Craft Beers Latest Releases

By Bob Barnes

The Top New Craft Beers to Drink

May 2021

Find out what’s brewing at these top craft beer producers. Keep checking back for new beers.

Monday Night Brewing Taco Tuesday

Monday Night Brewing Taco Tuesday

Origin: Atlanta, Georgia
Beer type: Mexican-style Lager
Price: $16 for 12 oz 12-pack
ABV: 4.5%
Brewed by: Monday Night Brewing Company

The Atlanta-based Monday Night Brewing, launched in 2011, has released Taco Tuesday, and there’s a story behind the names of both the brewery and the beer. The brewery is named for its origins, as back in 2006 its three founders—Jonathan Baker, Joel Iverson and Jeff Heck—chose Monday evenings to homebrew together. As for the beer, this easy-drinking Mexican-style lager can serve well as a pairing for tacos…or burritos…or enchiladas…or yardwork…or sips of tequila. Brewed with Pilsner and Munich malts and hopped with Saphir and Saaz, it serves up a touch of sweetness with a smooth finish and a healthy dose of salinity contributes to a crisp, mouthwatering effect. The brewery is known for its beers’ unusual, memorable names and most of the cans’ artwork feature neckties, harkening back to the days when the brewery’s founders would loosen their ties after arriving from their white collar jobs on Monday evenings to brew each week’s batch of beer, and the special ties for this beer fittingly are emblazoned with whimsical smiling tacos.

Alpine Beer Company OG Lemon Haze

Alpine Beer Company OG Lemon Haze

Origin: Alpine, California
Beer type: Hazy IPA
Price: $13 for 12 oz 6-pack
ABV: 6.5%
Brewed by: Alpine Beer Company

The immense popularity of the IPA style and the sub-category of Hazy IPA continues to rage. Hazy IPAs are typified by ample notes of tropical, citrusy fruit flavors which are derived from the hop strains used. In the case of this new year-round release from the San Diego County-based brewery founded in 1999, no fruit or flavoring is added but rather the hops do all the rendering of those aforementioned juicy flavors as well as fresh apple, peach and Meyer lemon peel and aromas of lemon blossom, citrus and berry. The packaging artwork is reminiscent of the popular lemon drop hard candy box, but in this case the candy is replaced with a face in a yellow hop cone.

Flying Embers Chocolate Reishi Stout

Flying Embers Chocolate Reishi Stout

Origin: Ventura, California
Beer type: Irish Stout
Price: $20 for 16 oz. four-pack
ABV: 4.5%
Brewed by: Flying Embers

Flying Embers has distinguished itself with its healthful hard kombucha and hard seltzers with the taglines “a buzz with benefits” and “a better for you drinking experience.” Now it’s branched out to beer, with this organic brew with a superfood twist, which happens to be an ingredient one would likely never think of being in a beer: reishi mushrooms. This unique ingredient contains adaptogens to help the body adapt to stress combined with the added health properties of prebiotics, live probiotics and botanicals. Other additives include barley, bittersweet cocoa, rolled oats, monk fruit and vanilla, all of which combine for a creamy easy-drinking stout with a balance of bitter and sweet with a dry finish. An added benefit is the caloric level of only 95 calories along with just 2 carbs. There’s also a relatively low alcohol content of 4.5% ABV, which extinguishes the myth that darker beers must be higher in alcohol (as the color of a beer has nothing to do with its alcohol strength).

Oskar Blues Guava Rodeo

Oskar Blues Guava Rodeo

Origin: Longmount, Colorado
Beer type: Sour Ale
Price: $8.50 for 12 oz. six-pack
ABV: 6%
Brewed by: Oskar Blues Brewery

A new addition to the Oskar Blues year-round lineup is this sour ale developed by the brewers with the help of innovative yeast strains, which produce the lactic acid necessary for a punch of tartness. Copious amounts of pink guava and tangerine are then added to balance and enhance the refreshing zing with a sweet, fruity finish. “We wanted to create a fruited sour but with an attitude and amplitude worthy of the style-crushing beers in the Oskar Blues Brewery lineup,” said Juice Drapeau, head brewer for Oskar Blues Brewery. Released as a draft-only option in 2020, Guava Rodeo Sour Ale is now available on draft and in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans throughout the brewery’s nationwide distribution network.

Karl Strauss Sun Drops Hazy IPA

Karl Strauss Sun Drops Hazy IPA

Origin: San Diego, California
Beer type: Hazy IPA
Price: $11 for 12 oz 6-pack
ABV: 4%
Brewed by: Karl Strauss Brewing Company

The San Diego-based Karl Strauss Brewing Company, which was founded in 1989, has joined the ranks of those releasing beers low in calories, carbs and alcohol.

This new release, joining the brewery’s year-round lineup, clocks in at only 4% ABV, 99 calories and 5 carbs, and represents a beer style that is quickly gaining in popularity: Hazy IPA. It’s brewed with Columbus, Idaho 7 and Amarillo hops for juicy citrus aromas and big notes of grapefruit; rolled oats are added for a silky mouthfeel. The unique labeling with a sleek and slender shape is decked out with yellow, orange and green “drops” which brings to mind a psychedelic plasma look harkening back to the ‘60s. Sun Drops Hazy IPA is the brewery’s first release of its new Small But Mighty series, so it appears we can expect more of this quickly growing segment in the future.

AleSmith Cloud Stream Hazy IPA

AleSmith Cloud Stream Hazy IPA

Origin: San Diego, California
Beer type: Hazy IPA
Price: $13 for 16 oz 4-pack
ABV: 6.9%
Brewed by: AleSmith Brewing Company

AleSmith Brewing Company was founded in 1995 and has established itself as a major player in the craft brewing business. The San Diego-based brewery has released three new anticipated beers which will be available year-round wherever AleSmith is distributed: Cloud Stream Hazy IPA, Kickbackrelax IPA and Limeberry Twist Gose Ale.

Cloud Stream is a representative of the very popular hazy IPA style, which are known for less bitterness and quite noticeable citrus and juicy notes, and in this case also brings red currant, passionfruit and mango.

AleSmith Kickbackrelax Crushable IPA

AleSmith Kickbackrelax Crushable IPA

Origin: San Diego, California
Beer type: Session IPA
Price: $10 for 12 oz 6-pack
ABV: 4.2%
Brewed by: AleSmith Brewing Company

A popular craft beer trend is lower alcohol/calorie versions, and the Kickbackrelax fits right in. It packs a light punch of only 120 calories and 4.2% ABV while still being loaded with flavors of juicy grapefruit, mango and coconut for a refreshing light-bodied, easy-drinking brew with a smooth finish.

AleSmith Limeberry Twist

AleSmith Limeberry Twist

Origin: San Diego, California
Beer type: Gose
Price: $12 for 12 oz 6-pack
ABV: 4.7%
Brewed by: AleSmith Brewing Company

Goses are marked by slightly sour and salty flavors and the Limeberry Twist is so named for its twist of also adding fruity flavors accentuating the brightness of limes and soft raspberry sweetness. It is artfully balanced by a pinch of sea salt.

Oskar Blues Brewery Oskar’s Lager

Oskar Blues Brewery Oskar’s Lager

Origin: Longmont, Colorado
Beer type: American Pale Lager
Price: $17 for 12 oz 15-pack
ABV: 4.2%
Brewed by: Oskar Blues

After its founding in 1997 in Lyons, Colorado, Oskar Blues Brewery launched the craft-beer-in-a-can apocalypse with their popular Dale’s Pale Ale.

Now the craft beer pioneer is bringing forth a beer that won’t put on the pounds while you pound the suds. This American Pale Lager logs in at 95 calories, 2.5 carbs. It’s brewed with Pilsner malt, toasted rice and Czech Saaz hops using German lager techniques, resulting in a crisp, clean, refreshing easy drinking beer that lives up to its marketing tagline “the everyday craft beer you count on through thick and thin.” Oskar’s Lager is now available at retailers nationwide packaged in six- and 15-packs of 12-ounce cans.

Stone Features & Benefits IPA

Stone Features & Benefits IPA

Origin: San Diego, California
Beer type: IPA
Price: $11 for 12 oz six-pack
ABV: 4%
Brewed by: Stone Brewing

Those looking for a beer low in calories, carbs and gluten, without sacrificing flavor, can to turn to this hop-forward release from the craft brewery that put IPAs on the map. Logging in at only 95 calories, 2.9 carbs and 4% ABV, featured hops are Cashmere, Vic Secret, Azacca and Mosaic, delivering flavors of orange, pear, white peach, melon and black pepper with a crisp and refreshing finish.

An added bonus is that this beer is fermented in a manner that breaks down and removes gluten, rendering gluten levels so significantly low that the beer qualifies as a “gluten-reduced” ale per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.