To get things started I thought we would start with a survey about styles of beer so I can get to know my audience (all 3 of you).
1. What are your favorite styles of beer, with some examples?
2. What beer styles would like to know more about?
3. What are your least favorite styles of beer?
My answers are:
1. Belgian Pale Ales (Orval, Matilda, Rayon Vert); Hoppy Pilsners (Prima Pils, Sunshine Pils, Heater Allen Pils); German Hefeweizen’s (Weihenstephaner, Dancing Man Wheat); Oatmeal Stouts & Milk Stouts (Shakespeare Stout, Moloko Milk Stout), Citrusy American IPAs (White Rajah, Flower Power, Columbus IPA), Saisons (all of the ones from Stillwater Brewing are good); Dortmunder Lagers (Dortmunder Gold, Hoster’s Gold Top)…. (the list could go on)
2. Belgian Sours like Lambics and Gueuzes. Some styles of German Lagers, like Keller Bier and Schwarzbier. I’ve tried a few of each but not too many.
3. Scotch Ales, Vienna Lagers, Berliner Weissbiers all come to mind. Beers with vegetables in them like Chili Beers and Pumpkin Beers have to be taken in serious moderation.
Scott, you should check out this site. http://www.seekabrew.com/distro/index.html
It has the distribution of beers to each state. You can even do a comparison between states. I did one between Ohio and Missouri and Ohio actually has quite a few more breweries. Having said that there are some great breweries that distribute to Missouri and not Ohio, including Boulevard, Deschutes, Firestone Walker, Elysian, New Belgium and Schafly. I wish we could get Boulevard beer here in Ohio. BTW – I thought of a pretty good Brown Ale that slipped my mind in the earlier post – Turbo Dog by Abita.
So no offense but I did have to completely disagree with you on one point. Personally, I believe pumpkin beers, when done right, are a thing of beauty. The problem is everyone tries to do it and many are awful. Much unbiased testing on my part has confirmed this. However, O’Fallon makes an amazing pumpkin beer and Sam Adams surprised me a few years back with Harvest Pumpkin. There are many more but I will move to other categories.
I am sure many connoisseurs will agree that tastes change as do the seasons, just as with our food choices. As the colder months approach I am reminded of my love for brown ales and porters. Sadly there are so few brown ales available, which is sad because it is such an easy beer to make. Bell’s makes a good one but it is on the pricey side of craft beer and I can’t see past that to buy it too often. Sierra Nevada makes a good porter, but I believe it is seasonal. In the warmer months the IPA’s come to the front of my list. I am not a big fan of overly hopped or high alcohol beers, which seems to be common with IPA’s. Obviously IPA’s are strongly hopped but there is a fine line between great hoppiness and gross. Dogfish Head has the 60 minute which is good and I found myself buying many sixers of the Sam Adams Hop Tour this summer. It was interesting to really taste the difference in hop flavors. In regards to overly hopped and high alcohol, I had a beer thus summer called hop bomb or something of that nature. I believe it was 11% abv and the first few sips were amazing but a whole bottle made the hops taste awful after the first half and it developed a strong alcoholy taste. However, I am always willing to try a glass of barleywine, but I feel many are rushed to the bottle prior to full conditioning and as such have an off taste associated with the alcohol.
I would agree that a good Pumpkin Beer can be quite tasty, but even then just one in a sitting would be enough for me. You are right that there are not many good Brown Ale’s out there, which is a bit surprising. Hazelnut Brown Nectar by Rogue is decent, but not worth the price in my opinion. Palo Santo Marron by Dogfish head classified as an Imperial Brown Ale, and IMO is a very good beer, but at 12% ABV I think of it more like a cross between a Barleywine and an Imperial Stout. It is also pretty pricey. If you like Porters Edmund Fitzgerald Porter by Great Lakes Brewing is a fantastic beer, but I’m not sure if you can get it in KC. Black Butte Porter by Deschutes is another good one that has a fairly wide distribution (but not to Ohio).
This is Scott Andrews, Rebecca’s husband. I just have to pimp my roots, thus the reference to KC and affinity to MO beers! In regards to Ohio distribution, I find it somewhat lacking. I just got back from Alaska where I found Boulevard on tap in a brewpub, yet no sight in Ohio. This could be more a ploy of the manufacturer, or as the Yuengling rumor went they could be unable to provide the quantity needed for the state.
The overwhelming number of responses suggests I may have overestimated the enthusiasm of my audience. If you don’t want to think that hard, how about posting your favorite beers.