My real passion in life is beer. Yes, dark, amber, hoppy, smooth, bitter, you name it and I’ll give it a try. If you have to spend millions on ads instead of making good beer I doubt I will like it. I am a beer snob. I admit it. If I only drank to get hammered I’d buy rot gut whiskey. I like good beer and if you try to tell me anything with “light” in it’s name is good, you are pissing on my leg and telling me it’s raining and telling me to go ahead and drink that piss. So I decided to start an impromptu Draught Beer Draft on Twitter. I’d call this more of a mock draft since we only went three rounds. I’m hoping to get a longer draft going in the future, but I like a lot of the selections here and hope to try many of them. Often. Well, except for PBR.
Here are our participants and their takes on their draughtees:
My first pick was (1.01) Pabst Blue Ribbon. I was taken up in the spirit of Americana…the great Red, White, and Blue. I went for symbolism not taste. When my taste buds returned, I selected the silky smooth (2.08) Boddingtons Pub Ale which tastes like a smooth Guinness with a vanilla aftertaste. My selection of (3.01) Hefeweizen was because of its wheaty finish and how it makes me return in my mind to Germany where my ancestors drank beer in peace when they weren’t at war.
(1.02) Tröegs Nugget Nectar (Tröegs Brewing Co.)
(2.07) Dogfish Head Black & Blue (Dogfish Head Craft Brewery)
(3.02) Sam Adams Utopia (Sam Adams Brewing Co.)
When you consider the choices made by my competitors, my picks must seem rather boring. My favorite beer, (1.03) Guinness Draught, was an obvious first choice. From there, I followed up by representing my home town of Pottsville, PA with the selection of (2.06) Yuengling Black and Tan. I could’ve went Porter here, but B&T gets the slight edge. My third and final pick, (3.03) Swithwick’s Red Ale, was actually once purchased by Guinness and has many similarities.
(1.04) Double Bastard Ale (Stone Brewing Co.) — This isn’t necessarily my favorite beer, but Stone is a top-notch brewery both for churning out top-quality beers and gracing the bottles with arrogant, smart-assed messages. (Arrogant Bastard, unironically, was my entry into the Stone bouquet.) With this strong brew, I wasn’t sure how much I liked it at first taste, but it gets better with each ensuing sip.
(2.05) West Coast IPA (Green Flash Brewing Co.) — This is necessarily my favorite beer. If you don’t like hops, you won’t like this. If you do, well, we have some common ground.
(3.04) Ruination IPA (Stone Brewing Co.) — When I was an idiot kid in late high school and early college … um, I mean, just after my 21st birthday … I didn’t understand the idea of drinking beer for the flavor. Apparently it took moving beyond Red Dog to get it. The only thing that keeps this from regularly stocking my fridge is the price (almost $20 a six-pack). It doesn’t have quite the hop bite of West Coast but is smoother and plenty hoppy in it’s own right. (I get hoppy just thinking about it.)
(1.05) Pliny The Younger (Russian River Brewing Co.) — I am lucky enough to know someone who knows someone and I was able to get my hands on a couple of bottles of Pliny The Younger. Now I know the name is a little silly, but this beer is truly the real deal if you are a fan of IPAs. This beer is actually TRIPLE-HOPPED for all you hop-heads out there and is one of the most pungent beers I have ever tried.
When poured it is a dark amber color with a ton of lacing. But truly the first thing that really hits you is the almost floral scent. As you drink it you can almost feel the different flavors as they cross your palette. You get a mouthful of not only some great hops, but also caramel, citrus and floral all at once.
(2.04) Ommegang Hennepin (Brewery Ommegang) — After going with a hard to find beer with my 1st pick I decided to try a beer that is more easily found. (I will say that if I realized that this was only a 3 round draft, this pick might’ve changed)
That being said, this is a very nice Farmhouse Saison type beer from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown NY.
The first thing that hits you about this beer is that it is a 750ml bottle with a cork. It is corked because it is fermented a second time and it produces too much pressure for a normal bottle cap to handle. As with most Saisons, this beer has a lot of carbonation that gives you a nice white head when poured correctly. It is a cloudy golden-yellow color with a clear scent of green apples and a lot of yeast. Smells better than it sounds, lol.
The taste lives up to the nose with a subtle explosion of citrus and sour apples with just the right kick of tang and hops on your palette. This beer is so well-balanced, I find myself looking for another bottle before I finish the 1st one. A great interpretation of the style.
This is an excellent summer beer and I highly recommend it.
(3.05) Helios Ale (Victory Brewing Co.) — Since it is Summer as I write this I went with another Saison type beer for my #3. Helios Ale was originally produced as V-Saison in a 750ml cork bottle, but the Helios version is now found in 22 oz capped bottles and is much easier to find.
As with most Saison’s, it is a hazy golden color with a nice bright white head. When 1st opening you nose is assailed with a musky, hoppy aroma with an undercurrent of lemony citrus.
Right from your first taste you will fall in love with this beer. It had a peppery bite, and flavors of lemon, clove and banana were there as well. It was very nice across the palette and was very easy to drink.
This is another great summer beer that I highly recommend.
(1.06) Bell’s Oberon Ale (Bell’s Brewing Co.) — Call Bud the prototype American beer and I will fight you. To me, it’s Bell’s Oberon. The citrusy American Wheat is the first truly craft-era style and one that Bell’s has perfected. So many of their beers – and so many craft beers – can be too precious, but Oberon allows it to just be itself. It lets those hops rule the roost and for the beer to just be damn good beer.
(2.03) Old Rasputin Imperial Stout (North Coast Brewing Co.) — This one lives up to the name. Rasputin was hard to kill, but Old Rasputin? It will put you on your ass. This is a beer for guys who think Guinness is a little light in the loafers. This is a beer that grabs your balls and says “Are these big enough?” It’s much more than the high alcohol content. This is a beer that requires some patience, some insight, some effort. It’s well worth it, if yours are.
(3.06) Estrella Damm Inedit (Damm S.A.) — How can you go wrong with Ferran Adria’s creation? It’s not a tailgating beer or even one you’d choose over the types of beers I would have picked if we’d gone ten rounds, but it’s so unique, so blendable, that it needs to be mentioned in any conversation. It’s not a typical beer by any definition and well worth the effort of picking one up. If only I could pair it with one of Adria’s incomparable meals.
(1.07) Delerium Tremens (Brouwerij Huyghe) — One of the few beers that I’ll drink irrespective of food paring or outside temperature. It’s a higher alcohol content than most beers, which can get some people in trouble, but it’s an extremely drinkable beer with a ton of flavor. Its brother, Delirium Nocturnum, is strong as well and will definitely be one of the first beers signed as an undrafted free agent.
(2.02) Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA (Dogfish Head Craft Brewery) — I am not much of an IPA drinker—most are far too bitter for my taste—but the 90-minute IPA is so well balanced that it was a must have in the second round. Chicago is currently hotter than the surface of the sun, so it’s important to have a beer that’s not only tasty, but also refreshing.
(3.07) Two Brothers Long Haul Session Ale (Two Brothers Brewing Co.) — Oaked in French wine and cider barrels, Long Haul’s flavor varies from bottle to bottle. Some taste more like Cabernet, some more like a hard cider, others like merlot, it just depends on what was previously oaked in that barrel. This was the beer of choice at my wedding, and it was a huge hit. One of the better craft brews I’ve ever had.
8. @Chetrazzball does what he do
(1.08) Goose Island IPA (Goose Island Brewing Co.) — After landing on the shores of Lake Michigan I quickly scrambled for shelter and beer and found myself at Goose Island. I thought I was seeing a mirage as the amber liquid poured into my pint glass, but no, it was what was soon to become my go to beer. I have gone through many phases in my beer drinking life, but I I’m wallowing like a happy pig in my IPA phase. I love the hops and the subtle flavors that they help burst onto your tongue.
Goose Island is subtle enough to drink as an every day (hour, minute, second) beer. It doesn’t shout special occasion and can be had at a decent price in your local grocery store. The hops are mild, but still at the forefront and it has that citrus hint that many good IPAs have. A great summer beer, but like I said, a great anytime beer as well.
(2.01) Copperhead Pale Ale (Free State Brewing Co.) — This beer hailed my transition from browns and stouts to hoppier fare. Even though it isn’t an IPA it comes close. And the Free State has 1.75 pints on Mondays! There are a lot reasons a person can say Chicago is better than Lawrence, KS, but 1.75 pints of Copperhead is not one of them.
(3.08) Hopalicious (Ale Asylum) — Madison Wisconsin is a beer lovers dream. Every bar has a long list of local brews and a heart attack’s full of fried cheese. On a recent visit I stopped into Ale Asylum and of course had to try the Hopalicious and it lived up to its name. It wasn’t so hoppy that it knocked me on my ass, but it did give my a bit of a jolt on the back end of my drink. That and one of their pizzas was worth the trip.