Best Craft Beer Cans for the Cooler in the Dog Days of Summer
21st Amendment Allies Win The War
Want a conversation piece in your cooler? We'd guess that the Allies Win The War can design with a World War II-era newspaper label, photos of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill and inches of text about San Francisco-based 21st Amendment's collaboration with Eugene, Ore.'s Ninkasi Brewing will easily be the most interesting can at any summer party. Just don't discount what's inside. Ninkasi and 21st Amendment packed these little 12-ouncers with an 8.5% English Strong Ale powerful enough to make beer's Axis powers consider capitulating.
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
The Colorado canner that started craft beer's crush on aluminum has pretty strong brews all along its line, but this 10.5% ABV imperial stout outmuscles them all. This is a bold beer that may look like what came out of your car during your last oil change, but balances its chocolate and coffee flavor with a bitterness that rivals even the strongest IPAs. It's a bit pricey -- from $11 to $16 for a four-pack -- and isn't for everyone, but it's heaven for anyone who's ever wanted a big beer in a small, 12-ounce package.
Surly Brewing Company Bitter Brewer
There are a bunch of canned seasonal brews out there, but few that get the idea of a summer beer better than this Minnesota-made English Bitter. Weighing in at a light 4% ABV and packed with the citrus flavor and aroma of a pale ale twice its size, 16-ounce cans of Bitter Brewer can leave a deck or patio full of empties without putting drinkers down for the count. It's a light and refreshing choice for days when heavier beers can't take the heat.
Brown ale's a great summer beer, but lower alcohol content makes it even better. Tallgrass out of Manhattan, Kan., struck that balance by giving its malty, chocolate brown only 4.4% ABV. It's light, smooth and unimposing even in a 16-ounce pint can. The artwork on its 8-Bit Pale Ale can is a bit more fun, but there's nothing wrong with a laid-back package for an equally mellow brew.