Fifty Best Beers
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  Country: United States  
  Style: Wheat - Witbier  

Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Blanca
Dexter, Michigan

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales produces sour versions of many typical beer styles. Calabaza Blanca is a bottle conditioned, sour, wheat ale, spiced with orange peel and coriander. Brewed in the biere blanche tradition of Belgium, with a sour twist. Rather acidicly pungent, the hazy yellow, pale colored ale has a huge white head and sour flavors over a relatively smooth malt back. Evident is a funky taste of apples, bubble gum from the wheat and an ever-present sour linger.

Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Blanca

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Kern River Citra DIPA
Kernville, California

In the southern region of California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range is the small town of Kernville, where a small brewpub produces tasty IPAs that only recently became available in bottles. The Citra DIPA is a hazy, pale colored masterpiece of hops and malt balance. The key ingredient is the Citra hops from the Yakima Valley in Washington State. Juicy fruit sweetness presides over a ton of earthy pinecone flavors, with an aroma redolent of mangoes and ripe fruit. If it were possible to squeeze a pinecone into a glass, this may be what it would taste like. Caramel malts give this ale its chewy and thick body. DIPA has a bitterness reading of 75 IBUs and an 8% ABV. Kern River DIPA took home a Gold Medal in 2011 at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. One of the best Imperial IPAs in the U.S.

Kern River Citra DIPA

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: Pilsener  

Lagunitas Czech Pils
Petaluma, California

About half an hour to the north of San Francisco, Lagunitas Brewing Company produces mostly hoppy, West Coast ales that do not compromise flavor and bitter bite. However, their spin off on a Bohemian Pilsner is rather spot on. A pure golden color with a creamy off-white head exudes aromas of grains, bread and floral bouquets. The first sip is slightly spicy and crisp with a sweet malty finish reminiscent of a warm loaf of bread. The bottom-fermented yeast that survives at low temperatures leaves this beer at 6.2% ABV. This higher alcohol is a deviation from Czech beer traditions and is common among American craft brewers who usually create much stronger takes on the Pilsner style.

Lagunitas Czech Pils

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: Wild Ale  

Lost Abbey Cable Car
San Marcos, California

Cable Car from Lost Abbey Brewing is a division of Port Brewing, the highly decorated brewpub and brewery in Southern California. With a cabinet full of awards to display their pedigree, the brewers set out to create a sour ale for their friends at Toronados, a preeminent beer bar in San Francisco. Cable Car is sour from the funky Brettanomyces yeast, providing an acidic sour quality and dry, earthy finish (think sour dough bread). There is a load of lemon tang on this medium bodied, well-carbonated 7% ABV ale. Aptly celebrates Toronados’ 20-year reign over the San Francisco beer culture.

Lost Abbey Cable Car

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: Pilsener  

Moonlight Reality Czeck-Style Pils
Fulton, California

Reality Czeck is the Moonlight Brewing Company's ode to western Czech-style lagers. At 4.9% ABV, this is a typical pilsner with its very golden color and slight floral snappiness from Bohemian heritage hops. The beer is soft and delicate with subtle grassy notes and overall grainy taste. Clean and extremely sessionable, Reality Czeck proves that a light beer can still be full of flavor and invigorating to the senses.

Moonlight Reality Czeck-Style Pils

 

  Country: United States  

New Glarus Belgian Red
New Glarus, Wisconsin

New Glarus Brewing Company is a Wisconsin State staple. The beers of New Glarus are not distributed very far from where they are brewed, making Wisconsin an unlikely travel destination for beer enthusiasts the world over. The Belgian Red is brewed with whole Montmorency cherries found in Door County, Wisconsin. Hallertau hops, Wisconsin local wheat and Belgian roasted barleys are blended before being stored in oak tanks and aged for a year. There is over a pound of cherries in every bottle. The ale is bright, ruby red in color and bursting with cherry flavors and cherry aromas. The tart cherry quality is the main component with a very smooth, vanilla-like oaky finish. Only 4% ABV, but packed with layers of flavor. The carbonation is a nice counterpoint to the puckering sour cherry flavor. New Glarus calls the Belgian Red, “the marriage of wine and beer.” Great pairing with sorbet or raw sheep’s milk cheeses.

New Glarus Belgian Red

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: Imperial Stout  

North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
Fort Bragg, California

North Coast Brewing Company pays tribute to the original ales shipped from England to the Russian Imperial Courts with their Old Rasputin Stout. Accompanied by flavors that never fade and a 9% ABV, this stout packs a wallop. “Old Raspy” has a thin, nutty brown head and rich sweet aroma. A combination of roasted malts and chocolate flavors conceal a very warming, bitter taste. A fine balance of coffee bitterness, bold cocoa flavors and a hop bite in the back leaves the palate craving for desserts to pair with. This big stout is a great addition to a moist chocolate cake or rich pudding.

North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: Scottish Ale  

Odell 90 Shilling Ale
Fort Collins, Colorado

The flagship ale from Odell Brewing Company, introduced at the brewery’s opening party back in 1989. 90 Shilling is a lighter take-off on the traditional Scottish ale style. The Scottish method of naming beer is based on original gravity and the resulting taxes issued. A 5.3% ABV shows that this is not true Scottish ale, but a modern version that is not alcohol laden and heavy like its predecessors. An amber colored body with a light tan head conjures up aromas of dark fruits and sweet caramel. Toasty flavors and smooth finish make this ale extremely drinkable.

Odell 90 Shilling Ale

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: Imperial Stout  

Oskar Blues Ten FIDY
Lyons, Colorado

Oskar Blues Brewing Company describes their big imperial stout as, “the beer equivalent of decadently rich milkshake made with whopper malted-milk balls and heaven’s best chocolate ice cream.” It has a quickly dissipating chestnut-brown colored head with aromas of malt chocolate and licorice. There is a surprising hop bitterness that cuts through everything up front. The bitterness continues from roasted malts, as well. As the name Ten FIDY implies, it’s at 10.50% ABV. Warm with alcohol flavor on the finish, but never overly boozy. Made with two-row malts, chocolate malts, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. The hop bite provides a 98 IBU bitterness reading. Wave after wave of chocolate goodness fills every sip. Ten FIDY is the best stout in a can.

Oskar Blues Ten FIDY

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Russian River Pliny the Elder
Santa Rosa, California

A smooth Double IPA from the Russian River Brewing Company is all it is hyped up to be. An absolute classic clocking in at 8% ABV. The ale is named for the Roman scholar and naturalist who first named the hop plant and studied them. Pliny the Elder named hops, “lupus salictarius,” meaning, “wolf among scrubs.” The beer is made with 40% more malt and two times the amount of hops used in the Russian River IPA, a single IPA product from the same brewery. A sticky, beige head leaves tons of lacing as the yellowish-orange nectar is gulped down. The aromas include oranges, floral centerpieces and notes of pine. The cream factor that makes this beer smooth and incredibly drinkable is what separates this from other Double IPAs of its kind. A very subtle bite and overall taste with big, bright aromas and malty reinforcement.

Russian River Pliny the Elder

 



 
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