This was brought to my attention the other day when I was called a “beer snob” by my friends girl. Notice how I didn’t say girlfriend, because frankly, I don’t see this one lasting. Sure, I enjoy tasting different styles and love my craft beer, but that doesn’t make me a picky beer drinker. The answer is, hell yeah I still drink cheap beer. I understand there are some dbags out there who won’t drink a beer unless it’s over 7% alcohol and has enough hops to burn your nose hair, but let’s set the record straight, I’m not that guy! If you offer me a cheap beer I will shake your hand and cheers you up on the spot, no questions asked.
Some of my favorite cheap beer you ask? You didn’t ask? Well, I’ll tell you anyways. Number uno, Busch. Although, I have been seeing prices go on the rise for this. They come in 30 racks which I adore, but what used to be $14.99 is now becoming $22.99 and up. C’mon Busch, stop straying away from who you are! You’re starting to leave the realm of being the best of cheap beer and entering the status of average mid tier beer.
My next favorite is probably an unknown to most of you, and can only be found at one liquor store chain, Big Red’s. They offer three different styles of their own brewed beer. Big Red Lite’s, Lagers, and even an IPA! The reason I love this beer so much is they embrace the cheap, like really embrace it. I’m talking I walk in and get a 24 pack of BRL’s for $10.99 (not a typo) and the best part, their casing consists of four 6 packs sitting on top of a cardboard cut out. That’s what I’m talking about. Do you Big Red.
Least favorite cheap beer, Keystone. Sorry, Keith Stone. Again, I’ll drink it, but it tastes like beer that was mopped up off the floor at a brewery and rung out into a can.
That’s right, for those of you that haven’t left the house in a few years, they have cookie flavored beer. I love sipping on these beauts in the winter time. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “You’re from California, what do you know about winter beer?” True, I may not be an expert in this area, but I do spend some time out in Colorado at my buddies place. He has a gorgeous spot in the mountains, and sitting on his back patio staring at the view he has introduced me to some pretty stellar winter brews.
When you’re in this type of environment, looking over frosted woodlands and snow capped rocky mountains, you don’t really get the urge for a Summer Shandy. Instead, you want something spiced and dark. Something that almost psychologically warms you up, like a good Gingerbread Stout. The beer is ice cold of course, but the thought of warm gingerbread cookies is on your mind. Maybe I’m the only geek that feels this way.
Another great one is New Belgium Ben and Jerry’s chocolate chip cookie dough ale. Yes, you read that correctly. If you’re a winner at life, you’re thinking, “Wow, this is the best thing that could ever happen.” If you’re not a winner (loser) then you’re thinking, “Uh wait, doesn’t that have raw eggs in it?” No, at least I don’t think so or care if it does. Get over your fear of salmonella and make sure to pick up one or thirty of these. I understand, there are some companies that try and make outrageous combinations like bacon flavored vodka or banana apples and have failed miserably, but this beer nailed it. While we’re on the subject, pineapple does not belong on pizza. Pineapple actually doesn’t belong anywhere except the garbage. OK back to beer!
Now, if you got your socks blown off by the cookie dough beer, be prepared to change your pants for this next one. There’s a brewery out in San Francisco that has created girl scout cookie flavored beers. Do you know what that means? Thin Mint Cookie Beer! Thin Mint Cookies are not only oddly delicious, but they freshen your breath at the same time. Now you’re going to make that into a beer? We’ve got the trifecta. The company that makes this beer is Ceveceria de MateVeza if you wanted to check these out. Also a popular girl scout cookie flavor is Do Si Dos peanut butter cream ale. Because peanut butter is great with everything besides jelly. I hate jelly.
There ya have it folks. You would probably never drink a beer with your cookie, but having your cookies in your beer is a completely different story.
For my first post, I got to give a shout out to my home town of San Rafael! I’m going to give you guys my top 5 spots that I like to go around San Rafael when I need myself a refreshing ale or lager! I’ll put numbers next to them for aesthetic reasons, but these really don’t have any particular order! I like them all too much, no need to make for strife when you can enjoy them all!
- State Room Brewery- Definitely one of my favorite places for both food and booze! This is not just same fried up bar food, they have a delicious menu including pizza! Pizza and beer, what’s better?! One of my favorite drinks to order from here is called the Dubbel Jeopardy. Yes, I know how to spell double correctly, it is spelt Dubbel because of it’s bubble gum flavoring! Now, it is not an overwhelming flavor, just a nice little hint. This is a dark ale, creamy textured, and did I mention delicious?
- Iron Springs- This pub is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for local brews. They pride themselves on buying local as much as possible and they certainly pull through on their promise. They have a huge variety, different ales and lagers for everyone’s taste. You really can’t go wrong, if I were to suggest one of my favorites, it would be the Casey Jones Imperial IPA, brewed by Iron Springs themselves!
- Mill Valley Beerworks- First things first, go during their brunch time, it’s awesome. Second, order a beer with brunch, whoever says it’s too early needs to stop being so negative. This is a small brewery/restaurant that delivers big time. Some of my favorite drafts from here include the Animal, which is perfect if you like a strong aromatic IPA, and the Old Speckled Hen which is a malt with a nice toffee note.
- East Brother Beer Co. You can find this sweet spot in Richmond, CA. Really neat place to go and yes, they make their own beer! Their Oatmeal Stout can be put up against the best of them. It has a milk chocolate taste to it and gah! My mouth is watering just thinking about it honestly. Very well run establishment too, you really get a sense that these people know about high quality beer and love what they do.
- Benoit-Casper Brewing- Last, but not least since these aren’t in order! This one is also located in Richmond, maybe the rivals of East Brother, I don’t know they probably get along. Anyways… Yeah Benoit-Casper is another awesome establishment and a true brewery. My advice, go their between March and September and get their taste of Oktoberfest, the Amber Lager. Lord have mercy, these guys killed it on this one. Only brewed 6 months out of the year because well, it’s too much of a delight to be served year round in my opinion! Oh, and I believe it is pronounced “Ben-Wha”?
And there you have it! For whatever my opinion is worth, these are my top 5 favorites around California! I encourage you to check these out if you live around here or are ever in the area. Until next time guys, Cheers!!!