So, GQ eh? Well why the hell not? They are a bunch of dudes, dressing well, tossing around money – they have to do a beer thing. Its the new fad in looking cool, right? I mean that’s why you are all here. Of course, GQ is jumping on the bandwagon.
Luckily, for you I don’t believe anything I just wrote. Beer is freaking beer. Anyone can love it – as long as you are 21 (Message/Disclaimer!).
We do not discriminate against anyone throwing out their opinion on beer. We are regular people like you all. In total, we are a lawyer, a development administrator, and a learning assistant brewer at a small brewery. Just regular people. Just regular thoughts about beer.
But, when you put your opinion up on the web, its the rest of our jobs to police it to some extent, by listening, sparking dialogue and trying to build a community opinion. So, lets.
GQ published an article today on their website of the top 50 beers that everyone should try before they die. Important note: its not the Top 50 beers, just 50 beers you need to try. So we keep that in mind in discussion.
The list is teeming with small brewery american ales, epic belgian grog, and even a few mass produced “beers.”
Here is my reaction:
They had to add these 5, and we are damn glad they recognized!
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Orval Trappist Ale
Russian River Pliny the Elder
If you have not had the pleasure of drinking each of these 5 beers, you really need to take action ASAP. These are standards.
Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA rules the category of sweet IPAs and Pliny takes over the bitter category.
Orval is probably the first trappist beer you should try. They make only one beer for a reason – its damn good. Westvleteren 12 is a hard find, but necessary as the world’s most famous beer (thanks Michael Jackson).
Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout should be your first foray into adjunct filled stouts. Its so delicious and almost no one can turn it away. Try your mom, grandma, nephew, or dog – guarantee they like it.
I am so happy to see that they added these beers, and didn’t expect it…..
Alesmith Speedway Stout
Struisse Pannepot Fisherman’s Ale
Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier
If you can find Speedway Stout, buy it and drink it. It does not require aging, its perfect off the shelf. Problem : WA does not have Alesmith. Why? no clue, but I’m perplexed. Similarly, Espresso Yeti is incredible off the shelf. This is probably the best coffee stout out there, especially if you like a flavor explosion as opposed to subtlety.
Struisse’s Pannepot is just incredible. We sampled this beer before taking off for Belgium in March (2006 vintage) and then had some at the famous De Zon in Woesten, Belgium, which was the venue of an amazing bar visit. Its probably the best example of a huge mixing pot of Belgian flavors.
Cantillon’s Iris was one of 8 bottles we purchased at the Cantillon brewery in Brussels. I think its the best choice for this list because it personifies the lambic styling of Belgium.
If you like sausage or anything smoked for that matter – Aecht Schlenkerla is for you. This is the ultimate example of rauchbier. Lucky for us, we can get it almost everywhere in the US.
It kills me to know that GQ had these beers – because I have not and so badly want to…..
Leelanau White Ale
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel Route des epices
Sam Adams Utopias
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
Russian River Beatification
Where to start? This list of rouge ales is so impressive. Alvinne is just an all-around great brewery. Alvinne is at the cusp of progression in Belgian beer, taking a more globally influenced attitude about making beer. We visited the brewery in March and fell in love with everything they make – for some reason I still have not had a Melchio, but I do have 3 rare Oak Aged Podge’s in the cellar.
Dieu Du Ciel is the best of Canada (sorry Unibroue). All their beers are mind boggling, incorporating interesting adjuncts into the wort. This one has escaped me, and its made with peppercorns. Need to try.
Leelanau is a brewing label brewed by Ron Jefferies of Jolly Pumpkin. If you read Notes of a Beer Nerd ever, you know that we love all that he does, and this spiced white ale needs to be obtained.
Utopias is a huge 30%+ monster of “beer” that we would like to try, so that it can be compared to BrewDog’s Sink the Bismark and Nuclear Penguin, which we tried courtesy of Davey at Alvinne.
These last two are the highest on my list. Kentucky Breakfast Stout is supposedly bacon and eggs coated in bourbon – why not? Their selection of Beatification was puzzling and angering at the same time. This means they skipped over more obtainable sour ales from Russian River, such as Consecration, Temptation and Supplication – and went for the only one I cannot obtain in WA. Damn you – but thank you for reminding me to find this beer.
Two quick “wish they would have went another direction” but the brewery should be on the list…..
Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold
So, I love Great Lakes. Its a familial love too, and i am certainly an apologist. But Dortmunder is just not a great choice. Again, I understand that they are trying to pick “best of” styles, and so Dortmunder is a great lager. But, still….. I would have added Christmas Ale, another incredibly unique beer made by Great Lakes that has a cult following.
Smuttynose got selected as the barleywine on the list. Bad choice. Dogfish Head, Firestone Walker, Mikkeller – all better barleywines. They could keep Smuttynose on here though for their Wheatwine, which is by far and away the best wheatwine I have ever tried.
Any other thoughts on the beers listed on the 50 to try? Leave them below.
What would a trip to Europe be without a stop in Germany? I’ll tell you what it would be…dumb. Yes, Belgium is the main purpose of our visit, but we are going to have a car, and Germany is close, and awesome! We plan on making the short drive over the western border to Dusseldorf and Cologne… with just a tiny stop in Leverkusen to see one of the best club soccer teams in the world play on their home turf. That’s right, we will be on hand to personally witness Bundesliga 1 powerhouse Bayern Leverkusen take on rival Hamburg SV! Wait, wait, wait…there’s more…B E E R (and lots of it, in ridiculously over sized tankards)!
Our continued efforts to further our cultural knowhow of the ancient lands that we will soon explore have brought us to: “German Night with Beer Blotter”. We decided to make a night of snuggling up with some of the great food offerings, artistic gifts, and legendary beer styles of Germany.
What else but sausage and pretzels! Now I can’t claim that Beer Blotter went ultra traditional on this front, but hey, you’ll never hear us claim to be culinary masters. I can tell you, however, that our bellies were filled with scrumptious happiness and the beers paired well. I was especially excited about our mustard find: Terrapin Ridge Brew Master’s Mustard. It went really well with both the sausage and the pretzels. Check out the info from the website.
Rich BOCK BEER and whole cracked mustard seeds make this spicy mustard explode in your mouth with texture and flavor. Try it on brats, cheese, and pretzels. Crack open a jar, you won’t need a bottle opener! 8.4 oz.
Ingredients: Water, Mustard Seed, Malt Vinegar, Beer, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Brown Sugar, Spices, Celery Seed
German artist Albrecht Durer (1471 – 1528) was the topic of this evening’s art lesson. He was a painter, printmaker and theorist from Nuremberg, and is often regarded as one of the greatest artists of the Northern Renaissance. His woodcuts, watercolors and engravings posses a level of detail that is truly breathtaking. Check out one of his most famous works: Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513) as seen above.
We started off with a nice clean pilsner. Undoubtedly, a classic German lager style. The sample, though American brewed, was an excellent, if not perfect example of the style. McMinnville, OR’s Heater Allen Brewing specializes in German lagers, and they do it damn well. Pils is a golden amber brew with intense clarity and a lot of clean grain flavors. A faint bitterness comes through, demanding the imbiber to recognize just where this one is made (locally grown Northwest hops are surely the culprit).
Following the light Pils was a strange and intriguing beer straight from Dusseldorf (you think we might go there?) called Uerige Sticke. This 6% altbier pours a very murky brown hued amber that resembles river water. Doesn’t sound enticing? I assure you, it’s worth a try. A very rocky head built on enormous bubbles presented itself on the pour and lent an intense herbal and piney aroma. The mouth feel is thin, but packs many-a-flavor. It tastes a bit like a cider with notes of caramel apples and a dash of smoke. Sweetness is present, but the finish is quite dry. It seems to be a melding of classic German pale malt flavors with aged conditioning. It is unique to say the least.
The final beer offering of the night was one of Beer Blotter’s favorite all time German beers: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen. Simply put, carbonated, fermented liquid smoke. A luscious off-white head is produced when pouring the clean and clear brown brew into the glass. Immediately, the air is filled with the scent of smoke, but the sausages are already off the burner. The smoked malts are heavy enough to leave some residual sweetness, producing memories of BBQs and the grilled, sweet glazed meats that fill the summer air with the most appetizing of scents. Surprisingly easy to drink, this rauchbier is the ultimate pairing for sausage.
We can’t wait to meet you in person!