I hue pretty close to the easy cold beer line generally [miller_time -ed] but a comment by Vince over at ACL made a decent point ("There are countless numbers of American craft brewers who break their backs making amazing products for a low profit, simply because they love their work. Sound familiar?").
Not to overstate it, but the adherence to the High Life on 10engines overarches a lot of my feelings towards 1950's Americana/old-manishness/cue-shawshank-bucket-of-suds, and I genuinely prefer MHL's highly carbonated crispness to at least all the other usual contenders. Again, I don't want to overthink drinking a cold one... and like your best buddy who makes beer that is technically drinkable, not all the small brewers churn out great stuff... That seems a key point, some of the smaller batch beers are simply hard work. Philistine? Guilty then.
Moving on; gave this regional (only available in MA) brew a spin last night and can enthusiastically say it ticked all the boxes. The Mayflower Brewing Company's Pale Ale was not as red as it looks in the picture and reminded me of a lighter weight Long Trail Ale (saying that with 2 thumbs up), and fired up thoughts of apres ski (in a good way.)
It combines a slightly sweet and toasted malt quality from caramel malt with floral and citrusy aromas from the finest quality English and American-grown hops. The result is a well-balanced, highly drinkable ale.
-via Mayflower Brewing
Packaging not too cutesy or too modern, and the Plymouth, MA brewing company is leveraging a bit of history by noting that the 1620 Mayflower pilgrims travelled with hundreds of barrels of beer for sustenance. Take it up a notch by drinking it from mugs earned at The Newes (one of the oldest buildings on Martha's Vineyard).
Long/short this Pale Ale was v. enjoyable, and not heavy going as many indy brews tend to be. If you are a crafty beer type you can read the better informed Beer Advocate tasting notes here.