You call that a beer?

I recently learned that a while back P.Z. Myers deliberately stepped on my turf by posting cute kittens instead of squids.  I’ve been waiting for revenge, and now have my chance.

This week the lad has been posting a daily beer.  These were bizarre concoctions, some laced with orange extract, others tasteless lagers, and still others whose distinguishing trait was not good taste but a fancy, colorful label.  And all the beers were cooled to refrigerator temperature, killing any taste that the brewmaster worked hard to achieve.

You call those beers? Now this is a beer:

Served at proper temperature, without the life having been chilled out of it, this Belgian abbey brew (yes, made by monks) is one of the top five beers I’ve had in my life.

What’s your all-time favorite brew?

141 thoughts on “You call that a beer?

  1. Gambrinius is my favourite beer, and sometimes Chimay for special occasions.
    I haven’t tried St. Bernardus though… it’s now on the list.

  2. Riggwelter, from the Black Sheep Brewery.

    Available in cask if you’re a lucky local (eg at the Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in Great Britain, and where they filmed the interior ‘Oop North’ scenes for “An American Werewolf in London”). Still highly drinkable from the bottle.

    “Riggwelter Ale takes its name from a local Yorkshire Dales farming term which has Old Norse roots; “rygg” meaning back, and “velte” meaning to overturn. A sheep is said to be rigged or “rigwelted”, when it has rolled onto its back and is unable to get back up without assistance.”

        1. As a practical consideration, if it’s on it’s back you won’t be able to get its back feet in your wellies.

    1. Or pretty much anything from the Black Sheep brewery for that matter.

      They and Wychwood, who made the wonderful Hobgoblin are two truly great breweries.

  3. I agree! This is one legit area of accommodation, the good pious monks are reaching to same heights as atheists!…:)

  4. Doesn’t matter much. I’m happy with a Blatz and a baloney sandwich. Sometimes people go to great lengths to throw their money away for reasons I do not know.

    1. That’s just a stupid comment. Occasionally buying a really great beer and savoring it is not “throwing your money away”. It’s $5 worth of pure pleasure–cheaper than almost any comparable pleasure I know.

      You’re both showing your ignorance and trying to demonstrate your superiority by preferring a crappy but cheap beer.

      These faux-superior comments that really tick me off. By all means drink your tasteless, chilled lager, but don’t pretend you’re better than the rest of us who don’t mind spending a few bucks for something that tastes good.

      1. I was going to suspect that this is a Miller troll, trying to cover his tracks by mentioning a non-longer-extant typical American beer, but checked first. Turns out Blatz can still be found in coolers, and that it’s contract-brewed for Pabst by Miller.

        Come to Pittsburgh sometime and partake of the brews from EastEndBrewing.

        1. I had a real Blatz thirty years ago during a trip to Minneapolis. Worst beer I have ever had to this day.

        2. Contract brewed by Miller for Pabst? Wow. You’d have to be seriously desperate to drink something with a pedigree like that.

        3. Let’s be charitable – perhaps 386sx has no taste buds?! If you only want alcohol drink the cheapest vodka. I agree with JC – it is worth splodging out a bit for something tasty when you can afford it.

      2. Oh, please. The OP was just exactly this kind of statement personal preference in terms of an assertion of superior objective “taste.”

        In my view, “tasteless lagers” was an ignorant comment.

        With beer, as with tea, food, music, and footwear, any position beyond thoughtful pluralism is narcissistic bullshit.

        1. Sorry, I don’t agree. Your “thoughtful pluralism” seems to mean “you can’t say that one item of a genre is better than another.” Well, I say that Crime and Punishment is a better book than The Da Vinci code, and that Landlord is a better beer than Budweiser. I will also claim that Tokyo Story is a better movie than Spiderman.

          Call me elitist if you want, but I’ve drunk plenty of Budweisers in my time—before I got the chance to try real beer and learned that Budweiser really is a tasteless lager.

          Moreover, I can defend any of these positions, so they’re not narcissistic bullshit.

          1. Jerry, you’re elitist. But that’s not a bad thing. In some circles it simply means you have good taste. I’m elitist too, but just not for beer. Although I do try to avoid tasteless lagers. Very hard to do when I was living in Asia. So happy to be back in the U.S., at least for beer. (I did find a coffee shop in Taipei that also served Belgians and provided free wifi.Great find, that place.)

          2. When I visit the US, I often end up drinking Budweiser or Miller Lite or some other swill with friends at their homes. The main problem is these are beers in name only (BINO), lacking nearly all taste or character.

            I mean, hey, they are serving (buying), so I can’t very well say “Don’t you have any decent beer?”

            But when it’s my turn to buy, I try to introduce my friends to something decent. There are good beers for sale in the US, if one looks for them.

        2. ohh plz, Jerry was just making a playful snipe at P.Z. Some of you guys are just fuckin crazy sometimes. Gee Whiz

        1. My above post was in reference to Dr. Coyne’s “It’s $5 worth of pure pleasure–cheaper than almost any comparable pleasure I know.”

    2. Poor 386sx, his tastebuds were shot off during the war.

      [Apologies to Tom Lehrer for stealing this line.]

  5. A well hopped bitter, served at cellar temperature, served either by gravity or hand pumped (i.e. without the use of CO2 as a propellant). Shepherd Neame Master Brew is close to my roots, a distinctly Kentish flavor. Preferably with a good pork pie and the sunday paper. Always one of the things that makes a flight across the Atlantic worthwhile.

    1. Oh yes! Oh yes! Shepherd Neame! A walk to the pub, and a pint of Master Brew within sound of the sea…

      1. Shepherd Neame’s 1698 ale is excellent, and extremely potent. Another favourite of mine is Weltenburger’s Assam Bock.Neither should be drunk chilled; nor should any decent beer (PZ!)…

        If you’re ever in London, the two best London breweries are Young’s and Fullers. The Yorkshire brewery, Samuel Smith, produces some very good ales. And, yes, the Black Sheep brewery is very good: a few too many of those and it is you who are riggwelted.

        Incidentally, both in England and Wales (I actually spent part of my mis-spent youth working as an under-shepherd on a Welsh hill – Graig Serethin, it was called, Serethin’s Rock) it is considered very bad form to do anything other to a riggwelted sheep than to gently right her and treat her like the lady she is. Sorry, but I don’t know the Welsh for riggwelted (ours was an English-speaking area in South Wales). Anyway, why the assumption that Welsh shepherds’ morals are worse than those of English ones? Twll tyn porp sais! Y draig goch y dery gychwyn!

      2. I had my first Shepherd Neame (bottle) in Springfield, IL. I think it was called Bishop’s Finger. Very good.

  6. Choosing one favourite is too difficult, although I can say one word: trappist! Beers like Orval, Rochefort …

    I do like the occasional Duvel, too.

  7. Sir, a beer from a bottle? Following your travel to Colombia, can I please recommend that you visit both (1) the Czech Republic where you should try the Pilsner Urquell in Pilzen or (2) Guiness in Ireland. The Urquell you get over here in bottles is so unacceptably different to the real drink as to be shameful. Same with the guinness.

    1. I have indeed had Urquell—and several other Czech beers—at the great beer joints of Prague. While it was good (and cheap: 25 cents per liter when I was there!), I can’t say that it’s comparable to, say, Belgian beers, or even to the great British ales.

      Sadly, I’ve never been to Ireland, and so haven’t had Guinness on its home turf.

      1. I was surprised when I experienced this, but Guinness really does taste better in Ireland. In general, Guinness is better in Ireland, but there’s absolutely nothing like the experience of drinking a fresh Guinness straight from the Storehouse while you view a magnificent 360 degree panorama of Dublin.

        1. With Insightful Ape–I’m a wine girl (which is shameful considering I used to be a German teacher…). I can, though, offer some advice on Guinness–never drink a grosse Guinness after 5 or 8 tequila snakebites. And after you’ve had the tequila and the Guiness, do *not*, under any circumstances, go to a live reggae bar. You’ll end up wandering, lost, all over Hamburg in the middle of the night ;-))

          1. It’s Guinness’s porter that has me this way
            For it’s sweeter than buttermilk and stronger then tea
            And when in the morning I feel kinda rough
            Me curse on Lord Iveagh who brews the damn stuff

      2. I prefer Murphy’s stout to Guinness but it is harder to find in pubs.

        It all depends on the water -as with tea & any other drink that is water based, it seems to me.

    2. Much of the Guinness sold in the US now is made in Canada. Check the label carefully. The Canadian brew is, of course, prominently labeled “Imported”, but Canada will be in small print (nothing wrong with Canadian beer, it’s just that it’s not the same as Ireland).

      I can’t speak authoritatively on any differences in the Guinness from different sources, but when Lowenbrau went from being brewed in Bavaria to being brewed in Texas it got much worse. I first noticed the change without being aware of the move to Texas. I was able to confirm the change in a side by side taste test, because a friend happened to still have a six-pack of what was probably one of the last imports from Bavaria. The in-Bavaria version would probably have been different from both the imported-to-USA and Texas varieties.

    3. The greatest beer from Ireland is Kilkenny, from the makers of Guinness.

      However, I’ll take spirits over barley pop any day.

    1. The former favorite beverage of my SO too… some really fine Shiraz and Merlot wines out there. I keep a few bottles of each on hand for having with dinner.

      However, the last 7 years or so (after we met) I’ve witnessed her conversion to fine beers. She now tells me she doesn’t know what she saw in wines, generally. Having a network of homebrewing friends here in the front range is what did it.

  8. The best beer I’ve EVER had? That would be the homebrew my best friend across town made about 3 years back (a magnificent stout). The 2nd-best beer I’ve ever had — a stout that I made a few years before that, about 5 years ago.

    Which reminds me… in keeping with the previous theme of how to save a buck here or there and still live like a king, it’s time for me to get brewing again.

    Best commercial beer? Tough to hone it down to just one, but I am also partial to Belgian ales, Chimay Grand Reserve being a fave. I haven’t bought one in more than 5 years, because of the expense though.

  9. I’m glad you finally found the light!
    Westmalle, brewed by Trappist monks in a monastery near Antwerp in Belgium is my favorite. Unlike some of the Belgian beers, these monks have chosen to remain in the service of God, and refuse to be bought out by the large beer companies. They also refuse to increase their production capabilities, limiting the availability of this beer mainly up to 25 miles from the monastery.

    1. I think you might be confusing Westmalle and Westvleteren (one of my favourite beers), Alexander. I can get Westmalle in the local supermarket here in the Netherlands. Westvleteren can only be bought at the abbey itself.

      1. There is a bar in Copenhagen which actually sells Westvleteren sometimes. They go down and pick up a few bottles ever so often.

        I haven’t yet tried it – it’s quite pricey (~$25 if I remember correctly).

  10. My favorite beer depends a great deal on my mood.

    I LOVE porter, and I brew a clone of Fuller’s London Porter that a couple of very knowledgeable said definitely didn’t suck. Most of my homebrews are Milds, since I can drink quite a bit of it without losing it.

    Belgian beers are interesting, and I enjoy them, but they’re not my favorite.

    In a restaurant, when I ask the waitress “What beers do you have” and she says “Oh we have just about anything you could want.” I always ask for Young’s Ramrod.

    Usually, the reply is a moment of silence, followed by “We have Bud lite, Miller lite, Coors lite….”

    1. Lite!

      Reminds me of the old joke:

      – What is the difference between US beers and making love in a canoe?

      – None. They are both fucking close to water!

      1. Bah! Telling jokes is like chinese whispers, pieces gets lost.

        If you fancy the joke for retelling (but I don’t know why, and in all honesty the recent crop of US microbreweries takes the legs out of it), I now believe it was less simple minded and had a positive setup before the pulling-the-rug clincher:

        – What is the similarity between having a US beer and making love in a canoe?
        … – ?
        – Both are fucking close to water!

        1. Growing up in the 70s, I remember the Python lads getting a lot of mileage out of making fun of Australian table wines. (peppermint-flavored burgundies, aborigine’s armpits and the like)

          The legs are gone from that joke too, as that’s where I gravitate to find our favorite Merlots and Shirazes.

          My how times have changed.

  11. Belgian trappist ales are generally speaking very, very good, and I always enjoy having those.

    Currently, the Danish micro-brewery Mikkeller makes some very good, and very interesting, beers and ales. If you have the chance to try their stuff, I highly recommend it (though be warned, their brews tend to be very extreme and potent).

  12. My first pick would be anything homebrewed.

    As far as commercial beers go, I’ll admit that I’m not all that experienced, but I’ve found that New Belgian consistently makes some very drinkable brews. I rather liked their 1554 black ale.

    Cheers,

    b&

  13. I’ve always been a real ale fan, far better than any lager style beers but I have to admit that my favourite ever beer was a lager style beer called PRIMUS. Back in the days when the Democratic Republic of the Congo was called Zaire, this was the local brew and it was a most welcome bottle after days travelling across what were laughingly called Zaire’s roads.

    1. I should put in a word in defence of ‘tasteless lagers’ – at least African ones. A chilled Windhoek beer brewed in Namibia is great at the end of a long African day in the field. it’s all about context

  14. Be nice, PZ got that collection from a fan.

    My best beer? I favor trappist beers myself, a Koenigshoeven La Trappe Tripel is my preference for best experience. (Though Westmalle makes the consistent best beers, and I’ll take one of those any day!)

  15. My favorite beer is Jever Pilsener, a German brew with a very distinct bitter taste. I like it best freshly draught, but the taste survives bottling well. As for English beers, Newcastle Brown Ale is my favorites.

  16. I’m not a beer drinker really. I haven’t had a beer in nearly 30 years. But when I was in the Army stationed in Germany it would have been criminal for me not to partake. I had a number of very good beers while I was there, but the one I liked best was one that was brewed close to where I was stationed. It was made in Bad Windsheim and was called, appropriately enough, Alt Windsheimer. (For those of you who don’t know how to pronounce German words, it’s pronounced winds-hime, not wind-shime.) A dark, nutty beer, almost chewy in its flavor. I wouldn’t mind having a bottle of that.

  17. Guinness is for usual, great companion for red meat.
    Chimay Bleu when only bottles are available, with Duvel and Orval (alphabetical order) as second choices.
    Kriek Lambic if there is chocolate at reach, for a special cherry/cacao mix.
    Rochefort 10 for the rare occasions where a cigar is in play and high alcohol content is not a handicap.

  18. I’m a fan of the Trappist-style brews. Several of my favorites are made by Unibroue, notably Maudite, Fin Du Monde and Don De Dieu. Despite the fact that they’re made in Chambly QC (about two hours drive from here), it seems that grocery stores in Los Angeles carry a better selection of Unibroue than the local Beer Store monopoly!

    I also have fond memories of another Trappist I picked up on my last trip through the Midwest: Sapient Tripp from the Dark Horse Brewing Co of Michigan. Went well with pasta, as an alternative to wine.

    Oh, and my wife wants to complain that it’s getting hard to get any work done around here, as long as Jerry keeps posting threads about tea and beer.

  19. La Folie sour brown ale from New Belgium in Fort Collins, CO. Someone else mentioned New Belgium’s 1554 black ale, which is also quite good.

  20. Without a doubt, Chimay on draft, brewed by the Trappist Monks in the Abbey of Scourmont, Belgium

  21. Completely impossible to pick one favorite beer for me. I love to try new beers at every opportunity and have thoroughly enjoyed everthing from a remarkable mead that was like a very fine champagne, to a thick nutty stout.

    I do love a good Belgian abbey brew and have tried as many as I could. I’ll just mention one that I haven’t seen mentioned yet.

    Grimbergen Triple. The single was very nice, and the double was great, much darker. The triple was the real eye opener though. It was actually much lighter in color than the double, almost as light as the single. But it was thick enough to cut and eat by the slice. Each sip was a wonderfully complex taste experience, and one bottle was a veritable feast leaving no room for anything else. I believe that one bottle would be enough to keep a large person on their feet and going strong all day.

  22. Warm beer is for people without refrigeration. It tastes better cold.

    Except perhaps swill like Budweiser, et al. Those don’t taste good at any temperature.

    1. It depends on the beer.

      Ale does not taste very good at temperatures you normally find in a domestic fridge, as the cold kills the taste.

      1. I just don’t buy that argument, if for no other reason than that the act of drinking raises the temperature up to and past the “optimal” temperature (whatever that is claimed to be).

        I know what temperature I like beer at, and I’m happy to let others disagree. I’m not happy to let them dictate what’s “correct”.

        1. You’re missing at least one factor: the bouquet. As you’re drinking, volatiles from a flavorful beer (or wine) should be getting up your nose and enhancing the taste experience. That, and excessively cold liquid probably numbs the taste buds before it warms up. So serving ice-cold means you’re missing some of the complexity.

          That being said, I note that the bottles of Innis & Gunn we had tonight recommend a temperature of between 4 and 6 degC. OTOH, Maudite recommends “cool not cold”. The optimum temperature presumably depends on exactly what molecules provide the distinctive flavour of each brew.

    2. Seconded – ales need to be served closer to 12C than to 4C. So cellar temperature – which is traditional in many places works well. The point of really chilling things is so you can’t taste them – but not even that will make the fermented rice beverages sold by Bud, Miller, Coors et al palatable. (It’s like putting ice in spirits – you might do it to a really cheap whisky just to get it down, but doing it to a good scotch, or cognac would be criminal)

      1. I live in a house that is 150 years old with 3 foot thick slate walls. There is a pantry that keeps my beers at exactly the right temperature so they never seen the inside of the fridge.

        I realise not every one has such a luxury.

  23. “Karmeliet triple ” 8,5°
    a monk’s recipe (1669) from the town of Dendermonde

    Blond , robust , smooth and fruity
    3 grain beer ;

    The most sold and sought after special beer of Belgium … Winner of gold medals in 2009 and 2010

    In contrast with the “Westfleteren trappist” (= “best beer in the world” and which is the model beer of the mentioned “Sixtus” beers of Wattou = these are the same but both use another kind of spring- water ) it is more easy to obtain …Although not easily outside Belgium …

    *The (dark )” westfleteren trappist” can only be bought once a year at the entrance of the abbey

    * The “trappist of rochefort” is also a very good one … The abbey was in flames this year … luckily they could save the brewery and the 300 year old strains of yeast used

  24. I’ll go for a pint of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord out of the barrel. A really good Yorkshire bitter. Nothing better after a good walk on the fells around Malham.

    Damn, I need one. Now. Bye.

  25. The Sixtus = the Sint Bernardus

    However it was the ( lighter )beer that was not for sale ( it was only possible to taste it if you were a guest ( or a monk) in the ( no more existing ) Sixtus abbey of Wattou

    I had the privilege ,40 years ago , to taste it ; it was sensational ( well I was young ) : very dark ( just like a stout )but light ,allways to drink at chamber temperature , but refreshing and with a magnificient balance of sweet and sour …. and it is no more availeable

    The St Bernardus( = 3 types of beer ) is a spin-of abby beer , brewed following the recipe of the old Sixtus (trappist) beer ,by a secular brewer …in my opinion it is the second best (brown) beer in belgium

  26. Hoegaarden on tap

    I used to enjoy this refreshing brew on business trips to Belgium. Although it is widely available in bottles, I occasional can find it on tap at restaurants. Wonderful stuff!

  27. Favorite beer / brewery…Ommegang Brewery, especially Three Philosophers. Dogfish Head, many, especially Bitches Brew. And listen to Miles Davis while you’re at it.

  28. I could name about a dozen British ales that are pretty much equally excellent.

    One of my favourites is brewed about 3 miles from here: Shere Drop, by the Surrey Hills microbrewery.

    Another excellent one, distributed a lot more widely, is Wadsworth 6X.

    Plus many more ales. And if one can’t get ales:

    Lagers: well, I think some of the Czech pilsners are pretty damn good.

    Belgian blondes can be excellent, too. (And I hear their beers are not bad.)

    1. These days most British ales are good. You have to go along way to find one that is truly horrible, and even then it will probably be down to the way it has been stored rather than being bad to begin with.

  29. For everyday drinking:

    Cutthroat Pale Ale by Tree Brewing in Kelowna, BC. It’s a delicious and crisp IPA with a gorgeous copper colour looks great when the glass frosts-up just a bit…

    1. I do enjoy a bottle of Cutthroat – but it’s not an IPA (that would be Hophead, which is a good type specimen)

      It’s a good example of an APA – American Pale Ale – well hopped with Cascade hops and a pale malt with enough crystal malt to give it that coppery colour, caramel flavour and body

      If the glass is frosting it’s too cold. Try pouring it and letting it stand for 30 minutes, it develops the flavour, allows the excess CO2 to escape and the temperature to come up to around 15C (60F)

      1. Yup APA, not IPA – my bad. With regards to the 30 minute rule – that’s generally the way I drink it (with the occasional sneaky sip before it warms up).

  30. St.Bernardus is (like many others such as Maredsous or Grimbergen) called an Abbey Ale, but it is not made by monks. Only the real Trappist beers are actually brewed by monks (or under supervision of the monks) in the abbey. There are only 6 (Belgian) trappist beers:
    -Orval
    -Westmalle
    -Westvleteren
    -Chimay
    -Rochefort
    -Achel
    St. Bernardus is a fine beer, but you simply can’t beat the real Trappists.

    1. I stand corrected. I’m going by what the guy at the Golem bar told me in Amsterdam, the bar where I had my first St. Bernardus. He told me it was made in a monastery by monks.

      I’ll have to try the others (I’ve had only Chimay before).

      1. When I was a grad-student, my roommate and I cultured the yeast out of a bottle of Chimay and made our own beer with it just to see what we’d get. It tasted like the original Chimay to my uncultured (ha, ha) palate.

        I expect culturing the yeast out of bottles of beer is one of those biology grad-student rites of passage.

      2. I like Chimay Blue, but the other ones are lovely. Personal favorites: Rochefort brown, Achel blonde.

        (Should you ever come to Troyes, there was once a small beer shop near the cathedral, Rue de la cite? Great!)

  31. These were bizarre concoctions, some laced with orange extract, others tasteless lagers, and still others whose distinguishing trait was not good taste but a fancy, colorful label.

    Well, it was a gift. Should he just have returned them?

    Also make up your mind. If they’re terrible beers, then don’t you exactly want to dull their taste as much as possible?

  32. Unibroue in Quebec makes some truly fine beers. I especially like Maudite and La Fin du Monde. They’re both quite strong so I’ll have one every so often as a treat.

    My current favorite beer is Innis & Gunn from Scotland. It’s aged in oak casks which gives it a wonderful flavour. I get the stuff that’s been aged 77 days. The brewery has recently come out with a ‘lite’ version of their beer that’s aged for less time but I don’t know why anyone would drink it. If you don’t like the taste of Innis & Gunn, drink something else.

    1. The Innis and Gunn oak aged ale is delicious. My local Tesco’s used to stock it, but for some reason they have stopped.

      They have started selling Adnam’s Broadside though, so it is not all bad news.

      1. Ooh, Broadside. Could be twenty years since I had that – and I’m hankering after a pint of it already …

    2. Just to prove that the Quebecois hate the rest of Canada, every winter Unibroue does a special vintage for Trader Joe’s, sold in 750ml bottles. But do we ever see it in the beer store in Ottawa, a mere two hours drive away? Nooooo. This is why we go south for Christmas.

      And note to Matt P: we just happen to have a few I&G in the fridge. On your reco, I look forward to finding an occasion to broach one.

      1. OK, done re the I&G: DW and I shared an Original and a Rum Cask while watching the first half of The Colour of Magic. The latter beer goes well with dark chocolate (85% cocoa).

    3. Despite the beer’s name in the context of this blog, Don de Dieu is my favourite from Unibroue. I’ve had a feeling their quality has slipped a bit in recent years – it could just be me.

      Generally, I’m a bit of a hophead and prefer some of the more experimental IPAs, Harpoon’s Leviathan being the best I’ve had thus far.

  33. I’m a wheatbeer fan. A nice German wheat-beer (Weizenbier or Weissbier (though in Berlin that is also a disgusting product with cherry or mint flavour … yuck)) where you can see the yeast, so the whole beer is kind of foggy. And then a nice Sauerkraut or a Strammer Max. mmmmm I’m hungry/thirsty now.

  34. Best beer? Depends on where you are.

    Six pints of Guinness in Dublin would be my first choice. Goes down a treat. I’m a Certified Guinness pourer, by the way.

    Four pints of Young’s Winter Warmer at the Spread Eagle in Wandsworth, from the wood, of course.

    Eight pints of 1976 Ruddles in Langham, but you’ll need a Tardis.

    For the full experience I’d recommend four pork pies, eight pints of Fuller’s ESB followed by a nice, long nap on a park bench in Hammersmith.

  35. Harvey’s XXXX old ale from Lewes in Sussex. Or in summer their Sussex best bitter. Belgian beers are a bit special too. The best Guinness I ever had was in the Black Horse in Leamington Spa. They just used to put the glass on the drip tray and open the tap. When the glass was full it had the regulation black body with half an inch head. All this fuss about pouring Guinness just means it’s badly kept.

    1. What? WHAT? W H A T ? ? ?

      As a Certified Guinness Pourer I am flabbergasted, flabber-gasted by such a display of ignorance!

      It’s not a “fuss about pouring.” It’s a science, art, craft, product of education, training and skill, not to mention (but I will) love o’ the brew!

      Forward pull on the tap under pressure (25% N2, 75% CO2)and fill to the harp. Allow to settle. Backward push on the tap delivers the final quarter of Guinness, God’s Nectar, without carbonation.

      Properly done should take 119.83 seconds.

      “… put the glass on the drip tray and open the tap… ”

      Heresy!! Burn the witch, I say! BURN!!

  36. My favorite beer (as opposed to brand of beer) was a Red Stripe (brewed by Desnoes & Geddes) I had in Quick Step, in the Cockpit Country, a remote and wild part of Jamaica (an area known, for historical reasons, as the “District of Look Behind” or “You no sen’, me no come”). The beer was room temperature (maybe 70-75 F), because the electricity had been out for a while. We had been in the Cockpits for hours looking for lizards The beer tasted really good. We might have had two.

  37. When I go through a 24 pack of Milwaukee’s Best placed strategically next to my recliner while I sit in front of the TV, the first one’s icy cold and the last one (usually drunken in the morning when I wake up slumped over in my chair) is almost hot from the noon time sun. I suppose as Goldy Locks would say #12 or #13 would be just right.

  38. Commodore Perry IPA from the Great Lakes Brewing Company. I also really like Newcastle Brown Ale. Anything from Southern Tier is usually really good too. I guess I can’t pick just one favorite!

  39. The Abt 12 is one of my favorites! My personal alll-time favorite beer is Avery’s Mephistopheles stout, an aggressive beer that punches you in the throat with its rich, almost overpowering flavor, and messes with your mind at 15-16% alcohol by volume. I am currently cellaring 4 of them from the 2007 batch, and 3 more from 2008.

  40. Since you just came back from Colombia I’ll tell you how my wife’s father, Ito, taught me to drink and enjoy cerveza al clima in Bogota; so I don’t like ice cold beer in a frozen glass either. I would go with Ito on his rounds of properties and end up at his car parts store. On the way we would stop at a joint for beer which the proprieter handed you from a cabinet. Now I admit an early morning beer in Bogota may be al clima at 55 degrees. and later in the afternoon up to 65 but you can still taste the difference between Aguila and Clausen.
    Favorite beer of all times was Wiedeman’s Royal Amber a Cincinnati beer long gone.

  41. My favorite is Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout. My second favorite is anything else made by Samuel Smith’s. This English brewery makes very filling, flavorful beers in a different flavor universe from those cans of 5% alcohol solution labeled “beer” by Budweiser, et al.

    Honorable mention: Brooklyn Lager.

    1. Also, the internet tells me the British drink their beer not at room temperature, but at “cellar temperature” (around 50 deg F). So I store the Sam Smith’s beer in the fridge and let it warm up a bit before drinking.

      1. I’m with you on that. I had Sam Smith’s in the Merrie Go Downe on Gloucester Rd. in London and it was my favorite pre-during-post lab lubricant.

        In fact, Sam Smith near electrocuted me which is another story.

  42. I once had a Russian friend burst into my apartment with a six pack of Slovak beer and enthuse that no further research was needed in brewing, perfection had been attained. It was called Zlaty Bazant, which I guess is Golden Pheasant. Haven’t had it since then but to me if it’s cold and brewed in Central Europe, it’s close to the nectar of the gods.
    Combining British beer with their dismal auto history, why do the British drink warm beer? Because Lucas makes their refridgerators.

  43. Shiner Boch, brewed in Shiner TX!

    I actually did not like beer before because I had only had Budweiser from a tin can. Luckily someone told me to try shiner.

    1. try Real Ale, brewed in Blanco Texas, which is much better than Shiner, Shiner is not a true microbrew, to me is not much different than the mega swill of budmiller.

  44. Tried Samiclause for the first time last night, was very nice, the Austrian lager packs a wollop with 14% alcohol. Complex flavors, though on the sweet side.

  45. “And all the beers were cooled to refrigerator temperature, killing any taste that the brewmaster worked hard to achieve.”

    When will people learn that refrigerator temperature is a taste-killer?! Putting ice cubes in beer pitchers is an aesthetic capital crime!
    By the way, drink German beer, doubtless the best beer in the world!
    Refuse to drink beer that hasn’t been brewed in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot! See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinheitsgebot

    1. Negatory on the Reinheitsgebot!

      That would eliminate some of the best beers on the planet:

      Guinness (uses roasted barley)
      Belgian ales (use spices and fruit)

      etc.

  46. My favorite beer of all time is Steelhead Extra Stout by the Mad River Brewing Company. It’s simply the b est.

    I find it funny that I recently started a “Brewmeister Mondays” theme for my blog, and shortly after you guys are now making tons of beer posts! That was supposed to be my niche!! I don’t think for a moment my idea was stolen, I just think it’s a funny coincidence.

    Check out my last week’s brew, and stay tuned for tomorrow’s entry: Allagash black belgian style stout!

    http://warmlittlepond.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/brewmeister-mondays-black-toad-dark-ale/

  47. Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, PA is the best brewery in the US. Their Hopdevil IPA is their best bottle beer. But I recommend getting one or several growlers and filling them with their seasonals. The Smokin Oats Porter was quite good, but they’ve run out of it. I just had a growler of their ESB this weekend, and it’s definitely the best ESB I’ve ever had.

    In the past 10-20 years, the US has been going through a beer renasissance, thanks largely to the many microbreweries that have been established. At the same time, sales of the major brewing companies have been steadily falling, for good reason.

  48. Just getting caught up here.

    Well, St. Bernardus Abt 12 is high on the list.

    If I had to choose just one beer as my favorite, it would be …

    1. La Chouffe, from Brasserie d’Achouffe in the Ardennes in, of course, Belgium, home of the world’s greatest beers.

    I also love the following:

    Scotch Silly (Belgium)
    Hoegaarden Grand Cru (Belgium)
    Duvel (Belgium)
    Chimay Cinq Cents (Belgium; not the red label: The BLUE label)
    Traquair House Jacobite Ale (UK)
    Thomas Hardy’s Ale (UK; barley wine, not for everyone’s taste)
    Pilsner Urquel (Czech Republic — the only real pils from Pilzen)
    Any beer from a local brewery in Franken (Franconia) in Bavaria: Among the best beers I’ve ever tasted. (Rarely available outside their local town.)
    Numerous lovely beers, anywhere in Belgium
    Old Peculier (UK)
    Young’s special, on tap in the UK
    Salvator Doppel Bock (Germany; the ultimate doulbe bock IMO)
    La Fin du Monde (Canada)
    Ommegang (USA)

    (Ommegang has just come out with a Scotch-style ale. I want to try it. IMO, Belgium produces the best Scotch ales! Ooh, Scotch Silly, yum, yum!)

    In Belgium, typically the breweries deliver specific glasses with the beer. This is not just advertising: They provide the glass they feel provides the best drinking experience for their particular beer. Beer is serious business in Belgium!

    So many beers, so little time (and don’t get me started on wines …)

  49. One of my favourite beers is the original Czech Budweiser. It comes from the city of České Budějovice (Budweis in German) and has nothing to do with the American Budweiser. My other favourite is Prague’s Staropramen.

  50. Holy crap, that’s a toughie! It’s such an exciting time for craft beer enthusiasts that it’s difficult to pick just one. Being partial to IPAs meself, if I were forced I’d have to say Bell’s HopSlam. Your choice is one of my favorite Belgians, however.

  51. St. Bernardus is very good!

    My favorites? I like sweeter brews.

    Weihenstephaner Hefe
    Ayinger Weiss
    Gulden Draak
    Cimes Yeti (been a while)
    Unibroue Maudite
    Unibroue Trois Pistoles

    and of course the exception:
    Great Lakes Blackout Stout

    1. BTW if you’re ever in Cleveland and only have time for 1 stop, be sure to hit the Bier Markt for nice Belgian ales, instead of the Great Lakes Brewing Co. just down the street. The latter certainly isn’t bad, but the Bier Markt has better atmosphere and food. Get the Great Lakes brews to go.

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