This Memorial Day Weekend, Embrace Your Love of Canned “Dad Beers”

It’s a giant understatement to say that the world of craft beer is booming in the last few decades. According to the Brewers Association, there were only 284 breweries in the US in 1990. Today, only twenty-eight years later, there are well over six thousand. With this influx of breweries, beer drinkers have more choice than ever before. But, sometimes we get tired of all the double IPAs, goses, and bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts.

For these occasions, only a classic, dad-style, mass-produced lagers or pilsners will do. This goes for our favorite bartenders as well. Sometimes, they just want something lighter and refreshing., Like us, they sometimes feel guilty about this choice. That’s why we asked bartenders to tell us their favorite guilty please beers. You can find their answers below.

Miller High Life

“I may have been seen ordering Tecate in a can…with a lime wedge on top. Or a Miller High Life, which happens to be the champagne of beers, with a shot of Grand Marnier on the side to class it up a bit. There is something about a simple, lighter beer that hits the spot on a hot summer day!”

-Tim Rivers, Food & Beverage Director at The SIX15 Room in Minneapolis

Old Style

“I’m not usually one to beer-shame, you like what you like. That being said, the only time I order a mass-produced lager is after a long shift. We walk to my favorite bar where the bartender pops open a can of Old Style and hands it to me as I walk in. Old Style is a lager similar to PBR that’s been brewed since 1902. A 16oz can paired with a shot of Fernet is the perfect way to unwind.”

-Done Pirone, Beverage Director at Brezza Cucina in Atlanta

Miller Lite


“Having opened two craft beer bars and being an east coast native, I’ve always had access to and loved small batch craft beers, like The Alchemist’s Heady Topper and Lawson’s Finest Liquids. That being said, I love Miller Lite–the complete opposite of those other beers. After sweating and being miserably hot all day in the kitchen, something ice cold and easy to drink quickly is always a winner.”

– Nathaniel Cayer, executive chef at I|O Godfrey in Chicago



“I will definitely get down with a Budweiser (bottle only, NEVER draft) at a dive bar. If a Lonestar is available that trumps a Bud because I spent formative years in the republic of Texas. If it’s an outdoor situation and there’s nothing I’m really loving on the beer list, I’ll get a glass of ice and some lemon slices or grapefruit juice and a little salt with my Budweiser and make a DIY shandy on the fly.”

Sarah Boisjoli, Beverage Director at The Springs Patio & Cocktail Bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Pabst Blue Ribbon


“I love it all, from the dirt cheap PBRs and Lone Stars all the way to the local, handcrafted hipster IPAs. Beer will never embarrass me, though what I do after a six pack might.”

Kate Fugate, service Manager at Sweet Auburn BBQ in Atlanta

Rolling Rock


“For me it’s two fold. Miller High Life but has to be in the 7oz. stubby bottles, and rolling rock, but only in bottles. Neither one of these beers can I drink out of draft or in any other bottles than that size. I prefer the way the beer tastes in those bottles. With rolling rock, it’s because of the way the hops break down to to lift degradation. I enjoy the small version of the Miller high life because it has to be ice cold, and the smaller the bottle, the quicker it gets cold.”

– Les Locke, Head Brewer at Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery, located at the historic Pearl in San Antonio

Stiegl Radler

“Anytime I’m in the mood for something lighter, I’ll order a Stiegl Radler or ‘grapefruit juice’ as my friends say. It has a 2.5% ABV so it’s a nice break from craft beers, which can sneak up on you.”

-Marko Milunovic, head bartender at 312 Chicago


“I know there are more crafty stouts out there, that are made locally (some by friends of mine) but sometimes you just can’t beat a Guinness. Low alcohol, crushable, and so tasty. All my neighbors are drinking bland over carbonated light soda beers after they cut the grass, I’m having a malty, delicious stout.”

Kim Spence, national beverage director at Moxie’s Grill & Bar in Dallas and Houston




“I would have to say my guilty pleasure beer that is a little embarrassing to order would be a sour apple framboise. Bright green and super sweet. I’m not embarrassed by cheap beer, I love Miller light and icehouse, pretty proud of it too!”

-Steve Ashurst, bartender at Sweetwater Tavern and Grille in Chicago



“My new-new is Coors Banquet Beer – it’s delicious! They’ve reverted the recipe to the old recipe, and it’s full-flavor and full-body. As far as being embarrassed, I ain’t. For one I’m a grown ass man, very little embarrasses me. Shortly before reading this email I had admitted to yesterday drinking two 12oz beers in a 32oz Mason Jar with ICE, lime and a pinch of salt. In a market like Atlanta where Hipsters are a full-fledged demographic, it’s cool to drink “ironic” old style beers.”

– Jeremy Isles, bartender at Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall in Atlanta