Consumer Reports: Craft brew summer picks for beer lovers


Captain Lawrence Brewing Company prides itself on every bottle of beer it brews.

"Beer made at a craft brewery our size has soul, it has flavor, and it has an intensity of flavor that many large breweries just can't match," said Scott Vaccaro, owner and head brewer at the Captain Lawrence Brewing Company.

How to find a good craft beer?

Adam Kaplan and experts at Consumer Reports conducted blind taste tests of 23 ales and lagers and found there were some distinct differences.

One taster compared the lowest-rated ale, Magic Hat, to a peach-tea drink. But Consumer Reports rated 13 craft beers "very good" or even "excellent," including several India pale ales.

"India pale ales tend to be more floral and fruity than a lot of other beers, and they have an intense, lingering bitterness," said Kaplan.

Stone IPA is top-rated, with complex flavors, but its bitterness might be too much for some people -- and so could the price, at nearly $11 for a six-pack.

For much less, at $7.36 for a six-pack, Shock Top Wheat IPA is a Consumer Reports Best Buy. It's a little less bitter with a slight sweetness.

Prefer a lager? Samuel Adams Boston Lager came out on top with a range of malt and hops flavors. A six-pack goes for $8.60.

Consumer Reports say all three are good choices when your thirst is brewing this summer.

Thinking of brewing your own beer? More and more people are. Consumer Reports looked at one of the most popular home-brewing kits from Mister Beer. The kit includes a plastic keg and all the fixings -- you just add water and brew your own beer in about three to four weeks. Tasters found the process wasn't bad, but the beer wasn't that good. Maybe stick to the ready-mades.

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