It can be tough to get a friend to try a craft beer because they are so used to what they already drink. Craft beers are often much more complex in flavour profile. Yet there are quite a few brands and brews that make great alternatives to the big brewing companies. Use this guide to look at what they already enjoy drinking and find a craft beer equivalent for them.
Heineken – In this category you are looking for what’s known as euro lagers. Once you’ve tried a genuine one, imported from Amsterdam, Germany or Switzerland you are going to be shocked and heartbroken that you ever requested Heineken as your favourite beer. Stock rotates quickly on these imports at local stores and can vary dramatically from time-to-time. A great alternative to start with is Hofbrau from Munich. It’s a standard euro lager and will be a full step above anything you have ever tried in an American bar.
Budweiser – If you are in Pennsylvania or Florida you may have found an alternative in Yuengling, truly America’s oldest lager. Sam Adams is also a great solid choice. But if you are looking for a craft beer instead you have a lot to choose from. Give Toronto’s most exciting pilsner, Steam Whistle a try. It has a simple ingredient profile that is all about quality and richness of flavour. Clean and crisp like Budweiser never was.
Corona and Light Beers – Apparently Corona tastes better in Mexico because the beer doesn’t travel and the sunlight can’t destroy it through its clear bottles. Nevertheless, there are a ton of craft beer alternative to one of the top 5 brands in the world. Bohemia Clasica is a great alternative but be careful you may not return to your island retreat. If you’re looking for a North American alternative try looking for a craft beer described as a cream ale, blonde ale or a kolsch. They make a great transition.
Molson or Labatt Blue– If you have affinity towards Canada or just appreciate the solid, no frills flavor of a Lager, try one of the many Canadian Craft Beers available. Muskoka is an award winning lager out of Ontario and sure to please many. If you want to try Canada’s most award winning craft beer nothing beats La Fin du Monde. It has that great combination of malt, fruit and spice and is a perfect alternative to the typical Canadian beers.
Guinness – Few mainstream beer drinkers enjoy a strong stout like a Guinness. Even so there are many craft beers that will give great variety in this class of drinks. If you are already drinking such a strong beer why not take it a bit further? Give Java Stout a try made by Bell’s Brewery, one of America’s fastest growing micro brews. This beer takes the coffee flavour common to stouts and really enforces it by taking it to another level. Imagine your favourite black coffee, bitter, chocolate and rich, mixed with the Irish classic. Stouts are one of the most popular craft beers so you should have no trouble finding one at your local store.
Blue Moon or Shock Top – Belgium white and wheat beers, great for hot days of summer are increasingly popular among young people but don’t make the mistake that these two giants are microbrews. If you are looking for a microbrew to compare check out Allagash White. It maintains that refreshing summer flavor but has such a more dramatic flavour profile. Blue Moon and Shock Top are great segway beers to get someone interested in microbrews. If you have success with Allagash introduce them to something like Oberon or Dogfish Head Namaste. They are great American craft beers. If you’re in Canada the best Belgium White is Blacnhe de Chambly by the infamous Quebec brewery Unibroue.