Foundation’s Josef is a smoothing-drinking Czech-style pilsner. Photo by Carla Jean Lauter

Craft and local beer enthusiasts often pride themselves on trying everything new, attending beer releases and always checking out what’s new on tap wherever they go. But even the most fervent beer geeks usually have a secret: sometimes they just want to drink beer and not overthink it. 

Many of my beer-loving friends and colleagues have confessed that they look at beer in two different categories: beer they want to appreciate, and beer for drinking. This second category of “drinking beer” or “fridge beer” is the beer that you pick up to keep stocked at home, or to bring along at gatherings with friends and family. When I first started getting into craft beer, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and then, when I moved to Maine, Sebago Brewing Company’s brews were my fridge beers of choice.

As time has gone by, I’ve switched these up periodically, and now I tend to rotate through a few different brands every month or so. Increasingly, brewers seem to be aware that the market is looking for easier-to-drink options, and there are more beers out there trying to meet that need. Lower alcohol, smooth and lighter bodied beers are showing up, and I think craft beer lovers are ready for it.

Beer, from Foulmouthed Brewing, aims to be basic. Photo courtesy of Foulmouthed Brewing

Probably the most deliberate example of this comes from Foulmouthed Brewing, and its name is simply Beer. The thing about Beer is that it is not designed to be carefully sipped, considered or appreciated, it is designed to be consumed. No one should stand in line for Beer; it’s the kind of beer that you drink semimindlessly while you’re having a good conversation or standing around your kitchen cooking dinner. And frankly, in a world of hype, that’s incredibly refreshing.

Foulmouthed started canning Beer in November, and it became available across the state over the winter. One of the things I appreciate about Beer is that there are no tasting notes or additional information on the can. The can is also as plain as possible, with a white background and the word “beer” written on it in lowercase. Its only description on the packaging is that it is “quality brew for ordinary f#@%ing people.” To me, the taste is like a dialed back pale ale with an added crispness. Somehow, Beer manages to be incredibly satisfying but also pleasantly forgettable. 

For many, “drinking beer” definitively points to lagers. Foundation Brewing Company has been brewing lagers for a while, and the super crisp Riverton Flyer was once part of my rotation. Recently I have become a big fan of Josef, which is now available in cans. Josef is a Czech-style pilsner, and drinking it brings out all those great pilsner flavors, wrapped in a smoother mouthfeel. Similar to the experience of drinking Beer, what I love about Josef is that it has just enough flavor to make me happy, but not enough that I feel like I need to pay specific attention to it. It is a pleasurable beer from the first crack of the can opening to the last dregs. If you do want to get a little geeky about Josef, however, you can head to Foundation’s tasting room on Industrial Way. There, they specialize Czech-style pour spouts, designed to produce its silky smooth head, make it an even smoother drinking experience.

Rising Tide’s Back Cove Pilsner is a crisp beer that’s great to drink while cooking or with a meal. Photo by Carla Jean Lauter

If your priority is crispness, then you should consider adding Rising Tide’s Back Cove Pilsner to the mix.

Rising Tide Brewing Company has been producing this beer for several years, and it has been growing on me lately as a go-to beer.

Back Cove Pilsner is a great one in the “drinking beer” category because it is crisp but without being overly dry, and there’s a balance from some of the fruity notes that are coming off the yeast. I enjoy this one particularly while cooking and with a meal.

It almost seems like it is impossible for it to clash with anything, which is another important criteria for me when selecting a beer for casual drinking. The year-round availability of Back Cove Pilsner also means that it can hold me over until the ultimate Maine fridge beer, Maine Island Trail Ale, comes back around this summer. 

Carla Jean Lauter is a freelance beer writer and blogger who lives in Lisbon. Follow her beer adventures at:

Twitter: beerbabe

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