In the land of 10,000 breweries, there are some beers that have risen to the rank of “fridge staple” — the kind of beer that when you see it, you get it, regardless of season. These are the beers that, when faced with the glut of choice that is the category these days, will always spark joy without any regret. They’re the beers you’re happy to always have your fridge stocked with.
We asked a group of brewers from around the country what their favorite fridge-staple beer is. Of course they would be happy drinking their own beers, but when they’re looking for crowd pleasers or for their own personal enjoyment, everyone has an opinion. Here’s what they said.
The Best Fridge-Staple Beers, According to Brewers:
- Jester King Brewery Le Petit Prince
- Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve
- Orval Brewery Trappist Ale
- New Glarus Brewing Co. Moon Man No Coast Pale Ale
- Wayward Lane Brewing Schlager
- Miller High Life
- Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing
- Pilsner Urquell
- Allagash Brewing Company White
- Zero Gravity Green State Lager
“Most brewers are going to wax poetic about the super-clean and fresh local lager that they can get on the regular. Sadly, my marketplace is lacking in beer like this. That said, why would you want to drink something without the flavor complexity of yeast-driven fermentation? Life is short, so why drink boring beer, I say. The beer I like to keep my fridge stocked with is Le Petit Prince from Jester King. For years, I had friends sending me cases of the stuff (the green 750s are still my favorite iteration of this delightful beer), but more recently they moved to cans, and that makes it even easier to drink along with my dinner, or finishing up a hot summer evening bike ride, without going comatose. For such a low-ABV beer, it has loads of flavor from both hopping and fermentation, but won’t drag you down. Great job, Jester King!” —John Rowley, owner/brewer, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Santa Fe, N.M.
“While I could go with the standard here on the West Coast (the standard being Sierra Nevada Pale Ale), I figured I would get a bit more creative with a beer that had a resurgence in my fridge during the pandemic. This beer is Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve. Private Reserve was originally released by Blitz-Weinhard in 1976 and was brewed in downtown Portland until 1999 when the brand was purchased by Miller Brewing Company (now Molson Coors) and the Portland brewery was shut down. The brand was brewed in Olympia for a bit and then moved to being brewed under contract at Full Sail Brewing in Hood River. Much to the dismay of long-time Oregonians everywhere, in 2021 Molson Coors decided to discontinue the brand. However, Private Reserve is back! As of April 2022, the brand is being brewed by Hop Valley (owned by Molson Coors) in Eugene, Ore. It’s a super-easy-drinking lager made with 100 percent Cascade hops and has more flavor and nuance than you get in most macro beers. Private Reserve is available only in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, where it will truly be appreciated.” —Lisa Allen, head brewer/production manager, Heater Allen Brewing, McMinnville, Ore.
“I’m blessed to be in the suburbs of Philadelphia and have both Human Robot and Forest & Main within 20 minutes, and their beers on hand at all times. But there’s one beer that’s always in my fridge: Orval. I fell in love with that beer the very first time I had it. With the shape of the bottle and high carbonation level, opening a bottle always feels like a special occasion, even if it’s just a Wednesday night. While I’m usually more keen to reach for a session beer, I’ll always have a bottle of Orval chilled and ready in the fridge, and a few to back it up and develop more Brett character while I look for more with more recent bottling dates. Also, fun fact: Orval Day 2022 was on my birthday! How could I not love that beer?” —Shane Fisher, brewer, Artifact Brewing, Hatboro, Pa.
“Recently, when I’m headed to the fridge for a beer, I’ve been reaching for Moon Man No Coast Pale Ale by New Glarus Brewing Co. I really like this beer for its versatility, and for the simple fact that it is super easy to drink. It is very sessionable, but the hop flavors and aroma are definitely there (without being overpowering). The finish is malty and smooth and leaves me reaching for another sip. I feel like it is an all- season beer that I drink after a cold walk home in the winter or sitting on the porch on a summer evening. I’d also be lying if I didn’t mention that I also like the novelty of only being able to get this gem in Wisconsin. Being based in Cincinnati, I’m lucky to work in a building with folks that head to Wisconsin regularly for business. I’m very grateful to them for keeping my fridge staple stocked!” —Zane Lesko, brewer, Humble Monk Brewing, Cincinnati
“So at the moment my fridge is stocked with a nice selection of Wayward Lane Brewing, since we had a collab there last week. My go-to is their Helles-style lager, Schlager, which is perfectly on-point and very well balanced. A brewer’s beer if ever there was one.” —Brett Taylor, head of brewing, Wild East Brewing, Brooklyn
“I’m not an avid at-home drinker, but I gravitate towards Miller High Life when looking for a beer to keep at home. Those 12-ounce bottles are great for when I’m craving a beer, they’re consistent and reliable, and always hit the spot. If I’m feeling fancy, I try to poorly replicate the State Park Bar namesake cocktail by taking a couple swigs out of the bottle and adding an ounce of amaro. Delicious!” —Juleidy Peña, lead brewer, Notch Brewing, Brighton, Mass.
“Lately, a fridge staple of mine has been Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing. Besides it being a consistently delicious beer that I can get in my small town, I love the hop profile and drinkability.” —Andrew Walter, head brewer, The Brewery at Tirrito Farm, Willcox, Ariz.
“My everyday beer that I can pair with basically anything is Pilsner Urquell. I enjoy many different beer styles and I keep a variety of styles at hand, but regardless of the season, the weather, the occasion, or the dish I’m eating, Pilsner Urquell is always a good choice, or even a first beer before moving on to something a little hoppier or a little heavier. I know that for many brewers decoction mashing is considered unnecessary, time-consuming, and outdated, but that’s precisely why I appreciate a macro brewery that takes the time and effort to brew a beer with triple decoction just to guarantee the quality and consistency of their beer.” —Rafael D’Armas, brewer, Montclair Brewery, Montclair, N.J.
“Allagash White: A beer that’s so good, it warrants your full attention, but doesn’t demand it. Pour it into a glass and spend time appreciating the flawless balance of yeast-driven phenolics and subtle spices or enjoy straight from the can as an accompaniment to your favorite outdoor activity. Allagash White is the perfect beer to enhance almost any occasion, and the reason it’s always in my fridge.” —Greg Radawich, director of brewing operations, New England Brewing Co., Woodbridge, Conn.
“Back in 2013 when attending Stratton Mountain’s Harvest Festival, I don’t think I left Zero Gravity’s tent for more than a few minutes. I ended up going home with a Green State Lager hat and sticker and from that point on it has been the fridge staple. Spending a lot of time between our family house in Vermont and home in Connecticut, it’s always been Green State Lager that you can find in both refrigerators. An incredibly clean, familiar but distinct, Noble hop-driven pilsner that tastes like home and good times with friends and family whether I am in the Green State or down on the shoreline.” —Al Lloyd, brewer, Fox Farm Brewery, Salem, Conn.