is simply the classic American craft ale and is a world-class beer, regardless of style. I think people forget, in the constant chase for “new,” how good this beer is, with that perfect balance of floral aromas, pine, and just right malty backbone.

3 Fonteinen Oud Gueuze

3 Fonteinen Oud Gueuze
3 Fonteinen

Andy Innes, lead brewer at Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. Ltd. In Victoria, British Columbia

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: $27 for a 750ml bottle

Why This Beer?

I drink 3 Fonteinen Gueuze blends all year long (especially Oud Gueuze). The beer has an astounding depth and complexity of aroma with layers and layers of flavor. It’s tart, funky, fruity, and oaky, everything you’d want in a gueuze. It has a true aspect of terroir, and it pairs well with many foods and even desserts.

Human Robot Czech 10

Human Robot Czech 10
Human Robot

Sean Towers, owner and brewer at The Seed: A Living Beer Project in Atlantic City

ABV: 4.2%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

A beer that I drink all year long is Czech 10 from the good folks over the river in Philadelphia at Human Robot. Czech 10 is a traditionally inspired pale Czech lager brewed using old-world techniques and simple ingredients. It carries everything I want in a low ABV, easy-drinking beer with subtlety, nuance, and a crisp clean finish. It is so easy to go back to this beer over and over again. Depending on my mood, I can think about the super simple yet complex malt character, the balanced fresh hop presence, and the squeaky-clean fermentation profile. Or, I can simply drink a bunch of these while belly laughing with friends over something meaningless and not think about the beer at all aside from the fact that every sip continues to perpetuate the smiles.

Lagunitas A Little Sump’in Sump’in Ale

Lagunitas A Little Sump’in Sump’in Ale
Lagunitas

Hector Cavazos, owner and head brewer at Rebel Toad Brewery in Corpus Christi, Texas

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: $9 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Lagunitas A Little Sump’in Sump’in Ale is my pick. It has a great floral nose, tropical flavors, and just the right amount of hops. With a recipe of 50 percent wheat and 50 percent malted barley, it’s a unique, hoppy, and fruity IPA with a nice piney, malty backbone.

St. Bernardus Abt 12

St. Bernardus Abt 12
St. Bernardus

Douglas Constantiner, founder and CEO of Societe Brewing in San Diego

ABV: 10%

Average Price: $19 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

For me, it’s St. Bernardus Abt 12. That beer’s ability to showcase the complexities of stone fruit, dried fruit, and rich maltiness while being extremely drinkable makes it a go-to. Additionally, it’s a great beer for pairing with special date night dinners. It has the ability to be an elegant beer but also something you can enjoy simply, without food on a regular night. All that and it’s widely available.

Weihenstephaner Original Helles

Weihenstephaner Original Helles
Weihenstephaner

Douglas Hasker, head brewer at Puesto Cerveceria in San Diego

ABV: 5.1%

Average Price: $10.50 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

I’d go with Weihenstephaner Original Helles. It’s dry enough to drink all year long with enough malt richness to keep you satisfied in winter. It’s a true classic, crisp, and refreshing beer from the world’s oldest brewery. If you’re going to drink a helles lager, make it this one.

Vonn Trapp Vienna Lager

Vonn Trapp Vienna Lager
Vonn Trapp

Mike Kelly, senior brewer at Harpoon Brewery in Boston

ABV: 5.2%

Average Price: $9 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Von Trapp Vienna Lager is my pick. The crisp bitterness, toasted malt character combined with noble hop aromatics, and full taste make this the perfect beer to drink whether you’re on the beach or on the slopes. It’s definitely a beer that you can enjoy all year long.

Tree House Julius

Tree House Julius
Tree House

Alex Wenner, owner of Lasting Joy Brewery in Tivoli, New York

ABV: 6.8%

Average Price: $5.50 for a 16-ounce can

Why This Beer?

Tree House Brewing Co’s Julius is well-praised, and for good reason. It’s the standard by which I judge all Hazy IPAs. There’s over the top, punch you in the face citrus and mango hop flavor that is backed up by the perfect amount of malt sweetness and hop bitterness. It’s the bitterness that makes it far more drinkable, making you crave sweet sip after sip.

It’s a perfectly balanced take on this hyped-up style.

Pilsner Urquell

Pilsner Urquell
Pilsner Urquell

Frank Gervasi, Certified Cicerone™ and general manager at Arizona Wilderness Brewing in Phoenix

ABV: 4.4%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Being in Arizona, the weather is almost always perfect to grab a crisp lager. Pilsner Urquell is my go-to. Super clean with a nice aroma, it’s always stocked in my fridge. It’s the beer that created the style and remains refreshing and flavorful to this day.

The Tank Playita Pilsner

The Tank Playita Pilsner
The Tank

Marshall Hendrickson, co-founder and head of operations at Veza Sur Brewing in Miami

ABV: 5.1%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

The Tank Brewery Playita Pils is a great choice. Playita Pils is one of my favorite year-round beers. I can always find it in Miami, and it’s always fresh, crisp, and well-balanced. It’s a versatile beer for any occasion. I also really love pilsners, so you can never go wrong with a Playita.

Abita Strawberry Lager

Abita Strawberry Lager
Abita

Todd Bellmyer, head brewer at Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver

ABV: 4.2%

Average Price: $9 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold out, it is always a good time for Abita Brewing Co.’s Strawberry Lager. It’s crisp, clean, and light in body but still full of strawberry aroma and flavor. This is a beer that I can enjoy on its own or drink six of them.

Weihenstephaner Pilsner

Weihenstephaner Pilsner
Weihenstephaner

Jesse Mix, regional manager of beer and soft drinks at Sprecher Brewing Company in Glendale, Wisconsin

ABV: 5.1%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Weihenstephaner Pilsner is a very traditional crisp, dry, and refreshing beer in a world where beer is trying to be anything else. It has floral aromatics and slightly sweet bready malts with a dry finish. This is a recipe for success in my book.

Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils

Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils
Oskar Blues

Ryan Pachmayer, head brewer at Yak & Yeti Brewpub and Restaurant in Arvada, Colorado

ABV: 4.7%

Average Price: $9 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Oskar Blue’s Mama’s Little Yella Pils always seems to be around. Whether it’s volleyball games in the summer, mountain biking trips deep in the desert, or winter house parties, there are always cans of Mama’s around. It’s not terribly expensive, it has a good clean bitterness to it with grainy malt underneath, and it’s clean and crisp. It’s an easy-to-drink one to get things started or knock back a few after a long day.

The Alchemist Focal Banger

The Alchemist Focal Banger
The Alchemist

Rob Day, director of marketing for Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers in Framingham, Massachusetts

ABV: 7%

Average Price: $20 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

Focal Banger from The Alchemist is my pick. I know Heady gets most of the spotlight, but Focal is a fuller spectrum flavor to me hitting all the right notes of bitter, floral, and fruit. Citra and Mosiac hops, as well as British malts, give this a well-balanced flavor that will make you rethink how you feel about New England IPAs.

×