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the 6 best macro-brews in the world


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Sorta like asking which one of your incorrigible, bratty kids you love the most (not that I know anything about that....).

I actually like Rolling Rock with pizza and red sauce Italian; inobtrusive and refreshing against the garlic and acid in red sauce.

Pilsner Urquell with Sechuan Chinese dishes, a terrific pairing that enhances the hot-sour nature of Sechuan and still cools some of the heat.

PBR isn't a bad lawn-mower beer (actaully tried one last summer, very palatable)

Coors Extra Gold and Winterfest are both also acceptable , richer brews but still with that Coors sweetness.

Beck's Dark with hot dogs, brats or other sausage makes a decent pairing when you can find the stuff.

Rich Pawlak


Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large


"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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What kind of volumes does a brewery need to make in order for the beer to be considered macro-brew?

Major improvements in distribution and supply-line channels, as well as manufacturing capabilities, has really gone a long way towards bringing a number of excellent beers out of the woodwork. Sam Smiths comes to mind. This is a brewery that maybe 8 or 9 years ago was hardly out there. Now i see it pretty frequently. Would that be considered a macro brew?

Edited by Cornellrob (log)
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Samuel Adams has ALWAYS been a macro brew. With the exception of a very well appointed small brewery/showpiece in Boston, the beer has always been contract brewed at large breweries. Jim Koch (founder-Boston Beer) now owns Hudepohl-Schoenling in Cincinatti (where incidentally he had been making beer for years). He also contracts out to a number of other breweries. I have attached an article from The Celebrator here that has a pretty good interview (albeit old) that explains some of this.

As far as breweries and their size definitions go, the Association of Brewers defines Regional Breweries as breweries over 50,000 bbls. I suppose a macro starts at a million barrels, but it is kind of hard to figure it out from their web site.

This is a pretty good link breaking out the business

One of my standard jokes doing tours at Abita was that if I made all of my beer at the same pace that AB made theirs that I could come in to work at midnight and be done for the year at 12:15 a.m. It was true. There is a huge difference between the regionals and a behemoth like AB in terms of percentage of beer brewed and sold.

edited to say that I read Cornellrob's post as saying Sam Adams, not Sam Smith's (too many sams in the beer world). I believe that Sam Smith's would probably fall into regional specialty brewery by the AOB definitions, but I can't find their barrelage at the moment.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Pilsner Urquell

Negra Modelo

Anything by Fullers or Youngs

Would Anchor Steam or Sierra Nevada Pale fit in as macros?

In any event there are lots of largeish sized breweries making great beer. How big is Ayinger?


G Ruby

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is there a page on that site which lists beers in the macro and regional categories? if so, i'm not seeing it. having started this thread i'm now unsure about which beers are macro-brews (as in over a million barrels). admittedly when i started the thread i was defining macro-brew in my head in terms of distribution (available everywhere)--but i can see how that's not helpful at all.

my own list:

negro modello


pabst blue ribbon

beck's dark

sierra nevada pale ale (if it qualifies)

dansberg (an indian beer from the 80s, not sure if it is still around or whether it was ever available outside india)

which english beers would qualify? and where do things like shiner bock etc. fall? perhaps the better way to do this might have been to ask for everyone's top 6 non-micro-brewery beer.

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I have to go with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and I have to think it qualifies as a macro brewed beer. Many restaurants now have it on tap and I can get it by the 12-pack at my local grocery store. I also believe that it is available nationwide. I think the definition of a macro brewed beer should be, if you can find it without much trouble in most places in the US, it qualifies.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (as said upthread, if it qualifies)


Guiness (draft only)

Newcastle Brown

Tuborg (wish I could find either green or gold here)

Point Special (may not qualify based on production)

If I had to pick a big-house, American beer it would be Pabst Blue Ribbon. Good beer for a hot day.

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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Very interesting info. Thanks!

Of the breweries that are relatively mainstream, I like the following..

Sam Smiths


Andersen Valley



Bigger Brews: Old Milwaukee, Rolling Rock, Michelob (AB),

Some other beers can be great, but usually aren't. Magic Hat comes to mind. I used to live in VT, and could go directly to the brewery to pick up a growler of beer for 5 bucks. And let me tell you - that was really great - not just the price, but the taste as well!!! Don't usually get that kind of quality at the local Tavern. I also had a pint of Newcastle in Montreal once that just blew my mind. It was absolutely unbelievable the difference between that pint i had and what's normally served. Simply phenomenal.

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I love Rolling Rock!

There's just something about it. I love the painted glass bottles and there's nothing better than a RR on a hot day.

There's nothing quite like Rock & Roll - 33.

The best macro-brewed beer in the world. If you don't like R&R, you don't understand beer. :cool:

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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This is a weird way of fitting this topic, but check it out. Remember that rotgut Whiskey called Yellowstone? It's made in Missouri. Here in Billings we've a micro called Yellowstone Valley Brewing (Hey, it's natural). Now, Yellowstone Bourbon is in court saying Yellowstone Beer's infringingon their trademark! And an interesting aside, the fashion guy, Claude Montana, sued our ZOO because they called themselves ZOOMONTANA!!!! Ack and gack---this is just stupid!! Nobody would buy YVB thinking they wanted whiskey. And as for Claude Montana, what TF has he got to do with our ZOO!!!

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Tsing Tao with hot foods.I think my spelling is off, but if I request jing dow they bring it. Good beer.

You will find that Tsing Tao, (the place in China) was a German trading possesion . Was it the foundation of excellent Chinese beer?

Drank it all the time in Hong Kong.

Martial.2,500 Years ago:

If pale beans bubble for you in a red earthenware pot, you can often decline the dinners of sumptuous hosts.

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Tsing Tao with hot foods.I think my spelling is off, but if I request jing dow they bring it. Good beer.

You will find that Tsing Tao, (the place in China) was a German trading possesion . Was it the foundation of excellent Chinese beer?

Drank it all the time in Hong Kong.

TsingTao is definitely drinkable, and yeah probably deserves to be on this list.

TsingTao is a clone of Beck's. The original TsingTao brewery, which is still operational, was a Beck's plant when it was ceded to the Chinese during the revolution. Even the vats still say Beck's on them.

Tsingtao brewery was founded by Germans, who colonized the place in 1903. The original brewery sits across the street from a park where German soldiers were once quartered.  In 1979, as China was opening door to the outside world, Beijing made Tsingtao the official export beer.  In 1993, the Chinese government capitalized on this fame by selecting Tsingtao as one of the first companies to be allowed to sell shares on the Hong Kong stock market.



Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I didn't know we were submitting more than one! Here's my list:

Rolling Rock

Old Speckled Hen


Guinness or Beamish (I love them both)


Crooked River Dortmunder Gold (gotta support the local brew)

Paulaner Hefe-Weizen

I could go on and on....

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