Beer. The world’s oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic beverage
(thanks wikipedia). Some hate it, some love it, and some weep at the realization that a local seven eleven is supplying a night of unexpected quality (thank you seven eleven for steering away from your affordable yet flavorless beers of past). I am obviously the latter. A self proclaimed “beer snob.” Of course I realize that tastes differ so I try not to be too hard on the average American beer drinker. But the days of Coors, Miller, and Budweiser ruling as the mainstays of beer are drawing to a close. Now I see beer drinking going the way of fine wine. With thousands of breweries across the nation, people will start shopping for types of beer instead of brands, giving large bottles of hard-to-get and well renowned beer as gifts. A walk down a well stocked beer aisle can be just as culturally stimulating and wallet draining as most
wine aisles (almost). We don’t have a four story beer tower holding almost 10,000 bottles. Yet. But there are options. Hundreds of options. Even local grocery stores are branching into micro brew territory. It pains me to watch
people debate a beer decision while only looking at the far end of the aisle. Branch out! At first it might seem too bitter, or too strong. But with the amount of choices, you’re sure to find at least one NEW beer to drink. And that usually leads to another, and then in no time you’re in a whole new world of flavors and choices.
So here’s a short(ish) list of beers that I can personally recommend. Some light, some dark, some just plain mean. And a hint for sampling beer. Drink more than one sip. A lot of times I try a beer with one sip and its always different after two or three. Especially if you’re in the middle of drinking something else.
For branching out from fizzy yellow beers-
- Sierra pale ale. It’s my go-to light beer. Not too expensive, not too strong. But a great amount of hoppy flavor
- Fat Tire Amber Ale. A great amber beer. Again, its not gonna knock you out with taste but it’s really good. This was my kick start into the world of good beer.
- Blue moon. Not one of my personal favorites but it seems a lot of light beer drinkers go to this for a change. Its a Belgian white so don’t be alarmed by the cloudy appearance. And try a slice of orange in it.
- Pyramid Hefeweizen. I may get bashed by fellow snobs. But I think this is one of the better Hefeweizens out. Inexpensive and available at local grocery stores. A slice of lemon and its a great fresh beer. Good with fish, like grilled salmon.
- Newcastle. I know I know. I think 90% of the US population hates this beer but I like it. Especially after a few days. Personally I like to buy it and let it skunk up a bit in the fridge before drinking. It’s just TOO smooth when it’s fresh. But that’s just me.
And on to the slightly stronger beers (aka The STONE section).
And I don’t mean stronger in any real way except light beer drinkers tend to not like them right away.
- STONE PALE ALE (my absolute favorite) Its a pale, light beer, with an amazing amount of hoppy flavor. HOPS is a flower used in beer as a bittering agent. And the bitterness in beer is measured in IBU scale. International Bittering Units. So a normal bud light kind of beer is maybe 8-12 IBUs. Stone Pale is 41 IBUs.
- Mirror Pond from Deschutes Brewery. 40 IBUs. So tasty.
- Black Butte Porter, another deschutes beer. This one is dark and smokey and delicious.
- STONE Levitation. This one is a bit friendlier on the alcohol level. 4.4% so more drinkable than the rest Stone has to offer.
- STONE IPA. Well color me delicious. It’s got more hops than needed and its just scratching the surface. FYI Drink this AFTER drinking pale. Or a pale just won’t have enough kick.
- Guinness. MMMmmmm. I seem to go through a Guinness phase about once a year. Try a black and tan. Pour a little more than half a pale beer like Harp into a glass. Average speed don’t worry about head. It will help separate the two. Then over an upside down spoon SLOWLY pour Guinness on top.
- Ale Smith IPA– My favorite IPA that I don’t drink nearly enough of. Time for a trip to BEVMO!
And lastly, Mean beers. Well, it depends on your standards.
- STONE Ruination. This is the mother of Hoppy beers while retaining a really drinkable quality. It is 7.7% so quite strong. And 100+ IBUs. I think anything beyond 100 IBUs is not really important because at that point its just freakin HOPPY. Your wife will not appreciate this beer. Or your bowels. Just FYI. Ask Alex.
- Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. This is Naked and crying in the shower beer. There’s a reason it only comes in four packs. At 9% Its black like Pat Robertson’s soul. And thicker than Snookies layer of spray tan. But at the same time very good.
- STONE “OAKED”Arrogant Bastard. Its strong and really really good. 7.2% so not an all nighter. Well unless you’re a fan of Adventures en el cuarto de bano.
- The Abyss, Its just a mean imperial stout. Comin in at 11%. Its smokey as hell but a fine beer to sip on and share with friends.
Well there are WAAAAY more beers that I could list but these are just a few to get you started. Hopefully you’ll wonder down to the unknown area in the beer aisle next time.