6 Craft Beers Every Cocktail Girl Has to Try

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After working behind the bar of a Brooklyn gastropub, I've heard it all, when it comes to beer—and dealt with plenty of condescension for not looking like a member of the club (read: a bearded man).

But women can love beer too, and with the craft beer trend on the rise, what better time to trade your cocktail for a bottle? Here, a guide to what you'll like most based on your signature drink.

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(Image credit: Design by Jennifer Baumgardner)

A G&T is the perfect sophisticated food pairing: light and crisp enough to keep your mouth watering, but full-flavored enough to bring something of its own to the table. Similarly, a saison—a type of beer that originated in the farmhouses of southern Belgium—is light in color, often highly carbonated, and full of floral and herbaceous flavors that evoke nature and the countryside. Who knew beer could be so quaint?

Try:  Pretty Things Jack D'Or, Stillwater Artisanal Cellar Door, or Boulevard Brewing Company Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale

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(Image credit: Design by Jennifer Baumgardner)

If you're craving the daiquiris of summer, try a hefeweizen. This German-style wheat beer has a bright, golden hue, reminiscent of sunshine, and is perfect for day drinking. But don't let their light color deceive you: Hefeweizens are full-bodied beers that line your mouth with a creamy, robust fruit flavor that many people compare to banana. Day drinking may quickly lead to a lazy snooze.

Try:  Ayinger Bräuweiss, Weihenstephan Weissbier, or Schneider Weiss Original

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The best old fashioneds are simple—good whiskey brought to temperature with a hint of sugar and a spritz of orange. Likewise, a great IPA is the salt of the earth, full of flavors that are big but familiar as though they're dug straight from the ground or picked from a tree. Old fashioneds and IPAs are both associated with autumn and indeed resemble the ambient browns and oranges of the changing leaves. Sipping them gives you a kick of warmth, but not so much so that you'll be ready to hibernate.

Try:  Hill Farmstead Harlan IPA, Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, Alesmith IPA

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The hip obscurity of the beer style gose (pronounced "GOES-uh") is not an obvious match for the mass appeal of a margarita. But the gose—light, crisp, slighty sour, and salty—is in many ways a margarita's flavor twin. Often low in alcohol content and perfectly sweet and savory, a gose is the perfect choice to pair with food or simply drink on its own as an aperitif. And like a margarita, its crisp, clean finish will keep you coming back for more without feeling full, which may or may not be a good thing.

Try:  Westbrook Gose, Grimm Artisanal Super Symmetry, Off Color Brewing Troublesome

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The Everyman's vodka soda is to cocktails what a lager is to beer. But just as the vodka industry has exploded lately with sophisticated brands that put the vodkas of our youth to shame, so too can a pale lager be more than what once filled our solo cups. If you're going basic to avoid risk at a shabby or expensive spot, there are ways to do so with lagers that don't completely sacrifice taste, like choosing a Mexican brand such as Tecate or Pacifico; but otherwise, today's craft brewers have introduced their own options that take the style way beyond the dive bar.

Try:  Stillwater Contemporary Works Yacht, Thirsty Dog Labrador Lager, Full Sail Brewery Session Lager

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When the weather gets cold, nothing hits the spot quite like a Manhattan. Boozy but wintry sweet with baking-spice flavors, the cocktail is like an alcoholic chocolate chip cookie. Similarly, a dark porter is winter perfection. And while I personally prefer the drier takes on the classic style, porters run the gamut of flavors from coffee to chocolate to smoke to citrus, by turns bitter and creamy. Despite the wide range of their appeal, I believe porters and Manhattans are best when they follow a meal, as the cherry on top. Think of them as dessert or espresso—a late-night treat.

Try:  Maine Beer King Titus, Founders Porter, Stone Smoked Porter

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