Most of us working stiffs don't have mad cash to drop on huge quantities of good-quality beer. What is the alternative? Twenty-four-hour gas stations stocked with little rescue kits of mass-produced brew.
There are many selections, but here is a list of ten that every beer fiend should consider when strolling the aisles of 7-Eleven late at night. Some taste good, some are just reasonably priced for the volume, and some are a balance of the two. Disclaimer: All beer is good. Thank God for beer.
10. Samuel Adams
The Boston Beer Company is tied with D.G. Yuengling & Son for the largest American-owned beer maker, based on 2011 sales. And for good reason, Sam Adams Boston Lager is a good brew. The overhopped flavor was part of the U.S. craft beer explosion, and now it is more common than ever before.
The Grolsch Brewery in Holland was founded by Willem Neerfeldt in 1615 but was acquired by SABMiller, the world's second-largest brewing company by volume. This is a smooth import and fair game for late-night brews blues.
Malt liquor is still beer, and although most of it will leave you vomiting in the parking lot, some of it can be damn tasty -- and cheap. Take Mickey's for example, which is good for buying in bulk. A 40-ounce bottle can be purchased from 99 cents to $2.99, depending on market demand and the neighborhood. Smaller 6-pack bottles can be purchased for about five to six bucks. If the taste is too wretched to bear, Mickey's has this pictogram-type game under the bottle caps.
7. Pabst Blue Ribbon
Drinking PBR may have been part of that high school game of drinking beers with names resembling bodily functions, but it is not a bad-tasting swill. It ain't exactly the cheapest either, a 12-pack case is hard to find under $10 (remember when they were six or seven bucks?). If you close your eyes while swigging on a can, it kind of tastes like an India Pale Ale.
6. Pilsner Urquell
Another beer brewed by SABMiller, it is the world's first pilsner-style beer brewed in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Pilsner Urquell is a bottom-fermented beer, which mean it is brewed with a yeast that ferments better in colder temperatures and drops to the bottom of the container during the fermenting process. Many fine pilsners have since followed.
5. Key West Beer
Key West beer is brewed by the Florida Beer Company in Melbourne, just a little way up the coast. It's good to have a local beer available for late night choices. It's craft beer-caliber as far as taste and price goes. Other FBC beers like their small batch Swamp Ape might be nearby.
4. Miller High Life
Miller High Life is good. No really it is and it's cheap too. Publix likes to peddle cases of these for under $8, bottles and cans. Two downsides to the champagne of beers: you need to drink it ice cold and it comes in a clear bottle, making it more susceptible to skunkiness.
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3. Anchor Steam Beer
The Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco has been around since the late 19th century, surviving Prohibition, a massive earthquake and some trying times when America's beer drinkers preferred light lagers. It now can be found in nearly every gas station, liquor store and supermarket.
2. Newcastle Brown Ale
A delicious import from England with a crisp, nutty taste. It's not cheap, but the flavor is on point for a late night craving. Comes in a white bottle, but anyone who knows anything knows that Newcastle cans are a superior container. It's the choice of Nick Armada from Miami's-own CerveTech.
1. Sierra Nevada
The king of gas station brews, Sierra Nevada is most famous for its India Pale Ale-style beers, including the ultra-hopped Torpedo Ale. This Chico, California beer is the bare minimum for serious craft beer drinkers in Miami, like the Misfit Home-Brew Club and Diego Ganoza. It is now found gas stations across Miami.