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Walker Hayes’ Fancy Like Review

Walker Hayes’ Fancy Like

A refreshing, easy-drinking American Lager for sipping around a bonfire

NON-ALCOHOLIC

Tasting Notes

Nose

Some light hop spice, orange creamsicle

Palate

Medium body, a little bread, orange creamsicle, light marshmallow sweetness

Finish

Light to medium-light bitterness comes in after sweetness

By the Numbers

Calories

60 calories/12oz

Alcohol

<0.5% ABV (Non-Alcoholic)

Ingredients

Water, Malted Barley, Flaked Maize, Hops, Wheat, Yeast.

Do you ever feel like you want to spoil your NA beer game with an upgrade?

Athletic’s latest collaboration, a non-alcoholic American Pale brewed in collaboration with country singer/songwriter Walker Hayes, aims to be an easy-drinking crusher for slinging back in front of a bonfire while singing with your friends. So does it hit the spot like fries in a Frosty? Does it live up to the Fancy Like ethos? Should you give it a shot? Let’s find out.

First, WTF is an American Pale?

As with Athletic’s flagship Upside Dawn “Golden,” Fancy Like is assigned an ambiguous style, “American Pale.” While you may have heard of a Golden Lager, Golden Ale, American Lager (a type of Pale Lager), or an American Pale Ale, Athletic seems to prefer…”unique” style names that require a bit of guesswork to decipher. 

Now, as we’ve covered before, you have to give Athletic a little slack —  the Lager vs. Ale distinction doesn’t actually mean that much anymore. The current beer landscape is littered with so many cold ales and ale yeast lagers that it’s difficult to fully criticize anyone for abandoning the ale/lager terminology. However, “American Pale” feels more like a positive focus group response than anything else, and it’s not terribly clear what you should expect by name alone — an American Pale Ale is substantially different from an American Lager (a type of Pale Lager, as noted before). The packaging and branding do enough work to suggest the latter, in the vein of PBR/Narragansset. Even in the absence of a style name written on the can, you would be able to guess pretty well at what you’d expect. However, it still grinds my gears to eschew the ale/lager terms completely, even if they’re imperfect categories.

Athletic Fancy Like can.

What Does Fancy Like Taste Like

Walker Hayes’ brew begins with some light hop spice on the nose, followed by an orange creamsicle note that will consistently weave throughout. We then get a medium body that’s grippier than your typical PBR clone, but still fully refreshing. It brings a bit of white bread, orange creamsicle, and some light marshmallow sweetness, though it’s not devastatingly sweet. Thankfully, it avoids much of Athletic’s unfermented wort flavor, which typically comes through their beers with stronger malt character. The finish rounds things out with a light marshmallow sweetness, followed by a medium-light bitterness.

Is Athletic’s Fancy Like Any Good?

For all of my bluster over style, the substance here is good – I am overall pleased with Athletic & Walker Hayes’ Fancy Like. It’s a refreshing American Lager that stands up a little stronger than your Penn’s Best or Bud Zero, and it’s more crisp than much of Athletic’s regular lineup.

If you’re a fan of easy-going crushers, this beer is obviously made for you. However, I’m also going to give a curveball recommendation to a very specific type of person — if you’re a fan of Sam Adams’ Just the Haze, but you’re looking for something that dials the sweetness way down while taking a bite out of the body and fruit character, Fancy Like is for you. It makes me think of a can of Just the Haze that has mellowed out in its thirties, listening to dad rock, released from a youth of pop-punk and Mountain Dew. Try it.