Heads Up, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Is Still the Perfect Everyday Beer

Athletic Brewing Co.

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John Walker was tired of O’Douls dominating the non-alcoholic beer space, so he made a challenger. The head brewer at Athletic Brewing Co. and fellow cofounder Bill Shufelt homebrewed hundreds of batches of what became their Golden Ale to perfect their zero-ABV brews. Instead of using macrobrews as a reference, Walker entrenches himself and his brewery firmly within classic American craft styles. That experience informs Walker’s own tastes. From classic American Pale Ales to boundary-pushing bourbon barrel-aged stouts, here’s what he drinking nowadays.

Favorite Everyday Beer: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Pale Ale

ABV: 5.6%
Beer Style: American Pale Ale
Availability: National, year-round
“Just an all-time favorite: full flavored, balanced, complex sessionable classic that is as consistent as it gets. This was my true introduction to quality suds — the beer I drank with my dad as opposed to the garbage my sisters’s peers brought over in college. He would throw one back after a run and then give me a couple sips and yammer on about how refreshing and nutritional beer can be… you know, before carbs were a curse word. It is still perfect and is still the gold standard for quality.”

Learn More: Here

Grail Beer: Avery Brewing Co. Tweak

ABV: 14.7%
Beer Style: Bourbon barrel-aged coffee stout
Availability: Limited, seasonal
“It is just obscene: huge, alcoholic, toasty, coffee, bourbon, warming and absolutely delicious. Perfect to drink on dark winter nights or with your laser-building-applied-mathematician-friends (my introduction to the beer). A level of complexity that most brewers can only hope to attain in a full and fruitful career. Think fur coat, fire, chocolate sauce and some heavy metal. If you can find one, get it.”

Learn More: Here

Best Beer You Drank Recently: Second Street Brewery 2920 IPA

ABV: 7.3%
Beer Style: IPA
Availability: Local, year-round
“It is the brightest and most refreshing IPA out there — super pale yet complex pils malt character with a wild, diesely, tropical, oily goodness from an incredible portfolio of Northwest and New Zealand hops. My friends and mentors at my old stomping grounds are killing it with this SoCal-inspired IPA. It is a perfect example of how to utilize non-traditional ingredients to create a super unique product in a market saturated with amazing competition. Perfect for those beautiful New Mexico mountain sunsets.”

Learn More: Here

The Beer That Changed Things for You: La Cumbre Brewing Co. Elevated IPA

ABV: 7.2%
Beer Style: IPA
Availability: Local, year-round
“It was one of the first craft IPAs that made me realize you can marry traditional ingredients, new school techniques and a load of passion to refresh and elevate classic styles. One of the best IPAs ever.”

Learn More: Here

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