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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

These favored few...Sarah's 5 favorite beers

This man knows what he is
talking about. (Original here)

Skye and I had a debate as to how one person really chooses his or her FAVORITE beers. I agree with Fred Eckhardt (who I don’t believe is the original person to say this), saying that my favorite beer is the one in my hand right now. Unfortunately, Skye thought this was a cop out (and he sounded a little annoyed when I told him this answer), so here I go, thinking through my FAVORITE beers... it’s funny how I can commit to marriage and yet I feel as though I’m cheating on beer by listing my favorites.

Here are my top five beers, in NO particular order.

1. Cambridge Brewing Company’s Great Pumpkin Ale

When one thinks about pumpkin flavored beer, usually you immediately think about the spices that are in pumpkin pies. That is why this beer is so GREAT! It isn’t pumpkin pie spices, it’s actual pumpkin. As quoted on CBC’s website:
“CBC’s Great Pumpkin Ale is brewed with 150 pounds of fresh, locally grown, organic sugar pumpkins in each batch, and it has an appropriately distinct orange hue.”
The Brewer may HATE creating this beer, but the fans love it (and insist upon it). I love the high carbonation and slight spice of the beer. To note, I have a soft spot in my heart for this beer because the first time I had it was the night I met my wife for the first time...awwww!

2. New Glarus Spotted Cow
This was an easy choice for me. I simply asked myself: “self, what beer would you want on your death bed?” This was the answer, even if it is a bit macabre.

3. Smuttynose IPA
Many a summer night has been spent where I’ve kicked back and drank a few Smuttynose IPAs. The hoppy flavor is perfectly balanced by the bitterness, making it worthy of session drinking. If I still lived on the East Coast, I’m sure I’d have this always stocked in my fridge. To note - it was very hard picking one IPA, since this is my favorite style of beer.

4. St. Bernardus Abt 12
My wife, also an avid beer drinker, introduced me to the world of Belgian beers. While many of them can be a bit too sweet for my palette, the St. Bernardus Abt 12 is bready, earthy, and over all just a fantastic beer. One where you just can’t stopping drinking when it’s in front of you...then you realize it’s a 10.5% ABV and think: “oh shit...” well it was worth it!

5. Double Mountain IRA
Since I promised myself I wouldn’t choose two IPAs (the Hop Lava is a fantastic beer by Double Mountain), it was easy to pick the IRA by Double Mountain as a favorite beer. This decision was made simple when I asked myself - “self, what beer would you miss the most if you no longer lived on the West Coast?” This one was the answer! With its lovely complex flavors of malts and a kick of hops (okay, so it’s technically an IPA, you got me there!) its a mouthful of happiness at all hours of the day, including breakfast (have you been to the Horse Brass in Portland, Oregon, for soccer and a traditional English style breakfast? trust me, you will want this beer, especially on cask, for this occasion).

Honorable Mentions:

Bells Two Hearted Ale
Hops and malts balance perfectly in this hearty (nice pun!) ale. Every time I go home to Wisconsin I buy this as my second beer (right after my Spotted Cow).

Founder’s Red Rye
Dry hopped and packed with bitter, this beer is filled with great, complex taste, and fantastic pairing abilities. Another beer I would stock all the time if I lived where I can buy it.

{ prost! }

Sarah James
Editor and Writer for Beer Meets Cheese (

Thanks Sarah! Go check out her site. Next up is Brian!

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