So many craft breweries carry a reputation for being big, bold, and boozy. But increasingly, small, innovative breweries are also aiming squarely at more accessible beers that are crisp, drinkable, and even low-calorie – just right to take to the ballpark or to drink by the ocean. For a relaxing afternoon on the sand, choose sessionable beers with less than 5 percent ABV, says Doug Odell, owner and co-founder of Odell Brewing Company. "You want to be able to have a few without falling asleep in the sun," he says.
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We suggest keeping your cooler stocked with clean, crisp craft beers that aren't too hoppy – true thirst quenchers. Odell says he saves warm-weather beers with bigger flavors, such as a non-sessionable IPAs or full-bodied lagers, for nighttime hangouts around beach bonfires. Here are 15 beers you'll want to stock.
Victory Brewing Company Prima Pils
Craft brewers go to great lengths to differentiate themselves from mass market beer, focusing on bold styles abandoned by the big guys. The result: Brews like big, bitter IPAs and high-alcohol imperial stouts have made beer drinking interesting again. But what will improve the flavorless, yet easy-to-drink, brews that we down in numbers at the game?
Philadelphia-based Victory Brewing Company's flagship beer, Prima Pils, is one hell of a start. This golden lager is bringing the fight to the doorstep of Budweiser, Miller, and Coors, proving that a small-batch pilsner can make a difference. The Prima Pils pours with the clarity and golden color of a Budweiser, Miller, or Coors (two things these three mass brands get right), but its composition and flavor hews much more closely to a classic German style Pilsner. In other words, it has flavor. The Pils is dry and clean tasting with just a touch of graham-cracker-like malt, spicy hop notes, and a crisp, bitter finish. Prima Pils is a pleasant reminder of why light lagers are the most popular beer in the world (and also a painful reminder of how few breweries aim to make them interesting). Fortunately, Victory distributes in 29 states. [victorybeer.com]