Our 10 Best Beers
When we got the idea to do Our 10 Best Beers, little did we realize what a shark tank we were jumping into. While wine drinkers, cocktail swillers, and those that drink their spirits neat are a very vocal and cantankerous bunch, the vast majority of beer fanciers just sit back, foamy quaff in hand, and watch the rest of the drinkers duke it out. But if provoked, there's no one more opinionated than a beer drinker--whether she fancies pilsner, lager, bitter, stout, porter, lambic, saison, or even barley wine.
The world's largest six pack, LaCrosse, WI
So contentious were the lists we received, we decided that they couldn't all be accommodated within a single list: Putting PBR on the same roster with peach lambic, say, didn't make any sense. So we've broken everything down into several lists, beginning with "Plebeian," which should satisfy the majority of normal beer drinkers, who hope for nothing more than a cold, foamy slap in the face at the end of the day. After that, we've cast a more-specialized list, ending with some top fives from our resident beer geeks.
We were surprised at the extent of locavore sentiment when it comes to favorite beers, but then that's more a measure of the people we associate with. And even though our pollees readily listed five top beers, in the course of a year, these same folks are likely to sample dozens or even hundreds of different beers, often just out of curiosity. Another phenomenon that may come as a surprise is the prevalence of darker beers--including many outright stouts--on the lists.
While these rankings don't make any pretense of democracy, we did poll skads of people in the process of compiling them. Our thanks go to Chantal Martineau, Mike Epstein, Jesse Drucker, Cathy Erway, Paul Lukas, Angus Vail, Samantha Charlip, Sara Brandston, Joe DiStefano, Andre Thiesen, Jan Galligan, Liz Clayton, Akiko Moorman, Sarah DiGregorio, and Lillian Chou, Amy Thompson, Jeremy McNamara, and Tracy Van Dyk, avid beer drinkers all!
As usual, if your favorite beer doesn't appear on any of these lists, please let us know. Go ahead, heap abuse on us, that's what we're here for!
Next: The list for casual, but committed beer drinkers
THE PLEBEIAN LIST
1. Guinness Stout (Ireland) 2. Anchor Steam (San Francisco) 3. Brooklyn Lager (Utica, NY) 4. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (Chico, CA) 5. Stella Artois (Belgium) 6. Grolsch (Netherlands) 7. Corona (Mexico) 8. Beck's (Germany) 9. Amstel Light (Netherlands) 10. Victory Prima Pils (Pennsylvania)
Runners-up: Pabst Blue Ribbon (Milwaukee), Asahi Super Dry (Japan), Heineken (Netherlands), Bass Ale (England), Sam Adams (Boston), Paulaner Hefeweizen (Germany), St. Pauli Girl (Germany), Pork Slap Pale Ale (Garrattsville, NY)
Next: The Connoisseur's List
THE CONNOISSEUR'S LIST
1. Bengali Tiger IPA (Sixpoint, Brooklyn) 2. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (Brooklyn) 3. Cuvee De Castleton (Captain Lawrence Brewing Co, Pleasantville, NY) 4. Chimay Grande Reserve (Belgium) 5. Rogue Dead Guy Ale (Oregon) 6. Ommegang's Three Philosophers Ale (Cooperstown, NY) 7. Ruination (Stone Brewing Company, Escondido, CA) 8. Lagunitas IPA (Petaluma, CA) 9. Dale's Pale Ale (Colorado) 10. Blue Point Toasted Lager (Patchogue, NY)
Runners-up: Young's Luxury Chocolate Stout (England), Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout (England), Arrogant Bastard (Stone Brewing Co, CA), Sweet Action (Sixpoint), Demolition Ale (Goose Island, Chicago), Quackenbush Blonde (Albany, NY), Piraat Ale (Belgium), Kelso Nut Brown Lager (Brooklyn)
Next: The lists of Fork in the Road's beer consultants
Favorites of Fork in the Road's Malt-Based Beverage Consultants
Jeremy McNamara (Troy, NY)
My Proletarian List 1. Speedway Stout (Alesmith, San Diego, CA) 2. Portsmouth Oatmeal Stout (Portsmouth Brewery, Portsmouth, NH) 3. La Folie (New Belgium Brewing, Ft Collins, CO) 4. Jahva (Southern Tier, Lakewood, NY) 5. Wisconsin Belgian Red (New Glarus Brewing, New Glarus, WI)
My Snobbier List 1. Beatification PH1 (Russian River, Santa Rosa, CA) 2. Blabaer Lambik (Brasserie Cantillon, Belgium) 3. Westvleteren 12 (Brouwerij Westvleteren, Belgium) 4. Yellow Bus (The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, CA) 5. Pliny the Younger (Russian River Brewing Co)
My NY-Centric List 1. Cuvee De Castleton (Captain Lawrence, Pleasantville, NY.) 2. Golden Delicious (Captain Lawrence) 3. Bengali Tiger (Sixpoint Craft Ales) 4. Black Chocolate Stout (Brooklyn Brewery) 5. Bolshoi (Sixpoint Craft Ales)
Tracy Van Dyk (San Francisco, CA)
My Favorite Beers 1. Le Terroir (New Belgium) 2. Westvleteren 8 (Brouwerij Westvleteren) 3. Yellow Bus (The Lost Abbey) 4. Sanctification (Russian River) 5. Demolition Ale (Goose Island, Chicago)
Everyday Favorites 1. Racer 5 IPA (Bear Republic, Healdsburg, CA) 2. Aprihop/ Festina Peche, depending on the season (Dogfish Head, DE) 3. Trappist Rochefort 8 (Brasserie de Rochefort, Belgium) 4. Pliny the Elder (Russian River) 5. Bengali Tiger (Sixpoint)
Please tell us your favorites, and we'll add them to the Reader's Recommendations
Next: Readers' suggestions
Two Hearted Ale (Bell's Brewery, MI) Alpha King Pale Ale (Three Floyd's, IN) Rocky's Revenge Bourbon Barrel Aged (Tyranena Brewing, WI) Founders Breakfast Stout (Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, MI) Kentucky Breakfast Stout (Founders Brewing) Boulder Flashback Anniversary Ale (Boulder Beer, CO) Creme Brulee Stout (Southern Tier, Lakewood, NY) Hopslam Ale (Bell's Brewey, Kalamazoo, MI) Geary's Pale Ale...or Stout (DL Geary Brewing, Portland, ME) Liquid Gold (Captain Lawrence, Pleasantville, NY) Milkstout (Lefthand Brewing, Longmont, CO) Buffalo Sweat (Tallgrass Brewing, Manhattan, KS) Rogue DDG (Double Dead Guy) Ale (Rogue Ales Brewery, Oregon) Imperial Pilsner (Sam Adams, Boston) 120 Minute IPA (Dogfish Head, DE) Atwater Vanilla Java Porter (Atwater Block Brewery. Detroit, MI) Fat Tire Amber Ale (New Belgium, Ft. Collins, CO) Shiner Blonde (Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner, TX) 1554 Enlightened Black Ale (New Belgium) Matilda (Goose Island) Aventinus Wheat Doppelbock (G. Schneider & Sohn, Germany) DJubal Ale, Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale (Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR) Hefe-Weissbier (Brauerei Weinstephaner, Germany) Consecration (Russian River) Nugget Nectar (Troegs, PA) Burton Baton (Dogfish Head) Schlenkerla Rauchbier (Brauerei Heller-Trum, Germany) Northwind Imperial Stout (Two Brothers, Chicago) Rothaus and Landbier (Grosswald Brauerei, Germany) Svijanska Knezna (Svijany, Czech Republic) EB Porter (Browar Elblag, Poland) Bamberger Rauchbier (7 Stern, Germany) Yuengling Traditional Lager (Yuengling Brewery, Pottsville, PA) Young's Double Chocolate Stout (Wells & Young, England) Iron City Beer (Iron City Brewing Co, Latrobe, PA) Gonzo Imperial Porter and K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale (Flying Dog, Frederick, MD) Allagash White Ale (Portland, ME)
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