Consumer Report: Best Craft Beers

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Everybody knows the big-name beers, but there are more than 2,400 breweries in the United States alone, and most are craft brewers.

Craft brews are beers that come from smaller, independent labels.Consumer Reports just sized up a couple dozen craft beers, just in time to discover a new summer brew. 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," Scott Vaccaro of Captain Lawrence Brewing Company said about his beer.

Finding a good craft beer can be difficult, but Consumer Reports managed to find someone for a taste test.

"Some days at the office are tougher than others," Adam Kaplan of Consumer Reports joked.

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," Kaplan said.

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, $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 came out on top with a range of malt and hops flavors. A six-pack goes for $8.60. 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.