With Father’s Day right around the corner, I thought it would be fitting to share some great beers to crack open with your Old Man. Part of the motivation for writing this blog post was to hopefully encourage your typical Budweiser-Miller-Coors (BMC) beer drinkers to branch out and try something new.
My father used to be a BMC guy, up until we started homebrewing. Since then, he had tried nearly every conceivable style of beer – some he loved, and others, he hated – but what resonates with me is that he is willing to branch out and try something new, time and time again.
So without further ado, below are five great “gateway” craft beers to enjoy on Father’s Day.
5. Samuel Adams Summer Ale (American Wheat)
This American Wheat is brewed with malted wheat, lemon zest, and grains of paradise – a rare pepper from Africa first used as a brewing spice in the 13th Century to create a crisp and spicy flavor and body.
The ingredients create a nuance of flavors and aromas that leave the beer with an extremely light body, hazy golden color, and mild fruity and earthy notes. Sam Summer (as it’s called around here in Massachusetts) makes for a great departure from BMC beers, especially those that fear “dark beers” because they believe they all taste like Guinness. The nice thing about Sam Summer is that you can find it in any liquor store this time of year.
4. Allagash White (Witbier)
Allagash White is this Maine brewery’s interpretation of a traditional Belgian wheat beer. It is brewed with generous amounts of wheat and spiced with coriander and curacao orange peel, leaving the beer fruity, refreshing, and slightly cloudy in appearance.
With the wave of faux craft brands like Blue Moon and Shocktop shoveling Wits down the throats of Americans, Allagash White is a true craft interpretation of the Belgian Wit. It is similar to Samuel Adams Summer Ale, except it has a more complex flavor profile, in part due to the Belgian yeast used to ferment it, but also do to the use of orange peel and coriander, leaving the beer just as spicy as it is fruity.
3. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (American Pale Ale)
Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale is the beer that started America’s obsession with hops. It helped create the craft beer movement in American back in the 1980s and is still considered the quintessential beer for the American Pale Ale style. It is brewed with generous amounts of Cascade hops to give the beer its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.
This particular beer will be more of a deviation from the American Pilsner than the previous, because it is moderately hopped, meaning it will display some levels of bitterness. This beer would be nice to add to the mix of beers to enjoy on Sunday.
2. Anchor Porter (American Porter)
Moving away from the light colored beers, Anchor Porter is one of the finest examples of the American Porter. It pours a dark brown with a chocolate fluffy head that is followed with notes of chocolate, coffee, oatmeal, and dark fruits. It is creamy and smooth, almost silky.
This may be a stretch for the BMC dad, but it is a good example of a non-aggressive dark beer. It is the only dark beer on this list, in part due to the spirit of summer, but also due to the preconceived notion attached to darker beers.
1. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (India Pale Ale)
For the adventurous Dad, Dogfish’s 60 Minute IPA is the beer for you. It is continuously hopped, meaning that there are over 60 hop additions added throughout the boil, more than 20X than a normal beer. 60 Minute IPA is brewed with a slew of Northwest hops to create a powerful yet balanced East Coast IPA with a lot of citrusy hop character.
IPAs are a big leap from American Pilsners, but they can demonstrate how hops can influence the flavor and aroma of beer. I wouldn’t recommend picking up a case of these just yet, perhaps adding them to the mix would be a good start. I’ve met some Dads who fell in love with IPAs after tasting this beer, others nearly spit it out due to the unanticipated bitterness. Either way it is definitely worth a try.
And if you need one more beer to help fill that mixed 6-pack at the liquor store, an honorable mention would be Duvel. It is a Golden Strong Ale from Belgium. Tart, and refreshing, this bright blonde beer is peppery and mildly phenolic with hints of tropical fruit flavors from the yeast. It is one of my personal favorites.
Well, there you have it. Cheers to all the Father’s out there!