Top 10 – Beers
Completely different, but since we’re in the middle of summer and I’ve been outside grilling more, I thought it could be fun to do. So what does grilling have to do with beer, it’s a rare situation that I’m not grilling with a beer in my hands. I’ve been using Untapped for a while now (you can find me there as TheScando) and I’ve rated 1081 different unique beers. So join me as I go through my Top 10 beers.
10 – Goose Island Bourbon County
This is a big and bold beer with a lot of great barrel aged flavor to it. It doesn’t work for a light beer fan sitting at 14.7% ABV and being very dark and almost syrupy. It has hits of chocolate and coffee bitterness coming through that help balance out this big flavor. I’m generally a big fan of these darker barrel aged beers during the winter here in Minnesota when you want something that just kind of sticks with you. There are others similar to this that could have made the list as well, but because it’s a limited release it makes it feel just a bit more special.
9 – Steel Toe Size 7
Now onto more of a summer beer for me, though I will drink IPA’s throughout the year. Steel Toe is a local brewery that actually does three different versions of this be, a Size 4, Size 7, and Size 11, which refers to the ABV. I personally like the Size 7 best, the Size 4 is just a bit too light whereas the Size 11 is a bit to malty, the Size 7 gives you that good beer body while balancing it out nicely with the hops.
8 – Deschutes Zarabanda
This was one of the first odder beers that I tried and really loved, unfortunately I don’t believe it’s put out by Deschutes anymore, or if it is, it’s going to be at their tap room only. Zarabanda had a lot of unique flavors to it including peppercorn, it was just a fun one to try and something so very different. I hope, maybe, Deschutes would consider bringing this one back for a limited run at some point in bottles so that I could enjoy it again.
I also got to try this at one for the first Tryptophania’s that a local bar does the night before Thanksgiving. It’s a great even where you just show up like normal, but they’ll have a guest brewer doing a tap takeover and you’ll be able to try beers that you wouldn’t normally see on tap. They’ve had Deschutes, New Holland, and Indeed as various breweries that have done it.
7 – Deschutes Fresh Squeezed
Back to back Deschutes, but this one is more straight forward. Fresh Squeezed is just a good citrusy IPA. And most of the time when I want an IPA, I like it to have a bit of that grapefruit bite to it. Fresh Squeezed definitely has some of that. It’s an odd beer that I think works much better in a bottle than in a can. The can just tweaks the flavor slightly so that it doesn’t work as well. The only knock on this beer for me is that it’s best when it’s perfectly cold, if it gets too warm on a summer’s day, it isn’t as good.
6 – Surly Axe Man
Another IPA for the list Surly Axe Man (formerly known as Todd the Axe Man) is a pretty big IPA. Sitting just over 7%, it’s not that much stronger but it just has a good consistent flavor. It has the citrus flavor that I really love. A bit harder to find, this beer is very much worth it though and is another one that just has that great summery taste to it.
5 – Insight Crazy Aunt
Now for something completely different again. This beer is out there as a Gin and Tonic style beer. And it does taste a good amount like a gin and tonic, maybe just a bit sweeter. Canned it is a great refreshing taste but, oddly enough, not as good on tap. I actually think the slight metallic taste that it can pick up from a can cuts down on the sweetness that you still get on the tap making it a better and more balanced flavor profile. If you want to try something completely different, this is amazing.
4 – Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
Another great winter beer, I could have gone with the CBS instead of the KBS, but the CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout) has more of a sweet note to it with the maple syrup. This is another one of those big barrel aged stouts that really holds up well in the winter. I wouldn’t drink this beer in the summer at all just because of the darkness and heaviness of the beer, but it is great for sticking to your ribs as you drink it. If you want to try a big barrel aged stout, I’d probably start here or Dragon’s Milk from New Holland.
3 – East Lake Nicollet Nicollet Mauler Mauler
The Nicky Nicky Mau Mau as I know it, this is the double black IPA version of the Nicollet Mauler a black IPA. So you get a good malty flavor, but unlike a stout or a porter, you have less of that sweet malt backbone, instead you get more of the dark roasted malt flavors then with a strong hit of the hops. This one is another one that isn’t being brewed anymore, but I hope comes back at some point. Fortunately, I can brew an double black IPA myself that is basically the same, so hopefully this winter I’ll be able to drink something like it again.
2 – Mikkeller Brewing Raspberry Blush
Now, I’m normally not a fan of the fruity beers unless they are very sour, but this one just is fascinating and really good. It’s a raspberry coffee berliner weisse, so technically a sour, but it isn’t as sour as most sours. The coffee note balances it all out and creates a very unique flavor that I just really love. I’ve had it on tap and in cans and either way it is just really good. Definitely an interesting flavor profile, but a good side step from your traditional sour.
1 – Odell St. Lupulin
Finally, another one that isn’t being brewed anymore, which is a real shame. If I could only drink one brew for the rest of my life, this would have been it. It was light and refreshing with a great hop profile, but not one that just tasted like a summer beer but it had more depth to it than that, even if it was only brewed for the summer months. The hop profile is less citrus on this and more floral in terms of the profile, but not potpourri floral, but more hop fragrance. BRB, just found that it’s available on one of their variety 12 packs, but if you’re an IPA/EPA fan, definitely worth checking out.
Now, there are so many more beers that I could list, and I’ll probably do a top 10 brewery list coming up here soon because I can talk about more of them then. There’s the Lazer Cat (Elysian Day Glow IPA) that just missed the list as well as a massive collection of coffee beers and barrel aged stuff that I have also enjoyed. And even stuff like Light Hearted, a low ABV IPA that I’ve found that I’ve really enjoyed recently on summer days.
What are some of your favorite beers? Are there any that you think would make my list if I tried them?
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