just brew it! wrote:
I don't think I could pick one (or even a dozen) favorite beers, because there are so many I really like. Some standouts: Orkney Brewing Skullsplitter; Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA; Goose Island Bourbon County Stout; Three Floyds Alpha King; Schneider Aventinus; Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen; Unibroue Fin Du Monde; Left Hand Smokejumper Porter; Flying Dog Raging Bitch; La Trappe Quadrupel; Liefman's Goudenband... and that's just the ones I could think of off the top of my head. I could also ramble on about favorite batches of homebrew I've made, or standout batches brewed by other people that I've tried at homebrew club meetings.
Maybe you can help me as you are obviously very experienced in this area. I'd really like to find some good microbrew beer in the USA. But by and large, other than a couple of exceptions (which, unfortunately, I can't recall at the moment) the effort has been futile.
Let's start with IPAs. I've spent a bit of time in the Boston and Chicago areas and have tried a number of microbrews that I could find on tap in local pubs that specialized in such beers, but have been largely disappointed. However, when I was in Boston, I frequently bought Harpoon IPA in bottles, as I found it to be fairly tasty and not offensive.
My issue, very crudely put, is that most of the time, when I've found a really flavorful and hoppy IPA, more often than not, it is has a terribly unbalanced finished - you really know that you're drinking a 6%+ beer on the finish. Out of the beers you've listed, I remember that I've tried Dogfish Head, Three Floyds and Goose Island beers, but unfortunately I can't remember which specific ones and how much I've liked them...
I know this is hugely biased, but I just feel, after my minor experience with American micro brewed IPAs, that I am better off with what I can get locally in Toronto. But I know that there must be much better American style IPAs than most of what I've had that are, well, brewed in America.
So, my question is this: Other than the Dogfish Head 90 min IPA, what else would you add to your top 5 (or so) US brewed IPAs?A couple of new excellent IPAs I've been impressed with in the Toronto Area are:
1) Spearhead Hawaiian Style Pale Ale (yes, it contains pineapple juice - this put me off at first - but upon trying, was not overly sweet at all and very good overall)
2) Muskoka Mad Tom IPA (A bit sweet on the finish for me, but overall, very nice and well balanced)Older local fave IPAs
1)Compass Starlight Ale
2)Mill Street Tank House Ale (this one is quite reserved for an IPA - only about 5% or 5.5%, but the added malts make it really flavorful and easy drinking)
3)Flying Monkey's Smash Bomb IPA (the atomic version is a little over the top for me, but still good)
4)Durham Hop Addict
5)Duggan's No. 9 and No. 99 IPA
6)Great Lakes Devil's Pale Ale (this one is not as well balanced and would probably loose a few marks if judged, but I still like it)
And as to answer the rest of the OP, for liquor, the Aberlour A'bunadh is a very nice single malt, and as for Champagne, I bet the bottle of Dom sitting in the fridge (received as a gift) is very good, but it will probably go off waiting for a special occasion to drink it