America’s Best Beers
Posted By Christian DeBenedetti On October 5, 2009 @ 2:04 pm In Cover Stories,Food & Drink
Last spring we dropped into Copenhagen’s best bar, expecting to find it stocked with Scandinavian microbrews. But a strange thing happened: Beer from Brooklyn and San Diego ruled the place. What about the beer from your continent, bartender? “We can’t sell it,” he said. “They just want to drink your stuff.” That observation guided this year’s rankings: American craft brews now dominate. As once obscure breweries such as Stone have grown into institutions, a new crop of cult favorites has emerged — Left Hand, the Bruery — along with some world-class American beer cities. Now there’s no reason to travel farther than your nearest specialty grocery store for a perfect beer.
BEST DARK BEERS
1. Ommegang Three Philosophers
A blend of two classic Belgian styles, strong dark ale and cherry lambic, this beer perfectly combines dark warming goodness and hints of chocolate, cherry, and coffee, making it the best night-hued ale on Earth.
2. Pennichuck Feuer–Wehrmann Schwarzbier
This brew is roasty, with flavors of coffee, cocoa, and hints of smoke that will make you rethink dark beers completely.
3. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout
Despite coming in a can, this cinder-black espressolike 10 percent ABV elixir is great for special occasions.
1. Stone Levitation Ale
It has a deep amber body, roasted-malt flavors reminiscent of the finest English ales, and the sturdy dose of hops you’d expect from a leader of the West Coast’s “extreme beer” movement. The result is the tastiest session ale we’ve had this year.
2. Lagunitas IPA
Brewed with plenty of bite (from the hops) and kick (from the 5.7 percent ABV), but not so much that your taste buds turn to leather after two pints.
3. Odell 90 Shilling Scottish Ale
This incredibly drinkable Colorado brew is great in cold weather: warming and rich but not too heavy.
BEST BELGIAN STYLE
1. Flying Fish Exit 4
This tripel (a Belgian term signifying that a massive dose of grain has been used to create the mash, the first stage in the brewing process) has an ample hop bitterness that balances the fruity, grain-given heft.
2. Southampton Grand Cru
A strong, creamy-smooth Belgian-style ale that has appealing lashes of anise, coriander, and orange peel.
3. Bruery Orchard White
From the Bruery — Orange County’s cult hit — this spicy witbier is light on the tongue and has hints of dry apple.
BEST CUTTING EDGE
1. Allagash Confluence
Belgian yeast strains, German, American, and English hops, and a transatlantic medley of grains make for a perfect evening sipper that’s earthy, tart, and winelike on the front end, warm and creamy on the back end, and delicious throughout.
2. Deschutes Dissident
Flanders-style sour brown ale bursting with tart-sweet flavors that hang in an unlikely — but near perfect — balance.
3. Dogfish Head Squall IPA
Hoppy but shockingly drink-able, thanks to the brewmaster’s dedication to balancing insane quantities of hops and malt.
1. Left Hand Polestar
Because there are no overwhelming flavors to mask mistakes, pilsners are easy to screw up. Which makes a flawless one, like this delicate brew, with its perfect carbonation and enough malt to give it real flavor, that much more impressive.
2. Victory Prima Pils
Aggressive use of German and Czech hops gives this beer a fresh, grassy aroma and a spicy bite. This is the beer geek’s barbecue brew.
3. Full Sail Session Black
Just as refreshing as the beers above; the dark hue comes from the roasting of the grains, which adds a nice smoky twist.
To see ten more of the best beers in the U.S., along with the craft-brew-crazy cities that make them, click here.
This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Men’s Journal.
Article printed from Men's Journal: http://archive.mensjournal.com
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