Best Golf Beers, Ranked

After spending time in a pandemic, you start to learn the things you value most. A good beer. A nice round of golf.

In a pandemic, you also learn that beer and golf are only a few things you can enjoy. And you know what? That’s all I need right now.

Of course, any golfer worth their weight knows you can’t just drink anything on the golf course. No, much like a 30-yard flop shot or a 30-yard chunk shot with a five wood, selecting the right drink is an art form.

I’ll be ranking beers in terms of styles (since there’s no guarantee your golf course carries specific beers), so here we go.

1. The Lager

Oh, you crispy bois, how perfectly you pair with sunshine and the lowest level of exercise I can perform while still convincing myself I’ve exercised. With a low ABV and a clean taste, the lager does just enough to provide the confidence necessary to decide that yes, I can drive 250+ right down the middle. Thankfully, you can drink a few of these before your golf game takes a noticeable turn. 

In terms of which lager, something light that doesn’t make me feel too heavy to get out of the golf cart does the trick. I’m picking Heineken Silver for this, since it’s low calories and I legitimately like Heineken.

This is what it looks like for reference:

2. The IPA

We’re getting right into it here. If the lager isn’t stopping you from hyperfocusing on the speed of your backswing, an IPA is sure to make you forget you shot a triple bogey on that short par 4. With a higher ABV than your traditional lager, the IPA takes a little less to get saucy. Caution: the heavier weight could lead to beer-sloshing in your stomach, not so great when you’re lining up your approach. 

I’m going to go with…regional IPA. Something local. A little taste of what the golf course is made of.

3. The Pilsner

Yes, I could have grouped the mighty pilsner with the lager, but I didn’t for two reasons:

  1. Pilsners are a specific style that requires a little more effort than other lagers. Therefore, pilsners are best enjoyed when you can appreciate the subtle notes.
  2. I don’t like grouping lagers and pilsners together.

Regardless, I’d have a pilsner while golfing no problem. Specifically, I’d have Pilsner Urquell, but they don’t really sell that at many golf courses. Oh well.

4. The Pale Ale

Stronger than the lager but weaker than the IPA, the pale ale might be the best “all-around” golf beer. Not too high of an ABV, not too many IBUs, not so malty, good flavor, and so on. However, like a well-rounded golf game, the pale ale lacks excitement. We’d all rather see someone hit chip-ins and monster putts while getting stuck in the sand for four consecutive shots. It’s more entertaining, and the pale ale doesn’t do it.

My pale ale pick: .394 from Alesmith, a San Diego classic.

Also Good For Golf: Low Calorie Beers That Don’t Suck

5. The Stout

Now we’re getting into it. Picture yourself at noon on a Saturday, 80 degrees, sun beating down, 9 holes in. What do you drink? Definitely not a stout. A stout in the sun sounds punishing enough, but a stout while walking, swinging, driving, and putting in the sun sounds like hell. Of course, I’d take a stout during golf over any of the following beers.

My pick is Guinness, which is pretty much as light as stouts get. Outside of that, I might just golf sober. And this is where my beer picks end, so buckle up.

6. The Sour

I’ve never slammed sours on the golf course, but I imagine one of two things happening:

  1. The sour perfectly complements my being, elevating my game to god-like levels. 30-foot putts, perfectly placed second shots, greening every par 3 with honest to goodness birdie opportunities.
  2. I get acid reflux and struggle through the full 18.

My money’s on the latter.

7. The Lambic

Ooooooh boy, if we thought sour beers during golf would be rough (no pun intended), then this fringe (pun intended) beer style might show us that things get worse than the rough. Maybe your ball lands just shy of the water in thick grass, forcing you to hike up those cargo shorts and wade into still water teeming with bugs. Maybe your ball bounces off a tree into a pile of pinecones, forcing you to rethink your life. 

Could good things happen while drinking a lambic on the golf course? Sure, I guess. Do you want to be the person drinking a 3 Fonteinen at a public golf course when the group behind you is blasting Journey’s “Don’t’ Stop Believin'” out of a shitty Bluetooth speaker? No.

8. The Barleywine

If you want to dabble with barleywine on the golf course, you’re better off skipping the beer and moving on to Jameson. Take all the negative aspects of a stout during golf and combine them with all the negative aspects of an IPA during golf. Now double it. Double it again. 

Then again, I’ve never tried barleywine on the golf course. Like literally anything during golf, it could distract you from sub-par play (or way over par play) and make your day a little better. 

But I’m not eager to try. 

Thomas Short
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