The Measure

Exploring what it means to be a better man.

5 Craft Beers for the Budweiser Man

October 3rd, 2015

When someone carries a six-pack of craft beer into the Trumaker office, our lead designer, Brett Wagner, just shakes his head. Brett prefers Budweiser and Coors, and he sticks by his chosen suds. We can’t help but feel that he’s missing out. After all, just as Brett appreciates small details in clothing (say, mother-of-pearl buttons with double rims), craft-beer enthusiasts appreciate subtleties in flavor, aroma, and texture—all qualities that a man of discriminating taste would usually enjoy.

“Beers like Budweiser can’t go for specific characteristics because they’re brewed for as many people as possible,” Michael Kiser recently told us. “If something is too bitter or a little too fruity, you’re losing people.” Michael is the founder of Good Beer Hunting, a brand-portfolio consultancy that produces a podcast and website. (In 2013, Saveur magazine named the website best in its category.)

We asked Michael to recommend a few craft beers that might appeal to a Budweiser fan. To be clear, we’re not trying to convert anyone, not even Brett. As Michael explained, “The beers I’ve picked don’t have to be the only ones you drink. They just give you the opportunity to be in the mood for something different from time to time.”

Suds Session Ale

SUDS ALE

 

Starting close to Trumaker’s home, Michael chose an offering from San Francisco–based Speakeasy Ales & Lagers. “They have a beer that they just started making called Suds Session Ale,” Michael said. “Session” is a craft-beer term that indicates drinkability—“the idea being that you can drink multiple beers over the course of an evening and not get drunk,” Michael said. Suds Session Ale in particular seems to have nailed the easy-drinking aspect. “It’s right at the heart of what beer flavor is in most people’s minds,” Michael said. “Speakeasy is targeting folks who just want to have a beer and not think about it too much.”

Longfin Lager

Ballast_Point_Longfin_Lager_6PK_12OZ_BTL_1024x1024

Ballast Point Brewing Company in San Diego is famous for its Sculpin IPA, a popular choice among craft lovers despite a hefty price tag (around $15 for a sixer). “People pay it,” Michael told us, “because it’s one of the best IPAs in the country.” In addition to IPAs, Ballast Point knows something about lagers, too. Discussing the brewery’s Longfin Lager in particular, Michael said, “That’s in my fridge most of the summer. It’s really balanced. These guys are known for their precision and their process. Everything they make is pristine, and Longfin is a beautiful, beautiful beer.”

Unfiltered Wheat Beer

Beer

“Wheat beers provide a little extra zip if you’re used to drinking a macro lager,” Michael said. “They have a little bit of an edge to them. It’s hard to find one—in the Midwest, at least—that’s better than Boulevard Wheat.” The official name of this beer, made by Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City, is Unfiltered Wheat Beer. It’s not exactly the zippiest name, but the beverage has become an industry force. “It’s about 50 to 70 percent of their sales, and Boulevard Brewery is a major brand,” Michael said. “So they’re quietly selling one of the most popular beers in America right now.”

Slow Ride IPA

Slow Ride Beer

Session IPAs are known for low alcohol content and lots of flavor. Slow Ride, from New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado, might be the best of best worlds. Michael broke it down like this: “There’s a little bit of citrus, like with other session IPAs, but this one also has an earthier, peppery kind of note, so it’s more of a balance.” The alcohol content comes in at 4.5 percent, thus the Slow Ride moniker. As Michael explained, this beer got its name “because it’s really, really easy to drink.”

½ Ale

Beer

From New York-based Brooklyn Brewery, this ale has an especially low alcohol percentage of 3.4. “At some places, you might hear that referred to as a table beer, because you can drink it instead of water,” Michael said. “But this beer has all the characteristics of a saison, which is my favorite style.” Beers known as saisons were originally made for farmhands to drink at the end of a work day (or so the story goes). Today, they’re characterized by a refreshing quality and fruity flavors—but don’t worry, we’re nowhere near spritzer territory. “The flavor is dry and chalky and has some great mineral qualities to it,” Michael said of ½ Ale. “It’s the perfect thing to drink when you’re actually thirsty.”

 

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