Samuel Adams canned beer

The canned-beer revolution is in full swing: According to a 2012 report, more than 50% of beer consumed that year was in cans. Sure, the omnipresence of brands like Bud and Miller probably has something to do with that, but craft breweries are also jumping on the bandwagon in droves. With summer—and, importantly, beach season, which cans are basically perfect for—just around the corner, we rounded up eight of the best readily available, canned options out there, no matter what your budget is.

 

BUDGET

Pabst Blue Ribbon canned beer

Pabst Blue Ribbon
Mock it if you must—actually, mocking PBR has been passé for a while now, so it’s better if you don’t—but the hipster-approved brew has plenty of worthy attributes. It’s a solid, easy-drinking lager, and despite a price hike in recent years, it’s rare that you’ll shell out more than $4 for a can. Ubiquity helps, too since PBR can be found at nearly every bar or liquor store. pabstblueribbon.com

 

narragansett-beer-cans

Narragansett Lager
‘Gansett’s historical bona fides are legit: It was first brewed in 1890, and the brand became a New England icon—the company even sponsored the Boston Red Sox—before shutting down in 1998. A group of Rhody natives rebooted the brand in 2005, and thank God for that: Its anchor beer, a classic American lager, is a supremely refreshing budget beer that tastes more expensive than it is. (You can find tallboys for as little as $3 in plenty of bars.) narragansettbeer.com

 

MID-RANGE

Dale's Pale Ale

Dale’s Pale Ale
Oskar Blues Brewery was way ahead of the canned-beer curve: In 2002, the Colorado beer-makers launched Dale’s Pale Ale, signaling a shift in how craft producers got their brews to thirsty fans. A decade later, cans are everywhere, but Dale’s remains a solid option: It’s a hops-head’s dream, packed with varieties like Cascade and Centennial, but mild—and inexpensive—enough to bring to a backyard BBQ with your Coors-swilling pals. oskarblues.com

 

Shiner Bock

Shiner Bock
Texas forever—especially when it comes to this longstanding Lone Star favorite, produced by Spoetzl Brewery for more than a century. And unlike the other inexpensive options on this list, Shiner’s flagship beer is a bock, a nod to the brewery’s Bavarian founder, Kosmos Spoetzl. It’s mild, malty and highly sessionable (with just 4.4% ABV), which makes it a great canned option no matter the price. But the fact that a sixer is typically about $7 doesn’t hurt. shiner.com

 

Samuel Adams canned beer

Sam Adams Boston Lager
The largest craft brewery in the U.S. was also something of a latecomer to the canned-beer boom: After years of requests, Sam Adams debuted a can of its own design, featuring a wider lid than standard sixers and a slightly extended lip, among other attributes. All of the custom tweaks are in the service of making the Boston brewer’s flagship beer taste better. And even though they spent $1 million developing the product, you’ll still pay only about $10 for a six-pack. samueladams.com

 

PRICIER

brontide

Stillwater Brontide
Baltimore’s Stillwater Artisanal Ales—the brainchild of amateur-turned-pro brewer Brian Strumke—has been producing for only four years, but in that time, it’s gained a reputation for funky, inventive brews, as well as its collaborative efforts with beer-nerd faves like Mikkeller and Stone. This new release is a full-bodied, smoky black ale that goes down surprisingly easy, thanks to its relatively low 5% ABV. It’s worth the extra bucks, trust us. facebook.com/stillwaterales

 

jai-alai-beer

Cigar City Jai Alai
The Tampa brewery’s flagship IPA is an ode to all things Florida, from the name—the ball-tossing diversion, the name of which translates to “the merry game,” has a long history in the Sunshine State—to its flavor profile. The hoppy brew starts off on the sweet side, but has a pleasantly bitter, almost grapefruit-like finish. (Just be careful—it may go down easy, but the 7.5% ABV IPA will mess you up pretty quickly.) cigarcitybrewing.com

 

Ballast Point Sculpin canned beer

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
The San Diego brewery only started canning its award-winning IPA in 2012, and the relative newcomer is a doozy: bright and citrusy, but packing a super-hoppy punch. (The brewery named it for a fish that has sharp fins and tasty meat, or “something that has a sting but tastes great.”) A sixer will set you back more than some of the others on this list—the brewery sells them for $14.99—but bringing this one to a party will show off your beer-nerd cred. ballastpoint.com