All of us have one. That friend who refuses to drink craft beer, and they all say the same thing: “I just haven’t found a craft beer that I like as much as fill in the blank for whatever macro beer they always have with them.”
To that, we say, “bullshit.” There are almost 5,000 craft breweries in the US churning out styles that run the gamut from Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup sweet to pickle juice sour, and you can’t find a single craft beer that you like? Come on. You’re not trying. So we’ve done the work for your macro-beer loving friends and found 12 “gateway beers” that are certain to win over even the most hard-headed Budweiser fan. Bonus: even if you’re already a craft beer aficionado, these beers are typically excellent during the summer.
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New Belgium Fat Tire
If you're of a certain age, then there's a 99% chance that Fat Tire was the first craft beer you fell in love with. It's malty, relatively low ABV and easy to drink, and yet it offered such a contrast from the Coors Light you'd been drinking all your life.
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Alaskan's Amber fills the same role as Fat Tire—it's an approachable craft beer that's smooth and balanced and oh-so easy to like.
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Deschutes Black Butte Porter
Porters, if done well, are great beers for newcomers because they can win over a person's sweet tooth without being saccharine. Black Butte, the flagship from Deschutes, is one of the finest porters on the market. It's impossible to drink just one.
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Six Point The Crisp
Pilsners are the obvious go-to craft beers for newcomers because a lot of the mega beer they've been drinking falls under the pilsner style. So it's familiar. Six Point goes traditional, sourcing German hops straight from Germany for a floral beer with a light body and a clean finish. Big boy cans too!
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Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yella Pils
If you're looking for gateway beers that are easy to get no matter where you live, look no further than Oskar Blues, which is distributed all over the country. Their Dale's Pale is often a gateway into hoppier beers, and this pilsner does the trick for those still hung up on Budweiser.
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Victory Brewing Summer Love
One look at the label and you know Summer Love was made for easy drinking. This 5.2% golden ale has a mix of American and German hops and Pilsner malts for a crisp beer with mild notes of lemon and pine. Look for it throughout summer.
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NoDa Brewing Company CAVU
Blonde ales are like the cousin to pilsners, except maybe even more beginner-friendly. Everything about a blonde ale is balanced and moderate. This one from Charlotte's NODA has some tropical notes from the use of West Coast hops, but it's super sessionable at 4.6% and light in body and spirit.
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Mother Earth Endless River Kolsch
The kolsch style is the light beer for people who like good beer. This particular kolsch is crisp and tangy with a massive head and lots of carbonation. It finishes dry, so you immediately want another.
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COAST Brewing Kolsch
COAST rounds out the German kolsch's crisp edges by adding wheat to the mix, giving it a softer mouthfeel. But it's still dry and refreshing the way you want your kolsch to be on a hot summer day. I also dig the big, 16-ounce cans.
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Westbrook White Thai
Take a straightforward Belgian wheat and run it through a "Southeast Asian" filter by adding coriander and orange peel as well as lemongrass and ginger root. It comes off like a refreshing piece of lemon candy with faintly spicy, ginger edge.