Consumer Reports picks best beers: Samuel Adams, Stone IPA, Shock Top IPA tops

(WCPO) - Everybody knows the big-name beers, but there are more than 2,400 breweries in the United States alone, and most are craft brewers, which means they're small and independent.

Consumer Reports Magazine just sized up a couple dozen craft beers in time for your Fourth of July celebration.

Craft Beers Red Hot Right Now

Captain Lawrence Brewing Company prides itself on every bottle of beer it brews.

"Beer made at a craft brewery our size has soul, it has flavor, and it has an intensity of flavor that many large breweries just can't match," said Scott Vaccaro, Captain Lawrence Brewing Company.

How to find a good craft beer? Adam Kaplan and experts at Consumer Reports conducted blind taste tests of 23 ales and lagers and found there were some distinct differences.

One taster compared the lowest-rated ale, Magic Hat, to a peach-tea drink.

But Consumer Reports rated 13 craft beers very good or even excellent, including several India Pale Ales.

"India Pale Ales tend to be more floral and fruity than a lot of other beers, and they have an intense, lingering bitterness," said Adam Kaplan, Consumer Reports.

Top Rated Beers

Stone IPA is top-rated, with complex flavors- but its bitterness might be too much for some people- and so could the price, at nearly $11 for a six-pack.

For much less, $7.36 for a six-pack, Shock Top Wheat IPA is a Consumer Reports Best Buy. It's a little less bitter with a slight sweetness.

Prefer a lager? Samuel Adams Boston Lager came out on top with a range of malt and hops flavors. A six-pack goes for $8.60. Most of it sold in the Midwest is made in Cincinnati, not Boston.

All three are good choices when your thirst is brewing this summer.

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