Eric's Beer Blog

My online journal for beer (and other drinks) tasting, brewing, tourism, and general musings.

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Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My Favorite Beers



I am really bad at favorites. "What's your favorite movie/book/food/beer/etc." is one of my least favorite questions, because I have a terrible time coming up with anything other than "ummm." I can come up with a list of favorites, but not a single favorite anything.

So, since I am often in the position of being a "beer authority" (i.e., I've drunk more beer than most people I know), I am relatively often asked about my favorites. Here's my attempt, more or less off the top of my head, to list some of them.

5 Favorite Breweries:

  • Bar Harbor Brewing Co., Bar Harbor, ME. Three words: Cadillac Mountain Stout.
  • Dogfish Head Brewing Co., Delaware; all of their many beers are interesting, most are amazingly good, among them Aprihop, 60-, 90-, and 120-minute Ales, World Wide Stout...
  • Bell's Brewery, Kalamazoo, MI. Two-Hearted Ale, a variety of incredible stouts (including the inimitable Cherry Stout), various crazy seasonals.
  • Three Floyds Brewing Co., Munster, IN. All of their beers are fantastic-- Alpha King (pale ale), Robert the Bruce (Scottish, natch), Alpha Klaus (Xmas porter)... if only we could get them here in Minnesota!
  • Surly, right here in the Twin Cities. Bender and Furious, their first two beers, are both delicious. Their first anniversary beer, One, was astounding. And I've heard that their seasonal imperial stout, Darkness (released at Halloween) is something special.
5 Favorite Brewpubs:

  • Minneapolis Town Hall. I'm not just being biased because I live so close by. It is legitimately one of the very best in the country. Their Masala Mama IPA is nectar from heaven. Their insane seasonals (Cabernet Stout? c'mon!) make each visit exciting.
  • McNeill's, Brattleboro, VT. Really the first brewpub I visited, and still one of my favorites. The beer is all very good, but the atmosphere is what sets it apart. The closest I've ever seen in this country to a real neighborhood pub-- there are usually kids, dogs, and all kinds of people sitting around the long tables, playing darts, and enjoying a pint.
  • Bosco's, Germantown, TN (now relocated). This was my regular place for the 5 years I lived in Memphis. I'm not just being sentimental, either-- their beer was excellent, and the atmosphere superb. Amazing bartenders who treated regulars like royalty-- free drinks and/or food, first-name service...
  • Amnesia, Portland, OR. The latest one to get added to my list. Great beer, great atmosphere (complete with a brewhouse dog).
  • Great Dane, Madison, WI. Incredible number of beers available, and all of them excellent. Great service. A lovely place... and thank goodness it's not too far away!
Also in contention: Franklin's, Hyattsville, MD; Magnolia, San Francisco, CA; Dogfish Head (the brewpub), Rehobeth Beach, DE, Three Floyd's (brewpub), Munster, IN.

Five Favorite Beer Bars:

  • Toronado, San Francisco, CA. We've only been there once, but any bar that has a barleywine festival with approximately 50 barleywines ON TAP... well....
  • Rich O's, New Albany, IN. Actually also a brewpub and a fine one at that, but they also have an amazing selection of other beer. And good atmosphere.
  • Michael's Bistro, Charlottesville, VA. A small but fabulous and ever-changing beer list. Introduced me to some of my favorite beers...
  • The Saloon, Washington, DC. Again, a small list, but with stuff you don't ever see elsewhere (Urbock?), and a wonderful atmosphere, amazing bartender, great regulars...
  • The Happy Gnome, here in St. Paul. Excellent list, changes often, and regular casks. We need to go here more but we usually end up at their sister establishment the Muddy Pig (also great list, but no casks).
Also in the running: the Map Room in Chicago, but too crowded; RFD in DC, tremendous selection but crappy service and no atmosphere; Racer's in Baltimore, MD, only been there once, but it seems like a great place (and Geoff would agree).

5 Favorite Beers Not Mentioned Elsewhere in This Post:

  • Anchor Liberty Ale, Porter, and Our Xmas Beer (Anchor is too big to really be a microbrewery, but darned if everything they make isn't incredibly good)
  • Weyerbacher Raspberry Imperial Stout-- doesn't it just sound delicious?
  • Victory Storm King Stout-- Victory's beers are all good, but this one is world class.
  • Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout-- seems I've gotten on a bit of a stout kick...
  • Tilburg Dutch Brown Ale-- the only non-American beer I'd cross the street for. Frequently in our house as a great session beer.

Did I miss any?

4 Comments:

Blogger Pug&MooseMama said...

How about Eli Cannon's? The bar I thought all bars were like since it was the bar I first went to. Long tap list of good beers!

7:49 PM  
Blogger Pug&MooseMama said...

...beers on tap, I meant to say...

7:50 PM  
Blogger leigh andrew said...

check this out -
http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/09/28/travel/escapes/28BEER.html

1:48 AM  
Anonymous george whitefield said...

Coors Light RULES!

3:11 PM  

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