Mixed cases are great. Infuses some variety in your beer fridge. Covers your bases when you’re going to a gathering. Protects you in the event that the beer in the case you haven’t tried yet isn’t that good. Not every (or even most) craft brewery has them, and for a whole list of good reasons. In fact, it’s more limited to the larger ones. But the ones that are out there are fairly solid, so I thought I’d give a run down of my favorites. I will, however, be limiting it to northwest beers (AK, OR, WA), so Stone, Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, etc are not considered.
5. Widmer Brothers. (Beers contained: Hefe, Shanty Hefe (seasonal), Rotator IPA, Drop Top Amber). Widmer is a very middle of the road beer for me- nothing that blows me away, but nothing that I would hesitate to drink. The Shanty Hefe is the best of the bunch, and has kind of been my go-to this summer despite the previous statement. A very nice Hefe, with a more citrus crispness to it, it has paired perfectly with this blazing summer. Rotator is a good-but-not-great IPA and a good amber never hurt anyone.
4. Bridgeport (Kingpin Double Red, Hop Czar Imperial IPA, India Pale Ale, Conviction Pale Ale (Seasonal)). Red Ales, like Whites, are criminally underrated, and Kingpin is one of the best. Bitter to the core and packing a punch, Kingpin is an apt moniker. The India and Imperial ales are likewise strong and bitter, if not quite as good for my money, but if you are a fan of strong a bitter, this case should be omnipresent.
3. Alaskan (Beers contained: White, Amber, Kolsch (seasonal), IPA). This gets a definite boost from the White Ale, which in my not-so-humble opinion is one of the more underrated beers (and types of beer) out there. Wonderfully crisp and refreshing, but, as one would expect from Alaskan, is great in the winter as well. The Summer Kolsch is solid as well, good for summer days spent in cool northwest waters.
2. Rogue (Beers contained: Dead Guy Ale, Chipotle Ale, Imperial Pilsner, Oatmeal Stout) Rogue is doing that thing right now where they are one of the Big Dogs in the craft beer universe, and they have to do things to either A) stay ahead of the curve or B) prove that they are big by doing weird stuff. In either case, lately they seem bent on making their mark by making beers involving doughnuts, the world’s most overrated hot sauce, and a wide variety of spins on one of the best beers ever made. A piece of free advise, gang: stop. Rogue makes amazing beer, plain and simple. They should stick to it, as the most expensive case on this list proves. A four pack of 22’s, but every one worth its weight in… well, beer. Dead Guy needs no introduction, and I could say the Imperial Pilsner is one of the most drinkable beers you will ever have, but that just makes it sound pedestrian. The oatmeal stout is a perfect smooth, dark beer that is wonderful year ’round. Simply put, a case of one of the best breweries doing what they do best. Now stop trying to be cute. Bonus: There is a 12-pack of 22s. Seriously.
1. Ninkasi (Beers contained: Dawn of the Red, Lux, Total Domination IPA, (Seasonal)). Ninkasi is the ancient Goddess of beer, and you better believe I will worship her until I die. As I said earlier, Red Ale is vastly underrated, and Dawn of the Red is the best of that uppity bunch. Total Domination is the best widely-available IPA (Boundary Bay still is the best overall IPA, though). But, for a mixed case, let’s talk about the seasonal. I didn’t even specify one there, because it would be pointless. Everything Ninkasi touches is gold. A Kolsch, an Octoberfest release. Spring Reign is an American Pale ale that will make you forget this summer has been hell on earth and Trump is trying to, you know, run America. Oh, and coming up? Sliegh’r. Wait, you need more than that name? A dark double ale that is essentially the perfect winter beer. Seriously, go to your local store and grab a case of Ninkasi right now.
On the whole, this is something I would like to see more- and smaller- craft breweries offer. I know growlers are en vogue right now, but isn’t the better plan to have something that exposes drinkers to the variety a brewery has on offer, which can also sit in a fridge for a few days? Even better, at the brewery itself: offer a flat price for a mixed case, and let people make up their own variety packs.
In any case, that’s my opinion- what mixed case do you like? What breweries would you like to see offer one?