But life isn't so simple for Joe Six-Pack anymore.
Picking a good brew used to be easy - there wasn't all that much of a choice. Now though, new beers seem to show up all the time, with new breweries opening one after another and sales of microbrews soaring.
So, how to you choose the right suds for every taste and every occasion?
On The Saturday Early Show, Food & Wine magazine Deputy Editor Ray Isle suggested the perfect beers for different occasions.
Microbrew beer: A hand-crafted beer brewed the old-fashioned way. Unlike some major breweries, four basic ingredients are used in microbrews: water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. In some cases, wheat and fruits may be added to create unique-tasting specialty beers. The beer is brewed in small batches to insure freshness and maximum quality.
How do you correctly pour a beer? Pour it down the side of the glass, holding the glass at a 45 degree angle; straighten it out at the end to get just a little foam.
WHAT TO SERVE FOR A TAILGATE PARTY
Find a great microbrew in a can: Butternuts Porkslap Pale Ale. People are expecting a standard can, but why not mix it up with this one from Butternuts Beer & Ale, at $7 for a six-pack?! Availability: www.butternutsbeerandale.com.
They also make a Hefeweizen and a Stout in cans. Or try a seasonal beer: This is really a popular time of year with pumpkins and Oktoberfests dominating the shelves. Try Smuttynose Brewing Company Pumpkin Ale ($10). For more info go to www.smuttynose.com.
WHAT TO SERVE AT A DINNER PARTY OR ORDER AT AN UPSCALE RESTAURANT
A beer that's great with all kinds of food: Victory Prima Pils ($9) is a pilsner with a clean-finish. More at www.victorybeer.com.
WHAT TO SERVE AT A POKER NIGHT WITH PIZZA
A great, refreshing beer with high hop content of an IPA makes them really zippy and intense, like Lagunitas Brewing Company IPA (West Coast, $7). The hoppy, citrusy India Pale Ales are higher in acid and cut through the fat of fried foods. They were originally created to survive the voyage from Britain to India, because hops are a natural preservative. Also try Goose Island Honkers Ale (for $10) at www.gooseisland.com.
A BEER IF YOU ARE WATCHING YOUR WEIGHT
One you'd never guess: Guinness. Guinness ($10) has fewer calories than Coors (125 vs 148 for a 12-ounce beer). In fact, it has just one more calorie per ounce than Miller Lite. Or, if you like to drink light beer, try Sam Adams Light Beer ($9). It's really quite flavorful.