Beer of the Week: Genesee Cream Ale

The perfect can of Genny always foams over when you crack it open.
The perfect can of Genny always foams over when you crack it open.
John Linn

Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Clean Plate Charlie

will select one craft or import beer and give you the lowdown on it:

How does it taste? What should you drink it with? Where can you find

it? But mostly, it's all about the love of the brew. If you have a beer

you'd like featured in Beer of the Week, let us know via a comment.

The first time I had a can of Genny Cream I was in upstate New York visiting Danielle's family.

Her dad and his brother had just returned to their family farm where we were staying with two twelve packs of Genny (pronounced "Jenny") tucked under their arms. Danielle's uncle, Don, snapped open the card board case and pushed a few cans of Genny into the snow just outside the front door. No need for a fridge when it's twenty degrees out.

In the mean time, Don passed out cans to the rest of us like he was

giving out lollipops. I lifted the tab on the top of the can and it

hissed and gurgled, spraying an airy, creamy head up over the lip. Of

course, I did what anyone does when a can of beer foams over. I brought

it to my mouth as fast as possible. To keep the foam off the floor, of


The Genny was tart and thick in the same way a cream soda is. It lent

itself to big gulps -- not slow sips -- which made me realize why the

Flemings had picked up two twelve packs even though only four of us

were drinking beer. (The rest were sipping on homemade elderberry wine

and glasses of cheap red.) As I killed the can, I felt the hollow

aluminum crinkle under my hand. Time for another.

Genny Cream is the sort of old-school beer that you drink with good old

boys or your closest family. It's one of the only beers from a can that

I actually enjoy straight from the can -- pouring it into a glass is

sheer blasphemy, anyway. While it's one of those cheap, gas station

beers like Schlitz and PBR in upstate New York (it hales from

Rochester), down here it's a specialty find. But you can get it in

individual cans at ABC Liquors.

The brew itself is hoppy and tangy, with that slight lager funk that

any light beer from a can has. But it has a warming alcohol quality and

a head that just doesn't stop foaming. It tastes like how I thought to

beer from Cheers would taste when I watched episodes as a kid: sweet

and frothy. It's the kind of beer you steal sips of from your Dad's can

-- no surprise, that's one of the themes of Genny Cream's website. Despite its blue-collar appeal, Genny is a beer with a fine pedigree:

It won a gold medal at the 2002 Great American Beer Festival in the

Lager/Cream Ale category.

Though I'm a huge craft beer fan and enjoy the complex brews most of

all, there's still an occasion for a beer in a can. Sitting on the

porch with family. A day in the sun (or snow), culminating with a

barbecue. Watching a football game on and old TV. For those instances,

Genny Cream would be my choice every time.

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