Editors’ Picks: Cream Ale

The bright and lively nature of this hybrid style makes it the perfect choice as an American alternative to European lagers. While the name can be more sleight-of-hand than literal, that won’t stop us from recommending five we love.

Craft Beer & Brewing Staff Feb 28, 2021 - 3 min read

Editors’ Picks: Cream Ale Primary Image

Castle Danger Castle Cream Ale

Gorgeous deep gold and rich foam, never to be mistaken for light lager. Corny-sweet malt nose with orange-zest and a cinnamon note. Fairly full-bodied—round in mouthfeel and flavor—softly bittersweet with orange-Creamsicle accents. Restrained sweetness despite that heft, finishing cleanly. Unpretentious, with surprising depth.
ABV: 5.5% IBUs: N/A
Location: Two Harbors, Minnesota

Civil Life Brewing Cream Ale

Sparkling deep gold with sturdy white foam. Brioche-like bread-crust nose with herbal hops and lemon-lime edges. On the palate, lightly sweet malt soon vanishes, dovetailing into a refreshing stamp of herbal-earthy hop bitterness and dry finish. Lively, delicious session beer elevated by grown-up hop character.
ABV: 4.3% IBUs: 32
Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Genesee Brewing Cream Ale

Lightly sweet vanilla-like malt nose is much closer to Munich helles than American light lager. Flavor is gently sweet, light on the palate, with just-perceptible bitterness and a soft honey impression before going drier in the finish. Clean, polished, highly drinkable American classic at a democratic price.
ABV: 5.2% IBUs: 9
Location: Rochester, New York

Buoy Beer Cream Ale

Fresh, sweet bread dough wafts over the sparkling, bright gold beer, balanced by some brighter lemongrass notes. Lightly sweet flavor—impressions of cookies, vanilla, pie crust—rolls through soft citrus zest into drying finish and light, lingering bitterness. Fresh, pale malt here sings in a clear voice while providing creamy weight.
ABV: 5.7% IBUs: 19
Location: Astoria, Oregon

Carton Brewing Regular Coffee

An imperial cream ale with adjunct ingredients may seem absurd, at first, but take a sip and the logic becomes apparent—it’s both light and sweet, easy drinking yet potentially cloying to some, and cleverly balanced with just the right hit of very light coffee roast and chocolate. A bit of everyday decadence.
ABV: 12% IBUs: 20
Location: Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey