Whether it’s a night out with friends or a sporting event or just that lost afternoon, there are plenty of reasons to sit back and crack open a cold one. But what about those “special” occasions? That’s where I’m here to help. Here are 12 worthy reasons to enjoy 12 worthy craft beers (with a few bonuses, too). Then head over to This Is Why I’m Drunk for even more beers that are sure to please.
The 12 Days of Craft Beers
Best Craft Beer for NFL Sundays
Depending on your mood, you’ve got options. Tasting the sweet nectar of victory? Pour yourself a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout – the easy-drinking flavor will widen your smile. Suffering from defeat? Curse your rival with a bitter IPA like Dogfish Head’s 90-Minute IPA.
Best Craft Beer for Tailgating in the Fall
Breweries typically start releasing some winter beers in the mid-to-late fall, so pick up something for you and your buddies with a Sam Adams Winter Classics pack. The 12-pack includes “winter warmer” Old Fezziwig, which you can share around the grill. Sam Adams’ variety packs have something for everyone.
Best Craft Beer for a Fantasy Football Draft
Chances are you and your friends will spend a couple hours debating over which first-rounder is going to be a bust and what rookie will surprise, so you want something you can drink for a while. Go with Full Sail Session lager in the red label. It’s low in bitterness and will pair well with wings and pizza.
Best Craft Beer for a Big Steak Dinner
Go big or go home. A glass of smoky bourbon might be ideal for your slab of meat, but if that’s not your thing, try a barrel-aged beer like Allagash Curieux. If you can find it, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout is also a perfect pairing.
Best Craft Beer for a Picnic With Your Lady
Stick to something sweet and you’re sure to impress. Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat rarely fails and can be found at most grocery stores. If you want to splurge, find a Lindeman’s lambic beer – a Belgian style beer made with fruit. The framboise (French for raspberry) is always a hit.
Best Craft Beer to Bring as a Guest to Someone’s House
Since you may not know what’s being served (and being served for each course), grab a bottle of the Bruery’s Mischief, a Belgian-style golden ale that’s light and pairs well with almost any kind of food. At 8.5 percent ABV, it’s not too far off from some bottles of wine, either.
Best Craft Beer to Always Have in the Fridge
Keep it simple – you want something that’s always good and always available. You can never go wrong with Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, an American IPA that’s regarded as one of the best commercially-made beers around.
Best Craft Beer to Share With Your Dad
Treat your Old Man right with an old school beer like Pabst. While some may not consider it a “craft” beer, it’s got a blue ribbon – and it’s not just for hipsters. Spurn options like Bud or Coors for a beer that has a little more flavor and supports the arts – Pabst has underwriten shows on National Public Radio.
Best Craft Beer for Going Fishing
Might as well go for the beer with the fish on the bottle. Sweetwater’s IPA is highly regarded and the crispness of the beer pairs well with a relaxing day on cool water.
Best Craft Beer to Fix a Hangover
They key to beat your hangover is to get (or stay) hydrated, but what’s the fun in that? To find some balance, you’ll want a low-alcohol beer like 21st Amendment’s Bitter American. At 4.4 percent ABV it’s a proper American session beer and craft beers from this brewery rarely let you down.
Best Craft Beer for When You’re Feeling Fancy
Forget the top hat, tuxedo and monocle. A barrel-aged Black Hole stout by Mikkeller will make you feel sophisticated. While pricy for a single bottle (about $14), the complex aromas and curiously sweet flavors of a cognac-aged beer will leave you with a smile on your face and maybe some hair on your chest at 13.1 percent ABV.
Best Craft Beer for Reuniting With College Buddies
While it may be tempting, turn away your former stand-by like Natural, Coors or Keystone. This is the best chance to “splurge” for the great regional craft brew that was too expensive on a college budget. Walk into your local beer store and ask what’s best, fresh and local.
I hope you enjoyed this guest blog! If you did, come over to my site at This Is Why I’m Drunk to read about plenty of other great craft beers for every day on the calendar!
(Editor’s note: Once you get some of these fantastic beers, they might be room temperature on a shelf — BLASPHEMY! But if so, here’s a great way to get warm beer cold quickly — you’re welcome!)