Erik Desjarlais, Bringing Back The Can, Beer, Beer Can, Beer in a Can, Beer Recommendations, What Canned Beer to Drink, Best Beers in a Can, Chef recommendations


Genesee Cream Ale

In Rochester, New York, there lies a brewery, that in 1819 was named “The Aqueduct Spring Brewery.” Over the course of 192 years it has seen a few name and ownership changes, but it will always be affectionately known as “Genny.” 

Photograph courtesy of the brewery

Genesee Brewing Company’s anchor, Genesee Cream Ale, won two consecutive Gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival. Genny Cream comes in at 5.2% ABV, and drinks smoothly. Pour it into a chilled mug and see the thick white head, so dense you can float a coin on it. Notably heavier than a light macro brew, but lighter than most lagers, even with the “cream ale” title. The amber glow is refreshing to see, especially from a can, but the fact of the matter is you probably won’t be pouring this beer into a glass. This beer is best enjoyed out of a 30 pack, with a lot of friends. True Genny Heads will happily enjoy them at room temperature, any time of the day.  And I have seen 24 oz tallboys for less than a buck.

Also, you may enjoy Genny Light, Genesee, Genesee Ice, and the truly amazing Genesee Bock, which is released every spring…when it’s gone, it’s gone. 


Rhode Island is neither a road, nor an island. However, America’s tiniest state does boast a brewery that was funded by a product called “Butterine,” a precursor to margarine. Narragansett Beer was born in 1888. After prohibition, Rudolph Haffenreffer Jr. took the helm, and hired Theodore Geisel to design a logo. Mr. Geisel went on to be known as Dr. Seuss, and Narragansett Brewery went on to be the largest selling beer in New England. 

Photograph courtesy of the brewery

After a bit of financial trouble in the 1980’s, the brewery came back to life in 2005. We can once again enjoy the 16 oz cans of Lager, Light, Fest, Porter and Bock. The most popular is the Lager, and with a nutty and dry aftertaste, it is best enjoyed freezing cold, crisp and refreshing.... I’ve had it warm, and I’d avoid it like wildfire. But at 5% ABV, it still packs a minor punch... and remember, it is “Made On Honor, Sold On Merit.”


From 1882 to 1916, Pabst Brewing Company tied little blue ribbons around their bottlenecks.

Photograph courtesy of the brewery

These days, PBR is the quintessential cheap can of beer. I enjoy it served icy cold with a pinch of salt. And any good bartender will put a thumb indent in the can for you for sipping ease upon opening. I’ve seen an individual drink 30 PBR tallboys, and at the end of the day, anyone who survives that gets a blue ribbon. If you’re feeling fancy, stick your pinky out and call it a Pabst Cordon Bleu. And do try the salt trick... it works wonders on the beer.

Red White & Blue

Red White and Blue beer was a product of Pabst, and the only reason I’m mentioning it is because it brings back teenage memories of the “Red White and Blue Crew” in the early 90’s... a group of guys who would sit around and drink a warm case of, you guessed it, Red White and Blue. “Crew” rhymes with “Blue,” so the name stuck. It soon became unavailable and obsolete [wikipedia]. I think a case was about $4, and it would get a mess of us rip roaring around a bonfire in the woods. I’m excited that the new owners of Pabst are considering bringing it back. Look for it!

National Bohemian

The brand character for National Bohemian is creepy: a one-eyed guy with a spit curl and a handlebar mustache. But through the ups and downs, our friends at Pabst  keep this guy alive. Once brewed in Baltimore, “Natty Boh” is the underdog of old American macro brews. While Pabst distributes it, Miller brews it. And while Miller High Life, the “Champagne of Beers” is delicious straight from the ice, Natty Boh is great any time.

Photograph courtesy of the brewery

When chilled, it is crispy and clean, and as it comes to room temperature, the sweet bitterness comes out. Next time you reach for a canned beer, reach for a Natty Boh. The creepy one-eyed and spit-curled Mr. Boh is begging you. 

Simpler Times Lager

Trader Joe’s came to Portland, Maine. I was apprehensive at first, but as I crept along the aisles, I asked an Hawaiian shirt-clad employee to point me to the beer. There, in the corner of the cooler, I saw Simpler Times Lager.

Photograph courtesy of the brewery

It was $2.99 for a six-pack, so I bought it for the sake of the novelty of buying cheap beer at Trader Joe’s. I don’t think I’ve ordered a pint of beer at a local bar for less than $4. But when I got home and cracked one open, I was strangely impressed. It comes from Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe Wisconsin. At 6.2% ABV, it is almost double the norm for American canned beer, and has oodles of flavor taboot. Why on earth would you even consider buying Bud or Coors when Simpler Times Lager exists? I have to say, aside from Genny, this is my favorite canned cheap beer. I dare any hop head beer advocate to taste it blind alongside some higher-end micro brew lagers and honestly tell the difference, or say it is sub-par. And at $2.99 a sixer, nobody really loses. 


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