I’m an enthusiast, but even I didn’t think I’d be THIS enthusiastic about the top beer on my Holiday Drinking List.
Here’s the background: I’m Dave, the suburban dad. I live in Chicagoland, and I said goodbye to a friend over the holidays. That friend? Dominick’s. The Super Market.
Their loss is our gain, as their Going Out Of Business Sale meant 30% off on a whole bunch of stuff. We stocked up and then some and I said “ALL THE BEERS” in all caps and the drinking commenced.
THEN…I went to a beer hall place, and they did a Flight Thing and I enjoyed that, too.
So it’s A LOT of BEER!
In true Metasip fashion, here all all of the ones I tried. However…we’re going to rank them in reverse order because that’s the way to ensure that you make it all the way to the bottom. Because you won’t believe what was Number One.
Here goes nothing:
Part of the “Six Pack Sampler” from ye olde brew pub. I’ve had this before, and I’ll have it again, I’m sure. Nothing to write home about. Grade: B-.
(Let’s talk just a little bit about this “Six Pack Sampler.” I paid, I don’t know, ten bucks? For a flight of six beers. And each pour was 5 ounces. Math was never my strong suit…But upon further review, if a “B-” beer is the worst of the six, and you’re getting 2 1/2 bottles of premium stuff for ten bucks…this, my friends, is a deal.)
Let’s now talk about the biggest surprise of the batch:
Why was this the biggest surprise? I thought, frankly, that it would be atrocious.
Dare I say it was at least drinkable – but, sadly, it can’t get a grade of “B.” It’s a B-, because…
Well, I was expecting “gingerbread” the whole time. I got some of the molasses and a little of the sweetness, but not much else by way of flavor. Incredibly average, but exceeded expectations.
The Pretty Good…
#13: Anchor Christmas – B
5.5%ABV (according to YOBP*) and didn’t knock you down. Special Holiday Ale, whatever that means. Not insanely hoppy, folks. So that’s good. Give it a grade of “B.”
*Ye Olde Brew Pub.
BTW, it’s lower left in the photo of the six little glasses above.
I’m guessing that “IPL” means “India Pale Lager.”
I didn’t know what to expect…so this wasn’t unexpected in that it tasted like something I didn’t expect (thus making it expected, I guess, and making this a run-on sentence).
Should have called it “IPA.” Came as part of a Samuel Adams Multi-Pack. I give it a solid B.
The “Yes, I Would Like Another” Group…
#11: Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale – B+
On like a pot of neck bones.
Everything Bell’s does is pure hoppy goodness. This, too, but, in true “Pale Ale” fashion, not overly hoppy.
This also makes us pine for summer and think about Oberon. “B+” grade.
Not “Pale Ale.” Just…”Pale.”
Pales in comparison to their other stuff, though. I expected a little bit more – this one was tried AFTER one of their other brews was tried. (FORESHADOWING: it’s one we really really liked.)
#9: Allagash Hugh Malone – B+
Hoppy, with an extra dose of alcohol. 7.8% ABV. I only finished one-half of the 5 ounces. Good thing.
As is the beer – “Floral Belgian…brewed with Maine Barley.” Thanks to YOBP for the notes. Liked it.
Pictured above, second from left in the front.
#8: New Belgium Rampant – B+
Most of what New Belgium does is gonna be rock-solid. This, too, falls into that category. But it’s also served with a fair warning:
8.5% ABV. See above about “not finishing the whole thing.”
(It’s also part of the photo above of the sixer.)
BREAK TIME…Random Liquor…
Beautiful stuff. Not your father’s Peppermint Schnapps.
(Actually, this WAS my father’s Peppermint Schnapps. He loved this stuff. Cheers!)
The “Make a Special Trip” Category…
#7: Old Speckled Hen – A-
This British ale has “wonderful warm flavors of malt and toffee.” And it does. Plus, it’s not TOO heavy – 5.2% ABV – and has a nice color to it. (The lightest of the six in the photo above – upper right corner.)
Boom! And from San Diego. Like hoppy? This is for you.
They’ve got a tremendous reputation out west. As well they should.
Chicago represents! If you’re in San Diego and you’re a Stone fan, you should probably hunt these Revolution folks down. Good stuff – this, though, is not as hoppy as Stone, or as other stuff from Revolution. “Belgian Pale Ale.” Right about right.
Color me SHOCKED. This was quite quite good – just a hair short of an “A” grade. The “Latitude 48” refers to just where they get the hops from. Says so on the bottle, but check your map, too.
The Primo Stuff. Grade A. Top-Flight…
You can’t expect that I, the one who at one point anointed this “BBKTM*,” would give this anything less than an A, did you?
(*Best Beer Known To Man.)
It is still one of my all-time faves. People who are really into craft beer will call me a sell-out. I don’t care. It’s a beaut.
#2: Three Floyds Robert the Bruce – A
Also, beer snobs point to Munster, Indiana as the HQ for all things hip, since that’s where Three Floyds operate. All three of them. The Floyds. (Above, it’s in the middle of the back row.)
This, according to YOBP, is 6.5% ABV. And yes, it out-ranked the BBKTM on this ranking. Maybe it was our mood.
But…it wasn’t the winner. The winner…well, let’s just say that, before you start judging books by their covers – like WE DID – remember that it’s what’s inside the bottle that counts.
Something jumped out about this one. It was downright glorious – “red ale” to us means closer to “Belgian” or “pale.” But also enough hop, enough malt, and a little bit of that toffee…Without a doubt the “best in breed” on this holiday.
So, what was the point of all this?
And how did “His Favorite…Change The Way You Think About Craft Beer”?
More than just clickbait – the goal is to get you to think a little differently about what you buy, what you try, and what you think.