When I’m in the market for a shower beer, I want something simple and satisfying. It should be on the cheaper side, but not cheaply made, and taste good but not so good that you want to savor every sip. A shower beer’s supposed to make you want another, especially since most shower beers I’ve ever had have been because I was running late for whatever socializing I was supposed to be doing and my friends were trying to get me to catch up with their pregame. It also couldn’t hurt if the beer would survive a few accidental drops of shampoo.
Regular Beer | DuClaw Brewing Co.
DuClaw Brewing delivers exactly what’s promised with Regular Beer. This beer tastes like beer. It’s not going to blow you away with some new approach to malt and hops and it’s not going to disappoint you with some glaring flaw. It’ll keep you coming back and will never turn you into a foaming-at-the-mouth fanboy, which I’d say is the mark of a good product and a mentally stable consumer.
Also, as a bonus, all I could think of when I saw Regular Beer on the shelf was the XKCD comic about standing out in the supermarket.
Sunnyside Blonde | Alewife Brewing
Sunnyside Blonde is one of my favorite beers because it leaves all pretension at the door. It’s a crowd pleasing beer you’re supposed to order if it’s your first time to Alewife, if you don’t want to spend twenty minutes trying to parse out what makes each IPA on the tap list different, if you’re panicking, or if you’ve never had a beer before. It’s a sessionable blonde ale that will keep everyone at the table happy, as long as they actually like beer.
Hanalei Island IPA | Kona Brewing Co.
There’s only one IPA on this list and I did that a little on purpose. Hanalei Island is one of the few I’ve ever found to actually be refreshing. In most others, I’ve found the hops build and build on themselves and actually ends up pushing you off toward another beer. There are some sessionable exceptions, I just happen to think this is the best one. It has the same sort of restorative or relaxing qualities a good pilsner does, which you’d expect from a Hawaiian brewery, where people are expecting something they can drink in an outdoor year-round session.
Mountain Lager | Appalachian Brewing Company
One of the strengths of German lagers is how intact they keep their malt flavors, even in their lighter beers. Hops have a tendency to dominate malt, especially in a beer as light as this one, add on how bland some base malts actually are and any brewer that can maintain solid flavors deserves praise. Mountain Lager definitely maintains that malty flavor all the way into a satisfying bready finish that’s only very slightly cut off by a crisp hop bitterness. It’s definitely taking the German part of its inspiration seriously.
Breakside Pilsner | Breakside
It always bummed me out how people treated Teddy’s pilsner obsession in Brooklyn 99. PIlsners are the opposite of boring. They’re a delicately balanced beer style that takes patience and self-control to make even a moderately palatable version. Breakside Pilsner is much more than moderately palatable, supported by the laundry list of beer awards the beer’s won. It’s a great example of a style that’s been otherwise denigrated by American pop culture and macrolagers and I choose to believe pilsners aren’t nearly as boring to talk about as people want to make us believe.
51 Rye IPA | Monument City Brewing Company
The beer I actually want to recommend is Monument City’s Anniversa-Rye Lager, but my editor pointed out that recommendations are only really helpful if people can find the product with more consistency. It’s a good point, so I’m pivoting to 51 Rye IPA. It’s a beer with similar strengths to the aforementioned lager most of which come from the proper utilization of rye malt. The rye contributes heavy notes of herbal spiciness and it’s a refreshing variation on the usual approach to an IPA, when brewers dump in a shit ton of hops without much consideration for what their malt does for the beer. Properly balanced IPAs are few and far between as it is, so to find one that strikes a good balance with a rarer malt is a needle in a haystack type accomplishment.
Icelandic Toasted Porter | Einstök Ölgerð
I wanted to throw in a dark beer for those deep winter days when you’re relaxing in a way too hot shower, but the pick also couldn’t be one of those stouts or porters that look like motor oil and drinks like molasses or a nitro can that needs pouring into a glass. The toasted porter from Einstök checks those boxes. It’s on the lighter side in terms of ABV at six percent, making it more drinkable than a lot of the other dark beers on the market. There’s also a good balance between the roasted malt’s astringency and caramel sweetness, which can be tough to strike and leads a lot of porters to taste like they got scraped out of the bottom of a kiln. An Icelandic brewery having this good of a handle on dark beers reassures me that at least some parts of the world still make sense.