Top Rated Cream Ales
American Cream Ales
Cream Ale is one of those styles that can perplex people. Unlike a Milk Stout or Cream Stout, which are brewed with lactose (milk sugar), Cream Ales are named for having a soft malt profile, mellow flavors, low bitterness, and for being brewed with flaked grains, which add a creamy texture to the body of the beer.
The style originated decades ago, as a way for ale brewers to compete with a growing market of lager drinkers, who were looking for very clean and crisp flavors.
Cream ales have characteristics of both ales and lagers. They are fermented at cooler temperatures, which restrain fruity yeast notes, and create crisp flavors, similar to a lager. Alcohol levels are moderate and hop bitterness is low. Cream ales are smooth and easy to drink, with flavors of mildly sweet malt and just a touch of bitterness for balance.
There has been a recent resurgence in the style, as craft brewers look to expand their portfolio beyond intensely hoppy and big malty beer styles. Don’t expect to be blown away by intense or exotic flavors, Cream Ales are generally mild, and qualify as nice easy drinking, session-style ales. Several craft brewed versions are available around the country. Some of our top picks are listed below.
Sixpoint Brewery Sweet Action (5.3%, 34 IBUs)
Notes of floral hops and sweet malt. Smooth and creamy with moderate bitterness, but on the high-end of bitterness for the style. The beer is available year round in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans. View Ratings
Anderson Valley Summer Solstice (5.0%, 6 IBUs)
Sweet caramel malt, with a touch of butterscotch. Smooth and creamy with very low bitterness. Brewed with two types of crystal malts. A spring/summer seasonal release. View Ratings
New Glarus Spotted Cow (4.8%)
Aromas of sweet malt and mild floral hops. Brewed with Flaked Barley which adds to the creamy texture of the beer. Available year round, and a top selling draft beer in the state of Wisconsin, where the brewery resides. View Ratings
Terrapin Golden Ale (5.3%, 21 IBUs)
Aromas of sweet toasted malt and mild floral hops. Brewed with five malts, including Flaked Barley which adds to the creamy texture of the beer. Moderately low bitterness. View Ratings
Ninkasi Brewing Nuptiale Cream Ae (5.7%, 26 IBUs)
Sweet malt and fruity hops upfront. Medium-bodied with notes of sweet toasted malt. Brewed with four malts, including Flaked Barley which adds to the creamy texture of the beer. Moderately low bitterness. View Ratings
Infamous Brewing Hijack Cream Ale (5.5%)
Aromas of mild sweet malt and floral hops. Medium-bodied with a soft, creamy malt texture, and moderately low hop bitterness. Available in the Austin, Texas area. View Ratings
Pelican Pub & Brewery Kiwanda Cream Ale (5.4%, 25 IBUs)
Brewed on the Oregon Coast. Soft and creamy with notes of sweet malt and floral hops. Award winning beer. View Ratings
Foothills Brewing Carolina Blonde (3.8%, 12 IBUs)
Low in alcohol and hop bitterness. Light-bodied and smooth, easy to drink, with a soft creamy malt body. View Ratings
Alameda Brewing Bad Bunny Cream Ale (8.2%, 33 IBUs)
Technically a Double Cream Ale. Aromas of sweet malt and floral hops. Medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and moderate bitterness. Brewed with Flaked Maize, which adds to the creaminess. Available seasonally in the Portland, Oregon area. View Ratings