Friday, August 25, 2006

On Beer

Stash over at the Spamwise Chronicles is a bit of a foodie. He posted recently that he's looking for some guidance on beer, and I thought I might as well put a little something up on the subject.

First off, if you are looking for someone to explain the different styles and methods of brewing, this isn't your post. There are lots of fine resources on teh internets for that information... this is more about my opinion of some different styles for a novice beer drinker (or someone who doesn't really have a taste for beer) to try.

On the megabreweries: I'm not a fan of American Megabrewed beer. I really don't like Bud (I think it's due to the rice used in the brewing process), and there are far better choices than Coors and Miller out there. That's not to say I'm a total beer snob when it comes to Big Beer. While the popular Light beers are never in my refrigerator, I've been known to buy a 12 of MGD for those hot Saturday afternoons spent washing the cars. (Mexican and Canadian big brewed beers like Molsen, Moosehead, Corona, etc all fall into this category as well).

My favorate everyday drinkable beer is by far Yuengling Lager. It's priced pretty much the same as the Buds and Coors, but it's far, far better. An excellent example of an American Lager. Drink it cold, have it on it's own, or with typical beer food (burgers, pizza, etc).

For a more interesting beer, move into the ale, and sample any number of IPAs, nut browns, English Ales, etc. For an IPA, give Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA a go. Sam Smith's Nut Brown is pricy, but well worth it. Bass Ale, while mainstream, is a pretty decent example of what an English Ale is going to be. (On Sam Smith's, pretty much everything they make is fantastic)

Want to try something a bit heavier? Go for a Stout or a Porter. I like pretty much any Irish Stout, and there are lots of fantastic microbrewed examples of both stouts and porters. For something different, have a Brooklyn Beer Black Chocolate Stout.

Speaking of different, there are a number of beers out there with fruit flavors brewed in. Lambics aren't for everyone, but they are the 'I don't drink beer' crowd's beer of choice. I also like Magic Hat #9, a fantastic sort of pale ale with an apricot flavor.

Back to Lagerland, I'm going to lump virtually all European Lagers into one batch. There are a host of excellent German, Czech, Polish, French, and Italian Lagers to try, some good, some not. Most have a tendancy to be very 'beer' like, so if you don't really like the 'beer' taste, you probably won't spend much time here. Pilsner Urquell is probably the best known in these parts, and certainly I would give it a try. I love it. Stella Artois is also in this category, and is one of the most overhyped, dissapointing beers I've ever had. It's really just not all that.

Wheat beers: I'm not a fan, just generally not to my liking... however, these, like Lambics, are often the beer choice of people who don't much like beer. Lots of examples out there, some more wheaty, some more citrusy. Give some a try. (I can't really recommend one since I don't like them much.)

Some others of note to try: Spaten Optimator (probably my favorite beer), Blackened Voodoo, Abita Turbo Dog, Sierra Nevada, Anchor Steam, and finally, find the brewery closest to you, and try everything they make.

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