18 Must-Try Craft Beers For People Who Hate IPAs

It's actually unfathomable to try to keep up with all of the craft beers on the market. Like wine, beer is intricate and specific. There are so many different kinds of ways to combine water, grain, hops, and yeast to create the malty brew we know and love. The list of craft breweries in the U.S. alone is daunting, let alone all of the amazing international beers that are out there. Sure, it's easy to stick with something familiar like a Corona or a Bud Light, but with so many options available at your fingertips, why wouldn't you want to try something new? 

The key to becoming a beer connoisseur is exploring all of the different types and determining which elements you favor. Some people are all about the Indiana Pale Ale or IPA, which usually contains a lot of hops that give a beer its bitter taste. Others prefer brews that are sour and fruity, almost resembling candy more than a yeasty beverage. Some people only associate craft beer with hoppy and bitter IPAs, and mistakenly believe that they don't like any craft brews at all. However, there are so many other flavor profiles beer can have, you just have to know what you're looking for. 

To provide some inspiration, we rounded up 18 craft beers for people who claim to hate IPAs. We'll give you some tips on how to pick the best brew off a draft menu and hopefully expand your beer-drinking horizons.  

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Sunny Little Thing citrus wheat ale

The opposite of a bitter and hoppy IPA is a wheat-forward ale with a touch of fruity sweetness, such as Sierra Nevada Brewing Company's Sunny Little Thing citrus wheat ale. It's a light beer containing 5% ABV and hints of orange and grapefruit. It's important not only to consider the alcohol content of a beer, but also to understand IBUs, or International Bitterness Units. IBUs are a universal scale to gauge the level of bitterness in a beer (via Craft Beer & Brewing). Sunny Little Thing has a lower level of hops with just 10 IBUs. Typically, anything over 50 or 60 IBUs will have that soapy IPA taste that people sometimes complain about. 

Sunny Little Thing is a part of Sierra Nevada's "Little Things" lineup, and it might be the most universally palatable of the pack of four. The flavor is almost a blend of a wheat ale and an orange soda, while still tasting like a beer. "Doesn't taste or smell like cough medicine which is a complaint I have about a lot of fruited-up beers," one Beer Advocate user wrote in a review. "Definitely a winner, especially for the 'I don't like IPAs' crowd.'" 

Societe Brewing Company Light Beer

Societe Brewing Company in San Diego, California has a no-nonsense beer that is a step up from the domestic mass-produced light beers that mostly taste like water and disappointment. It's such a stellar option that they kept the name simple — Light Beer. Light Beer is a 4.5% ABV lager that is crisp, refreshing, and almost too easy to get down. It's meant to be drank as a reward for a day of yard work well done, or as a low-key partner to a hearty backyard barbecue meal. 

Societe Light Beer has just the slightest bit of hops to keep it interesting, but it ultimately taste like a perfectly-executed generic light beer with just the right amount of bubbles. As one Untappd user wrote in a review, it's boring, but it's supposed to be. "Solid. 'Exactly what it says on the tin.' A light beer done well," the review reads. 

21st Amendment Brewery El Sully Mexican-style lager

21st Amendment Brewery from San Leandro, California, has a line-up full of beers even the biggest skeptics will like. A crowd-pleasing can is the company's Mexican-style lager, El Sully, which contains 4.8% ABV and just 19 IBUs. It has a lot of earthy elements that pair well with its bright and refreshing flavor. The bitterness is low and the smoothness is high, making it an easy replacement for your typical Corona or Modelo. 

El Sully is one of those beers that tastes even better with a squeeze of lime juice in it, but it doesn't require the added acid to accentuate the full flavors hidden within this aesthetically-pleasing can. "This delivered exactly what I'm looking for, a subtle and simple Mexican lager," one Beer Advocate user wrote in a review. "It has the simple profile of an adjunct but you can tell all the ingredients are top notch quality. A true session lager."

Lindemans Kriek lambic beer

Some people can't get enough of fruit beers, which is why trying a lambic beer brewed with bright and fresh ingredients should be on your list. Lindemans has been brewing since 1822 in Belgium, and offers a variety of lambic beers worth trying out that show off that legacy. Lindemans Kriek is brewed with whole cherries, resulting in a bright read brew that is tangy and sweet. It's fermented twice, once for flavor and then again to add bubbles. 

Lindemans Kriek, which contains 7% ABV, has been on the market since 1961, so it's stood the test of time as a beer that never gets old. If you have yet to try a bottle, it's time to expand your horizons. Reviews on Beer Advocate assure those who are nervous that while the beer is on the sweeter side, it isn't overwhelming or one-note. "This one is all cherry from start to finish on the nose and also on the palate. Not too sour, not too sweet, not too puckering, it hits right in the sweet spot (IMO) without being too overbearing or too underwhelming," one review reads. 

Redhook Brewery Lagersquatch lager

Sometimes you just want a beer that tastes like beer. Luckily, Redhook Brewery in Seattle, Washington, created Lagersquatch, a lager that is far more tame than the elusive Bigfoot. This beer contains 5% ABV and 24 IBUs, so it's slightly more bitter than some of the other options, but the hops are still mostly in the background. It's crispness is the stand-out, followed by a malty smooth finish that can only come from brewers who know what they're doing. And Redhook's been a Seattle-staple since the 1980s so that should tell you something. 

The wildest thing about this beer is its imaginative Bigfoot concept, complete with an Instagram-worthy can design that might tempt you alone to buy a pack. Otherwise, it's a straightforward beer that you could probably find yourself drinking on a regular basis without ever getting sick of it. "Very full for a lager with consistent and smooth malt," one Untappd user wrote in a review of the can. 

Widmer Brothers Brewing Hefe

Hefeweizen is classically a German wheat beer that is known for being light golden in its appearance and thirst-quenching in its flavor. Widmer Brothers pride themselves on making the Original American Hefeweizen, which can probably be disputed, but doesn't diminish the fact that Hefe is a well-rounded beer worth buying at least once. It has the cloudy body you expect from a Hefeweizen, with notes of citrus fruits and bananas standing out among the flavor of yeasty fresh-baked biscuits. It's another light option, containing 4.9 % ABV and 26 IBUs, so it's something solid to have in your fridge whenever the mood for a refreshing beer strikes. 

Reviews on Beer Advocate point out that it channels a traditional Hefeweizen without a yeast-heavy aftertaste that is sometimes common in the variety. "It's light on the palate with some staying power and extremely easy to drink. An excellent Germanic American Hefeweizen example," one review for Hefe reads. 

Jackie O's Brewery Razz Wheat ale

Raspberry wheat ale is honestly a great way to convert anyone who claims they hate beer into a beer drinker. Brewed in southern Ohio, Jackie O's Brewery has a near perfect rendition of this expression with its Razz Wheat ale.  It's hard to not like something that is so fruity and refreshing. By the time you realize it is actually a 5.5% ABV craft beer, you've probably already downed half the can. Razz Wheat has just the right amount of distinct berry flavor without feeling bogged down by sugar while still maintaining a hazy malt quality. 

This Jackie O's beer wins you over before you even take a sip. The can design is artistic and playful like the rosy brew inside. Then, the smell of fresh raspberries and grassy wheat is so tantalizing that anyone standing near you will likely ask what you're drinking that smells so delicious. "It's a tasty Saturday afternoon beer in the summer," one Beer Advocate user wrote in a review of Razz Wheat. 

Wicked Weed Brewing Coastal Love hazy IPA

Wicked Weed Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina, is definitely a destination-worthy spot for beer lovers with an impressive lineup that makes it hard to pick a favorite. If you're steering away from anything too hoppy, Wicked Weed's Coastal Love is the hazy IPA for you. Hazy IPAs, also referred to as New England IPAs, are cloudy beers that tend to have prominent acidic citrus flavors rather than bitter hops. Coastal Love contains 6.3% ABV and is a prime example of why juicy hazy IPAs should not be thrown in the same category as their hoppy counterparts (via Beverage Factory). "A great beach IPA. Love the taste. Very citrus front flavor with mild hoppiness on the back," one Untappd user wrote in a review of the brew. 

Coastal Love is also a drink that goes hand-in-hand with charity work. A portion of the proceeds from this can are donated to hurricane relief efforts in the southeastern U.S., so its a beer you can really feel good about treating yourself to. 

Breckenridge Brewery Avalanche amber ale

We've included plenty of options for lighter beers on this list, but Breckenridge Brewery's Avalanche Amber Ale is a lesson in balance and complex flavor. The Colorado beer is caramel in color and taste, has a subtle and smooth mouthfeel, and features sweet notes of chocolate and toffee. Avalanche Amber Ale has more of a full body than some of the lighter lagers and pilsners on the list, but it isn't so overwhelming that it feels like a heavy craft beer that you can't finish before it gets warm and unappetizing.

It's a 5 % ABV ale with just 19 IBUs, with a clean flavor that goes well with plenty of meals and activities. "If you just want a solid beer that pairs well with a ton of things and almost everyone who enjoys beer will like, grab Avalanche," one Drizly customer wrote in a review of the brew. 

Odell Brewing 90 Shilling amber ale

Another flavorful amber ale with only a mild hint of hops is the 90 Shilling Ale, which also happens to be the flagship beer at Odell Brewing. Both the brewery and the 5.3% ABV amber ale have been around since the 1980s and have stood the test of time for their quality. 

90 Shilling is a complex beer that keeps it simple with a deep caramel flavor and medium body that isn't too heavy. The hops are on the lower end — 32 IBUs, if you're starting to take notice of this helpful scale. In general, it's one of those beers that's refreshing in the summer, warms you up in the cold weather, and is good to drink in almost any situation. "One of the first craft beers I was ever exposed to. First time in nearly 20 years having a pour. Definitely more mild than I remember it, but times [have] certainly changed," one Beer Advocate user wrote in a review of 90 Shilling. 

Karbach Yule Shoot Your Eye Out red ale

Even when the weather cools down and the heavier beers become a more popular drink of choice, that doesn't mean you have to suffer with hoppy craft beers that don't satisfy your palate. Karbach Brewery in Houston, Texas, has a seasonal red ale brewed with oranges that screams Christmas. It's a can cleverly named Yule Shoot Your Eye Out, and it's only available from October to December, so there's even more of a reason to seek out this elusive brew. 

Yule Shoot Your Eye Out smells and tastes like the holiday season. Its slightly spicy, sweet, and malty, and has a nice citrus kick to round it out. It also only has 18 IBUs, so the bitter notes really take a back seat to everything else that's going on inside this can. It contains a solid 5.6% ABV, so it will have you feeling buzzed without feeling too full. "A mildly spicy malt with just a touch of roast," one Untappd user wrote in a review, adding that "it's an easy drinking Irish red." 

Untold Brewing Seatown lager

Back to the lighter options on the list, Untold Brewing, near the southern shore of Massachusetts, is brewing up a pilsner-style lager that is as refreshing as lemonade in the summertime. Untold's Seatown is a mild lager with a lower ABV of 4.2%. Its eye-catching golden hue resembles the sunset on its can, and the taste is crisp with notes of lemon and black pepper peaking their heads in through the smoothness. 

Seatown is Untold's year-round house lager because it truly is one of those crutch beers to order when nothing else sounds good and you want something reliably refreshing. The brewery actually introduced it in 2020 after crafting six experimental lagers, taking the best parts of each one, and creating one brew that channels the salty sea air (via Instagram). "Crispy, bready, clean, well done lager," one Untappd user wrote in a review of the can. 

Ballast Point Brewing California Kölsch

Ballast Point Brewing in San Diego, California, is another must-visit brewery for beer lovers, so the city itself should probably be on your travel bucket list. However, sampling the brand's extensive list of brews is the next best thing to visiting the brewpub in real life. A great place to start is Ballast Point's flagship beer, the California Kölsch. It's well-rounded beer with 5.2% ABV and 23 IBUs. The brewery uses the traditional German Kölsch style with their own U.S. twist, which is best exemplified in the blend of American and Munich malts.

California Kölsch is a smooth, yet malty brew with the lightness of a lager but the complexity of a heavier craft beer. It has complimentary notes of fruit, florals, and spice that are just prominent enough to keep it interesting, while the Kölsch remains extremely drinkable and mellow. "Best beer you guys make," one customer wrote on Ballast Point Brewing's Instagram page. 

Devil's Backbone Beware The Haze hazy IPA

If you're looking for something with a little more booze, look no further than Devil's Backbone Brewing Company's Beware The Haze. It's a 6.5% ABV hazy IPA, meaning that it still has that distinct robust craft beer flavor, minus the bitterness. This beer is from Lexington, Virginia, but it is riddled with tropical flavors, with prominent notes of grapefruit, tangerines, mangos, and strawberries. It has the smooth mouthfeel of a hazy IPA without being too creamy. 

Beware The Haze actually one of the newer brews in Devil's Backbone's lineup, as part of the company's Buck Tradition IPA series. It may not have the longevity, but it's a tasty beverage to impress the beer experts in your life. It's a perfect can to show off and humbly brag that you discovered this tasty brew first. "Light-ish body. Slightly malty, little citrus. Hops are there, but mellow," one Untappd user wrote in a review of Beware The Haze. 

Pizza Port Brewing Company California Honey blonde ale

Southern California has no shortage of must-try craft beers, including one using local honey from Pizza Port Brewing Company. Pizza Port's California Honey Blonde Ale is a common sight on the brewery's tap list because it's a blonde ale that's a love letter to its home. The brewery started as a pizza parlor — and still serves up tasty pies to its patrons — before stumbling into the craft beer scene in the early 1990s. Pizza Port Brewing hasn't looked back since and has plenty of delicious craft beers to show for it. 

California Honey Blonde Ale is slightly sweet from the honey, but smooth and light. It has just 4.8% ABV, making it an easy drinker that should be a staple in your beer fridge. "I've never been a fan of IPAs because I don't care for the aftertaste, but this has that rich flavor of an IPA without the 'soapiness,'" one BevMo customer wrote in a review of the can, adding that it's "faintly sweet without being too heavy."

BrewDog Cold Beer golden ale

Ohio-based brewery, BrewDog, knows that when the weather is burning hot and you're just in need of something cold to drink, it's best to keep it simple. They embody that spirit with their crisp golden ale promptly called Cold Beer. It's a 4.7% ABV golden ale that is low on hops and high on crushability. It's a little oaky, but far less than some of the other options on the list. It contains subtle notes of grass and citrus fruits, but no singular flavor stands out from the rest. 

Cold Beer is one of those no-brainer options to have on hand for warm weather activities, making it a must-try if it's a new-to-you brew. "The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink with good grain," one Beer Advocate user wrote in a review, adding "the mouthfeel was lighter in body with good carbonation. Overall it is a great beer."

Big Sky Brewing Company Moose Drool brown Ale

Big Sky Brewing Company's signature brown ale might not have the most appetizing name, but the contents inside the can represent exactly what makes the Missoula, Montana-based brewery such a standout. Moose Drool is an American brown ale that features a specific blend of malts that give it a distinct brown color and a rich flavor to match.

Moose Drool a 5% ABV ale with just 26 IBUs, so the bitterness is a bit of an afterthought with this can. A malty mouthfeel is the most distinguishable characteristic of this dark ale, but it is still refreshing and easy to finish a tall can before it reaches room temperature. "Hard to find a good brown ale nowadays. This is one that was good back years ago and remains," one RateBeer user wrote in a review of Moose Drool, adding, "solid, quaffable, just damn good." 

Green Flash Brewing Company GFB blonde ale

One major takeaway from this list, aside from the fact that not all craft beers are insanely hoppy, is that when a simple beer is executed perfectly there are very few things that are more satisfying. Another example of this phenomenon is a blonde ale from the San Diego area. From the brewers at Green Flash Brewing Company, the GFB Blonde Ale is as mellow and chill as you're probably trying to be by the time you finish the can. 

GFB Blonde Ale contains 4.8% ABV and just 15 IBUs, meaning it's crisp and bright. It has notes of honey and citrus fruits and a clean finish that will have you salivating for another sip. "Very much what I expect in a blonde ale. Light tasting and easy drinking," one Beer Advocate user wrote in a review. "Not the sexiest green flash beer, but is well crafted," they added.