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GQ’s Suggested 50 Beers to Try Hits and Misses

GQ takes a shot at beer drinking; for the most part, they did fine. (Photo: GQ.com)

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

Westvleteren 12

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

Cantillon Iris

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

Alvinne Melchio

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

Smuttynose Barleywine

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.

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