Let me put it to you point blank: when I’m about to board an airplane, I’m going to drink. There’s something soothing about a stiff little toddy when you’re about to sit in a steel tube for three hours with a bunch of sweaty strangers. TSA continues to make every aspect of the trek from the parking lot to the gate as inconvenient as possible, so it’s really in your best interest to tie one on once you finally find a safe place to plug your phone in and enjoy a soggy $11 turkey sandwich.
While the miserable terminal experience is universal, every airport is set up a little different. When you’re in a new place, you’ve gotta fight through the uncertainty and lock down a stool at the local watering hole to get your bearings. What you drink once you’re there is up to you. Whether it’s wine, liquor, or beer, there’s really no wrong choice. Personally, I believe nothing beats a tall frosty cerveza, so let’s take a look at the best beers you can find at every airport.
5. Sam Adams – Rebel IPA
Fun Fact: Sam Adams is the largest American-owned brewery in the country (seriously, look it up). You can find their stuff everywhere, and the Rebel IPA is carrying the torch for the IBU lovers when the tap list is limited. There are better IPAs out there, but the Rebel offering is an honest beer that gets the job done. Here’s the thing though: Should you really be drinking an IPA in this setting? You’ve likely got a lot of ground to cover, and all that hoppiness is bound to weigh you down. Plus, IPAs are basically the opposite of a breath mint. I’m not trying to feel your dragon breath when I’m in my 18-inch middle seat once we are airborne. Please pick something else, unless you’re trying to slide into that 6.5% ABV. For that potency alone, it cracks the top 5.
4. Bud Light/Miller Lite/Coors Light
Ahh yes, the Big 3. Opting for one of these bad boys is a safe play. When I see someone order one of these, I assume they’re either cutting back on calories or their palate is pretty simple. These pair well with the free pretzels and peanuts you get from the Flight Attendant, and you can rest assured the lightness of these beers won’t hold you back when you’re in Usain Bolt mode trying to make your connection. Long story short, these are great everyman’s beers, but you’re not going to WOW anyone if you order one. Besides, if you’re going to drop $8 on a beer, you can probably do better than this Macro swill.
Love it or hate it, Guinness is a beer after my own heart. It’s got heavy flavor, yet it is surprisingly low carb. A Guinness is the perfect beer to order when you’re trying to catch the second half of the Arsenal game or brush up on some reading. It is to be savored and is prime for long layovers. When other patrons spy the inky black goodness in your pint glass, they know you’re not messing around. Especially if it’s 8:00 a.m. and you’ve got three hours to kill at O’Hare (not that I’d know about that or anything). Guinness is polarizing, yet dependable and iconic. It takes the Bronze.
2. Blue Moon
Before I get skewered here, let me admit that Blue Moon is the “craft beer” that got me into craft beer. In my undergrad days, there were legitimate moments I didn’t have second thoughts about buying a 30 rack of Natty Ice. Thanks to a few internships and a glimpse into the real world, my finances and my taste buds slowly climbed out of the dark ages as a 21-year-old. I finally mustered up the courage to branch out from the Piss Water, and Blue Moon broke me in to a world of opportunity. While Blue Moon is hardly a craft beer, it’s a crowd pleaser. If Guinness is the muted flannel of the beer world, Blue Moon is the pink oxford; it’s subtle, yet a break from the ordinary. It may not be your first choice, but it’s refreshing! In the unlikely event of a water landing, that orange peel gives you a head start fighting off scurvy if you end up stranded on a desert island. It’s also on every tap list in America, so drink away.
1. Fat Tire
Arguably the most dynamic mass-produced beer of all time, Fat tire is a blessing right out of New Belgium, CO. Flavor, mouth feel, and drinkability are all off the charts here. When I’m at the airport, I want all my details squared away. Keep the gate changes, maintenance delays, and lost baggage claims out of my face. Fat Tire is straightforward, and I like that. It’s a stone cold, finely tuned American amber that packs a 5.2% jab just enough to get your head buzzing. It pairs well with burgers and snacks, and it stands equally tall on its own. I opt for one (or three) of these when I need to get in the zone before my boarding group gets announced. It’s rare you find a beer simultaneously refreshing and flavorful, yet here we are with the Best in Class winner: Fat Tire.
Please Note: This competition actually begins and ends with Yuengling, but this Nectar of the Gods is not available everywhere, so the options above will have to do..
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