My Favorite Beers
Ok, I drink wine for sacrament, but I don't like it. Beer is where it's at for me. This list is a start that I intend to keep this updated. Tastes may change, some may rise, stars may fall. We'll see...
I has pictures here before, but as it took a lot of time to keep up with them and the specialized formatting, I've opted to simplify this in favor of adding more details, memories, tastes, etc. Also, the icon in front of beers , , (up, down, neutral) are whether I'd like to try this one again.
Oh, My Gosh!
My primary (but not only) standard for judging beer is flavor complexity. How does the flavor of the beer change as you drink it?
Highland Brewing: Black Mocha Stout. I was a little worried. Would I like something even darker than Highlands Oatmeal Porter? Santa brought this with a variety pack, and I sipped on it after Christmas morning was over and I was in a hot bath. I like this better than the Oatmeal Porter.
Highland Brewing: Oatmeal Porter. This was my first stout/porter, and I was impressed.
Blackstone Brewing: Nut Brown Ale. You never know what you're going to get when you pick out a new beer, but this was wow-good. This was my first Brown Ale. It truly tasted like it's name.
Samuel Adams: Boston Lager. The standard by which I judge all other beers. This one has at least three. The first time I had this was with a Blue Moon Belgian White. This is when I began to like beer and not just wonder why people drank it. I think I also had a Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat open. It was a nice cool, sunny day at the Community Center.
Samuel Adams: Double Agent IPL. Saw this and bought it for the first time at or after Thanksgiving.
SweetWater: Whiplash White IPA. Smells of tangerine, tastes of tangerine and pine. Toasty, full finish. Complex. Unfortunately this is seasonal. I begged SweetWater for a long time, in my head, to make this year round. This is better than their other pale ales. Oh, well. Maybe I'll send them an email. There, I sent it.
Brouwerij Lindemans: Framboise Lambic Raspberry. Very low on alcohol. 2.8%, I think. like drinking a bucket of raspberries (my favorite fruit), with the tartness of a wild yeast. Totally amazing beverage, but expensive, and probably only for special occasions. If there were a level above OMG, this would be in it.
Left Hand Brewing: Milk Stout. When I first had this, I was skipping an event I was supposed to be attending, listending to Scraped by Guns n Roses. I found it at a place in Davenport called Planet Beer. This brew was amazing delicious. The lactose added flavor, but it was not gratuitous. It's Nitro cousin, not so much.
Foothills Brewing: Hoppyum IPA. Seriously hoppy and flavorful. I don't recommend drinking a whole bottle at once until you acclimate. I was up most of the night with a queasy stomach and reflux.
Green Man: ESB. "Extra Special Beer." This had a flavor akin to some of the Highland Brewing beers. It's darker brown ale. I had a pint at The Market in Maryville along with a BLT. CEB enjoyed a Cruze Farm chocolate milk while LHB had a club. Their IPAs were good, but not complex enough to go here. You will find them "below".
Terrapin: Rye Pale Ale. After so many OK beers, this one was a relief to find. This may be the most complex, flavorful and good pale ale I've had. This is a non-seasonal beer as good or better than SweetWater Whiplash White IPA. Once I knew people brewed with rye, I've been hoping to find a really good one. Thank you Terrapin!
Lagunitas: IPA. This has a nice warmth to it that is uncharacteristic of IPAs which contrasts the bitterness. In that way it is similar to Samuel Adams Double Agent IPL, but a litte less bitter.
Shmaltz: He'Brew Genesis Dry-Hopped Session Ale. Slightly sweet, darkly spiced (like black strap molasses) mildly hoppy, complex flavor.
Traveler: Elusive Traveler Grapefruit Shandy. Delicious!
Young's: Double Chocolate Stout. This one might cause the other stouts to move down a notch. It's a bit pricey though.
Samuel Smith: Organic Strawberry Ale. Very enjoyable. I had this as LHB and I watched Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1.
Samuel Smith: Organic Apricot Ale. Very enjoyable
Brasserie de Silly: Silly Sour. Very good sour ale. Similar to Lindemans lambic. Good by itself, but might be good to use it as a base to add some sort of fruit juice (cherry, raspberry).
Samuel Adams: Old Fezziwig
Samuel Adams: Winter Lager
Highland Brewing: Gaelic Ale
Samuel Adams: White Christmas
Samuel Adams: Cherry Wheat
Leinenkgels: Orange Shandy
Smoky Mountain: Velas Helles
Smoky Mountain: Cherokee Red Ale
Smoky Mountain: Tuckaleechee Porter
Smoky Mountain: Black Bear Ale
Samuel Adams: Latitude 48 IPA. This a good IPA. Perhaps the only reason its in "Good" and not "Oh, My Gosh" is that it seems gratuitously hopped with little other complexity to recommend it. This was my first IPA and it took several hours to get through one as I sipped on it gradually.
Samuel Adams: Whitewater IPA. This came in a Hopology six pack with Latitude 48 and Double Agent IPL that I fortuitously found at a Wal-mart in Lake City on JMB's first birthday. Good stuff.
Green Man: India Pale Ale
Smoky Mountain: Appalachian Pale Ale
Highland Brewery: Saint Terese's Pale Ale
Highland Brewery: Kashmir IPA. Highland's fault, is similar to Samuel Adam's. Most of their beers taste alike. The Highland brew has a roasty character that they seem to exploit in all their beers, perhaps except for their Porter and Stout. The IPA was good, but the hops were not that strong.
Rivertown Brewing: Hop Bomber Rye Pale Ale. Good, different. First Rye.
Sierra Nevada: Porter
Yazoo: Hefeweizen. This was good. It would have been better with an orange.
New Belgium: 1554 Black Lager. After having other New Belgium brews, I was suprised this one landed in "Good".
Boulder Beer: Shake Chocolate Porter. This was good, no doubt but the chocolate flavor almost seems like cheating, and it gets a little tiring.
Samuel Smith's: Oatmeal Porter
Green Man: Stout
Ciderboys: Grand Mimosa. So this isn't been, it's hard cider, but it's really good.
Green Flash: Jibe IPA.
Green Flash: Pilsner. I tasted this as a draft at The Market. Don't remember too much about it. It was good, but not memorable.
Green Man: Forrester Winter Stout. I tasted this as a draft at The Market. Don't remember too much about it. It was good, but not memorable.
New Belgium: Tour de Fall. Pale Ale
Dogfish Head: 60 Minute IPA. Almost OMG, because it has very good flavor, but not complex enough.
Smuttynose: Shoals Pale Ale. Very good IPA. Almost considered for OMG, but not quite there.
Guinness: Extra Stout. Definitely has some flavor complexity. It starts with kind of a funny sweet taste, almost like banana (not a fan), and then gradually you can taste the dark roasted malts until it further concludes in a burnt taste which some may find offensive, but I don't mind. All the stouts I've drunk before this (Black Mocha Stout) have not ended so charred. The beginning is a "Eh," the middle and ending are "OMG." So I'm putting this one in "Good."
Spoetzl Brewery: Shiner Bock. Good flavor, ends on a fruity note almost but not quite as bad as bananas.
Hoegaarden: Wit - Blanche. Smells sweet, fruity, with a hint of cinnamon and clove. Tastes of clove and orange. Finishes a little dry with subtle fruitiness. This might be the first German beer I like.
Samuel Adams: Escape Route. It's good, it's just so similar to Boston Lager. If I cared I could compare the differences, but a seasonal would have to be really good to care.
Blackstone: A.P.A. It's good. Nothing else notable.
Goose Island: Honkers Ale. The best thing about this beer is its fruity aroma, it really smells good. The taste is good, pale/dry a little hoppy. It's described as an English style bitter.
Yazoo: Dos Perros Ale. It smells like a porter, tastes like a porter. It has chocolate malts. It's good.
Abita: Grapefruit Harvest IPA. It's good/interesting. The addition of grapefruit isn't gratuitous.
Band of Brewers (Coors): Third Shift Amber Lager. This is most similar to beers like Budweiser, Heinekin, Etc., except it has a decent full flavor. I like it. Those cheap, nearly tasteless beers have a endearing quality, and this one has the same quality but ratchets it up a notch or two. I thought this when I drank a Coors Light and again with this beer: Are they made with corn? It would seem to fit the bill given that it's a cheaper grain. The MillerCoors site says corn "may also be used". Its possible its the primary ingredient. They say it gives beer a milder flavor. I just found this which seems to confirm my Captain Crunch cheap beer theory. If I want a corn beer, this is the one I'll drink.
Victory Brewing Company: Headwaters Pale Ale. Very bright and good. Just lacks in complexity. The taste it starts with is the taste it ends with.
Harpoon: Harpoon IPA. Not the strongest IPA, but very tasty. It has a delightful warm finish. Aftertaste is a little off. I wonder if the warm taste is the result of it actually being a lager and not an ale.
Foothills Brewing: Peoples Porter. It was good, nothing amazing.
Traveler: Curious Traveler Lemon Shandy. Good, but not as good as it's cousing the Illusive Traveler!
Sierra Nevada: Pale Ale. I think Sierra Nevada is doomed to have only "good" beer.
Yazoo: Hop Project.
Lost Coast Brewery. Tangerine. Great wheat beer. Not overly sweet like most fruit-added beers.
Harpoon: UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen.
Hofbräuhaus München: Hofbräu Original Lager. Good, subtle, smooth.
Traveler: Jack-O Traveler, Pumpkin Shandy. I was very hesitant to try this seasonal beer from a beer company I really like, because I was rather off-put from Blue Moon's pumpkin beer. This is actually very tasty and goes well with the season.
Unibroue: Don de Dieu
Tucher: Kunkles Hefe Weizen
Samuel Adams: Octoberfest.
Blue Moon: Belgian White Ale
Blue Moon: Farmhouse Red
New Belgium: Fat Tire. I struggled with this one whether it was "Good" or "Eh". Its possibly in-between these. It tastes kind of watered down.
Butte Creek: Organic Pale Ale
Angry Orchard: Green Apple. Tasted like a crisp green apple.Its just a sweet alcohol delivery system, nothing else to it.
Ciderboys: Mad Bark. Not a great aftertaste. This seemed like it should have been better.
Lazy Magnolia: Southern Pecan. Eh, as in, nothing special. I drank this and Sweetwater: Drank while watching Barefoot with LHB.
Sweetwater: Blue. I don't know what you guys were thinking. This was not good. I drank this and Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan while watching Barefoot with LHB.
Ciderboys: Strawberry Magic
Crispin: Original Hard Apple Cider. I'm sure this was good as far as ciders go, but I'm just not a big fan of ciders. I got this on recommendation on my second trip to The Casual Pint.
Founders Brewing: Porter. Didn't like it much, that was suprising. Had a high alchohol content. It was strong, bitter, lacked flavor and overpriced porter.
Guinness: Draught. Tasted like burnt water.
Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma (Heineken International): Dos Equis Ambar. Fuller flavor than DosEquis, but not very good.
Plzenský Prazdroj: Pilsner Urquell. Can have somewhat of a nasty taste.
Left Hand: Polestar Pilsner. Good, but a bitter aftertaste.
There's Water Down Below
Despite being watery, there's a kind of fondness that these "Eh" beers have. You don't have to think about the flavor too much, they're simple which has a small appeal all by itself. I think some people call this "drinkable" as a nice way of saying "it lacks flavor," or maybe it means "a cheap beer you don't have to taste, you just drink it to get drunk." These beers are all in the same "family" of flavors. While Fat Tire is also lacking, it doesn't quite descend into this same catetory.
Hap & Harry's: Tennessee Lager. I got this one on a recommendation at the Casual Pint and drank it during an episode of Falling Skies.
Tsingtao: Tsingtao Lager. Chinese beer. Had this after working at the library in FL. Was a little worried I was drinking lead or rocket fuel.
Anheuser-Busch: Stella Artois. Slightly better than Bud, a little more tart.
Anheuser-Busch: Budweiser. Not expecting much, I didn't have this one until very late in the game. Probably the only reason I got one is so I can say that I tried it. My expectations were not dissapointed.
Anheuser-Busch: Corona Extra. Very bland. I had this at Tribridge Connect 2015. Better with lime. If I always had about half a lime, I might drink this more.
Anheuser-Busch: Corona Light. Slightly better than Corona Extra.
Heineken International: Heineken. Very bland. I had this at Tribridge Connect 2015. This was the first event that I used my drink tickets. I used them to get a free beer I was pretty sure was going to be bland.
Beck's: St. Pauli Girl. Same
Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma (Heineken International): Dos Equis. Same, but slightly more flavor.
Westheimer: Graf Stolberg Dunkel. Malty sweet with nothing to counteract. I only finished it because I spent money on it.
Yuenling: Traditional Lager. I'm sorry Pennsylvania, but this beer is nasty. I was tasting it hours later. It had a rotten egg-like taste that remains with you long after the beer is gone.
Blue Moon: Harvest Pumpkin Ale. Not a fan of pumpkin in my beer. Now I know. I got a six pack at Thanksgiving, thinking it was Farmhouse Red. I had a couple, but didn't finish the pack until February. And only then because I didn't want to pour it down the drain.
Want to Try
Guinness: Foreign Extra Stout. I've heard this one is better than the Extra Stout.
Ballast Point: Grapefruit Sculpin IPA.
I once tried to categorize the beers I listed here, and then realized what a fools errand that was. Consider that you have India Pale Ale (ale being one of the primary categories) and then you have brewers that make a Lager in the style of a IPA. Where does that go?