Craft Beers Latest Releases

By Bob Barnes

The Top New Craft Beers to Drink

June 2021

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

Sapporo Pure

Sapporo Pure

Origin: San Jose, California, U.S.A.
Beer type: Light Lager
Price: $8 for six-pack 12 oz cans
ABV: 4%
Brewed by: Sapporo U.S.A.

A welcome recent trend is the release of new beers that are low on carbs and calories but not on flavor. Such is the case of this light lager from the number-one-selling Asian beer brand in the United States. Brewed at the brewery location in San Jose, CA, it weighs in at a mere 90 calories, 2.4 carbs and 4% ABV per 12 oz serving. This golden-hued beer is crisp and effervescent, featuring bright floral notes with a subtle hop bitterness. After your first sip awash with flavor you’ll likely want to proclaim that this is not your father’s light beer that dominated the latter part of the 20th century. This premium light beer is packaged in a slim can with minimalist labeling featuring a silver background with the Sapporo logo and PURE in aqua blue lettering.

10 Barrel Brewing Company Reel Good Summer Ale

10 Barrel Brewing Company Reel Good Summer Ale

Origin: Bend, Oregon, U.S.A.
Beer type: Kolsch
Price: $10 for six-pack 12 oz cans
ABV: 5%
Brewed by: 10 Barrel Brewing Company

There’s definitely a beer for everyone and a beer for every occasion. The Bend, Oregon-based 10 Barrel Brewing Company features beers built for the outdoors, and the tagline “Drink Beer Outside” appears on all of its cans and bottles. This easy-drinking Kolsch, brewed using traditional methods and subtle Champagne-like fermentation, goes down easy and is a clean and crisp thirst quencher. As the image of a fisherman on the label implies, it will be a good companion to fishing, or any activity in the great outdoors, or just relaxing indoors after a hard day or vigorous activity. A portion of the proceeds from Reel Good benefit Trout Unlimited’s Home Rivers Initiative, a project by the conservation group focused on protecting and recovering the Gallatin River and its tributaries.

Mikkeller Game of Thrones Iron Anniversary IPA

Origin: San Diego, California, U.S.A.
Beer type: New England-style IPA
Price: $18 for four-pack 16 oz cans
ABV: 7%
Brewed by: Mikkeller

The wildly popular Games of Thrones is matched with the huge popularity of the IPA craft beer style in this new release from the world-renowned Copenhagen-based Mikkeller brewery. Produced at its new brewing facility in San Diego, this hazy IPA marks the 10-year anniversary of the TV series and is the first of a series of Thrones-inspired beers from Mikkeller, with more to come over the next few years. This first release fits in the realm of NEIPA, also known as hazy or juicy IPA, a sub-style known for its unfiltered appearance and significant amounts of fruit-mimicking hops that give it fruity aromas and flavors that are expressive without being as bitter as the aggressive West Coast American IPA style. Dry hopped with the fittingly-named Styrian Dragon hop, predominant flavors include pineapple, mango and peach and a hint of hop bitterness. Mikkeller’s art director Keith Shore designed the label depicting a warrior on bended knee holding a sword aloft with the three-eyed raven perched on it, which just might make the can a collector’s item for diehard fans of the series.

Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Beer

Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Beer

Origin: Dublin, Ireland
Beer type: Irish Dry Stout
Price: $8 for four-pack 14.9 oz cans
ABV: 4%
Brewed by: Guinness St. James’s Gate Brewery

Guinness has long been the gold standard for a world-class stout, which it has brewed at the St. James’s Gate brewery in Dublin since 1759. Its latest innovation makes use of an ingredient never before used by the iconic brewery: coffee! Released just in time for iced coffee season, after pouring you are met with a sweet and distinct rich coffee aroma, and a flavor that is a perfect balance of bitter and sweet with a quite noticeable roast coffee flavor. Brewed using cold brew coffee extract and coffee flavors, it adds a rich, smooth and creamy palate with hints of espresso, chocolate and caramel. Of course, a Guinness stout is best served on nitro, and an ingenious widget in the can infuses nitrogen into the beer upon opening and recreates the signature surge and settle effect you get from a Guinness Draught on tap. An added bonus is that this rich and creamy brew is only 114 calories per 12 oz serving.

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.