Pelican Brewery in Pacific City, Oregon has a bit of a following, and it’s easy to see why. These people do good beers that are very approachable and still full flavored.
Cream ales are top-fermented ales that have been cold-conditioned. The result is the light crispness of a lager, but with more malt and the rounder mouth-feel of an ale, making cream ales some of the ultimate “lawnmower” beers.
I believe in elegance in simplicity, and “Kiwanda” nails that for me. It has six ingredients in it, including the water and yeast. It’s a Pre-Prohibition style cream ale, which means it has a touch more hops in that a traditional East Coast cream ale would (it’s from Oregon, this should not be unexpected), but the malts are flavorful enough and have just enough body to even everything out to a beautifully well-balanced drink. It’s malty and fruity without being sweet, and crisp without being bitter or watered-down.
A lot of people by-pass this beer for Pelican’s stout, perhaps because they’re more familiar with that style of beer, but this is such a good beer I wanted to make sure it doesn’t get overlooked.