American adjunct lager, 5%
Some people might argue for some of its more recent variants like the Bock or the Summer Ale, but come on, if you’re truly havin’ a ‘Gansett, this is the one, and it manages to be a step better than most beers of its ilk, which is no easy feat, neighbor.
Imperial IPA, 10.1%
San Diego, CA
A hefty dose of New Zealand-grown hops from a brewery that knows its way around some damn hops, this triple IPA delivers all the piney, citrusy deliciousness you’ve come to expect from big swinging West Coast brews, and then some.
Rock Bottom Kölsch
Chattanooga, TN & Broomfield, CO (headquarters)
We’re not entirely sure how CraftWorks makes the list of independent craft brewers, given the company operates a bunch of spots like Rock Bottom, ChopHouse, Old Chicago, and others, but hey, we’re not the Brewers Association (they explain it all here, but there were numbers and stuff). Anyway, among these chains that are ubiquitous to malls, airports, and suburbs, we’re most familiar with Rock Bottom, a chain whose brewers have been known to do great one-offs at fests, but whose brand-wide beers are a little more limited. So we’re going with the kölsch. Because -- and we’re being painfully transparent here -- we don’t have any kölsches on the list. And because one time a steady stream of them got Andy out of a painfully awkward post-office hangout. So, um, thanks CraftWorks!
Wheat ale, 6%
Our man in Denver claims that Breckenridge is part of the glue of Denver’s robust beer scene, which in and of itself is an incredible designation. But glue tastes terrible. Ophelia, on the other hand, tastes like the summer, with light wheat flavors balanced with spicy hop additions that remind you that this isn't your normal boring wheat. There’s a ton of flavor in each bottle, but if you can find the tequila barrel-aged stuff, you’re really taking your taste buds for a ride.
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Thrillist deputy editor Matt Lynch relived many fond, beer-related memories while writing this. Tell him about yours @MLynchChi.
Andy Kryza is a senior editor at Thrillist who will never not make a Jaws reference, given the chance. Follow him to lifeless eyes, black eyes, like doll's eyes (and 'Gansett!) @apkryza.