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Research by the Nielsen Company shows that the Fourth of July is the U.S. holiday with the largest beer sales by volume each year. Since July 4th is our country’s Independence Day, it seems fitting to celebrate with beer that is made in the United States. Drink up, patriots!

The Lagerheads would like to take it one step further and say the best way to celebrate is with American craft beer, meaning beer that is made by breweries that sell less than two million barrels a year. Why should size matter? Small craft beer producers pride themselves in using fresh quality ingredients to make the beer they are passionate about. They don’t use flavor-thinning, cost-cutting ingredients like rice and corn.

If you are going to be pounding beer all weekend, it might as well taste like something. Below are a couple high-quality craft substitutes for those American lagers that taste like beer (think Budweiser, PBR, etc.), but miss the mark when compared to authentic versions of the same style. Our list includes versions of Czech Pilsners and gold lagers, which are the styles brewers at the large companies that are now Anheuser Busch-InBev and MillerCoors originally set out to emulate. These beers are light and refreshing but still flavorful, and made with 100% malt instead of a mix of malt and other inferior grains. They are easy to find at local stores and perfect for session drinking on a summer holiday weekend.

Last year WCP’s very own Beerspotter made some excellent suggestions for American craft beers to try in lieu of popular imports like Guinness, Newcastle, and Chimay. Be sure to check out his list for additional guidance on a variety of beer styles.

Photo by uhuru1701 used under a Creative Common license

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