Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)
The only thing better than nostalgia is nostalgia for beer. No matter where you live, your area likely has its own beer. And we aren’t talking about craft beer. We’re talking about brands like Old Style, Genny, Olympia, and Utica Club. They’re classic, hard-working brews that have endured even in the midst of the craft brewing renaissance. After enjoying pint after pint of New England-style IPA, something draws us back to them.
It might have been the first beer you ever tried or the brand your dad and grandfather enjoyed. The older you get, even though you fight it, you’re probably going to start drinking it, too. Perhaps your tastes have changed, or you just want something to wash down a cheeseburger that isn’t chock-full of bitter hops. Classic beers have always been there and hopefully always will be.
Bartenders are just like us. They have nostalgia for these brands as well. We asked some of our favorite bartenders to explain which classic, no-frills beers they love and why. Check out all of their choices below.
Coors Banquet Beer
“My go-to dive bar order is a Coors OG, usually paired with a shot. Sometimes I just need a super cold, no-frills beer!” – Chloe Doyle, tap room manager at Independence Brewing in Austin, Texas
Miller High Life
“‘The Champagne of Beers,’ Miller High Life. This is my fridge beer and I will always drink it.” – Ben Rouse, bartender at Henley in Nashville
“My favorite no-frills beer is a toss-up at the moment and more often than not decided by the liquor store inventory. If they have Red Stripe in stock that is my go-to; if not, I can settle for a Corona and lime.” – Ross Lewis, bar manager at Mahina & Sun’s at the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club in Honolulu, Hawaii
“Though there are a couple of favorite nostalgic beers here at Grain and Cane, one of the most classic is Yuengling Lager.” – Margaret Salas, bartender at Grain & Cane in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey
“Fan of Narragansett Lager, but my absolute go-to beers are Miller HighLife and Coors Original!” – Mariel Burns, head bartender at Trademark Taste + Grind in New York City
“It depends what part of the world I’m currently in. I usually go for a local staple option. Here in Thailand, I’ll choose between Singha or Chang, and I must say either are just perfect to quench the thirst since Bangkok can be relentlessly hot.” – Renu Sinpho, mixologist at Alfresco-64 at The Dome at Lebua in Bangkok, Thailand
“My favorite no frills, nostalgic beer has to be Pacifico with a lime. It always brings me back to backyard barbeques or beach bonfires. I’m not sure when or why I started drinking it, but in my circle of friends growing up, I always remember it being the beer a lot of us drank. We probably thought we were all too cool for Coronas or something.” – Jeremy Williams, lead mixologist at Lumber Baron Bar in Grand Rapids, Michigan
“I used to call Yuengling my go-to beer. It’s what we drank when we snuck into bars in Pittsburgh. In today’s political climate, I feel a responsibility to choose brands that are socially well-minded and Yuengling has, unfortunately, dropped that ball. Bud Light’s been getting my business since then.” – Michael Diehl, head bartender at Drexler’s in New York City