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Mile High Boozing: The Five Best Airlines For In-Flight Beers

April 20, 2010 at 10:15 AM | by | ()

In-flight cocktails are always a good choice when you get your in-flight boozing on, but sometimes something with a little carbonization and fermentation is what you really need. That’s why we took some time to see what’s on tap up in the air. In-flight lagers and ales might not be as sweet and tasty as some other beverage options, but they compliment the free peanuts and pretzels better than a margarita, that's for sure. Here’s our list of the best suds in the sky and the airlines where you can find them:

· Alaska Airlines
The airline dedicated to The Last Frontier State flies to way more locations than just Alaska, but their in-flight beverage selection brings a little bit of Alaska elsewhere within the nifty fifty. Besides the typical offerings of Budweiser and Miller Lite the airline also will be happy to pour you a glass of Alaskan Amber. The beer is from the Alaskan Brewing Company, and it’s an alt-style beer brewed with water from glaciers outside of Juneau. If you’re going somewhere a little warmer on Alaska Airlines—like Hawaii—they fill up the beverage cart with Longboard Island Lager from Kona Brewing Company. Either option will set you back $6 and will get you into the proper state of mind en route to a new time zone.

More boastin' and in-flight toastin' after the jump...

· Virgin America
They haven’t announced the availability of in-flight Molson or Labatt to correspond with their new destinations north of the border, but Virgin America has way more options than most airlines. They have the traditional favorites like Heineken and Bud Light, but there are also options from Black Star Beer and Gordon Biersch that put them ahead of the competition. We’re big hop-heads, so our pick for a beer aboard Virgin America has got to be Brew Free or Die IPA from 21st Amendment Brewery. Not only are there six different varieties of hops to wake you up, but the higher alcohol content—7.0% by volume—will help you talk to that cutie in 17A on the in-flight messaging system.

· Continental Airlines
Most legacy carriers within the United States are lacking in the beer department, but Continental knows that people don’t just want wine all the time. Unfortunately, you are going to need to go a somewhere a little more exotic than Newark Airport to experience some of the airline’s best options. On domestic flights Corona, Heineken, and Miller Lite are the usual options. However, if you’re headed to Asia, Ashai, Tsing Tao, and Yanjing all become possibilities for an in-flight sudsy selection. They even stock the plane with Goldstar on flights from Israel back to the United States. This pale lager is Kosher, of course.

· Porter Airlines
The little airline with the big reputation gets on our list because their in-flight beer is free for everyone. They could probably offer Pabst Blue Ribbon and still make our list, but thankfully they do not. Located right by their home base in Toronto is Steam Whistle Brewing Company, and the brewery has teamed up with the airline to serve Steam Whistle’s Premium Pilsner up in the air. We’ve visited the brewery in Toronto—it’s inside an old railroad roundhouse and were impressed. The beer is golden in color and has a pretty balanced taste, but it’s not their only option. Porter also hauls options from Alexander Keith’s Brewery in Nova Scotia including an IPA option. It isn’t as bitter as some of its IPA beer brethren, so it’s a good choice if you’re looking to have more than just one.

· Lufthansa Airlines
The German airline was one of our picks for best in-flight cocktails, and they’re also on our list for best beers. After all, the largest airline in Germany—a country famous for beer—probably knows a thing or to about malt, hops, and barley. Unfortunately, Lufthansa seems to focus a little too much on fancy wine pairings, but there are a few German beers to help you get through your flight. There are usually a few options from Warsteiner Brewery. All of their beers are brewed according to the guidelines set forth in the Germany Purity Law of 1516; so any of their options should be a safe choice.

This will be a running series, so be sure to let us know below (or send an email) and divulge your favorite drinks in the sky!

Related Stories:
· Mile High Boozing: The Five Best In-Flight Cocktails [Jaunted]
· Lufthansa Makes Dreams Come True By Putting Biergarten in Munich Airport [Jaunted]
· Drinking Travel coverage [Jaunted]

[Photos: Danielle Scott, Jaunted, hildgrim]

Archived Comments:

Here's to good beer on the plane!

We fly Alaska a lot and completely agree that they have a good selection of beers. Their sister airline Horizon Air deserves a huge shout out as well... they feature NW microbrews and wines free of charge on all of their flights (#beerplane). Cheers!

Nothing like a cold one to melt away the anxiety

I'm definitely going to remember this when I fly these airlines. A nice cold beer really helps ease away my flight stress, but who wants to sip on a room temperature Bud light?