Friday, August 20, 2010

100th Post Special! - An Update Of My 10 Favorite Beers.

When I first started this blog... oh, around 100 posts ago... I put together a top 10 list of my favorite beers that you can see over on the right side of the page.  Since I put together that list, which I haven't updated... yet... I've been lucky enough to try many many more delicious beers, so I figured my 100th post was a good time to update my top 10 list!

In count-down order, of course:

Number 10: La Trappe Tripel (Koningshoeven)

This fantastic Dutch-brewed Belgian style ale is among my favorite tripels, which is generally one of my favorite styles.  It was #7 on the original list, so obviously it's slipped a few spots but still held on to the last spot in my top 10.  For more about this brew, check out my World Cup of Beer post on The Netherlands... featuring this very beer.


Number 9: Hitachino Nest White Ale

Hailing from the far east country of Japan, this is the lightest beer in my top 10, and the lowest in alcohol content.  Don't let that fool you into thinking this one doesn't have much flavor though, because it's a bold Japanese take on a Belgian witbier.  The Belgian ales are known in large part to their spices, as is the orient, so combining the two in the right way is a flavorful masterpiece like the Hitachino Nest White Ale.  Much like the La Trappe Tripel above, this one is a holdover from the original top 10, dropping from #6 to #9.  And also, like that one it was featured in the World Cup of Beer tour... representing Japan.


Number 8: St. Bernardus Abt 12

Another holdover, dropping from #5 to #8, the St. Bernardus Abt 12 is one of the top "quads" in the world and a beer that can be found in a few select places in BR such as Calandro's.  They are called "quads" in reference to the style known as a quadrupel.  They are generally stronger, darker, and bolder than the dubbels and tripels that precede them.  And the St. Bernandus version is a great example.  Pick one up if you want to give something new a trip, but if you're jumping straight from Bud Light or even Abita Amber... might not want to make this the first stop, instead try one of the two beers above.

Number 7: Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock

Another repeat, and another beer featured in the World Cup of Beer representing Germany!  This one is both the most reviewed and the highest ranked doppelbock on BeerAdvocate, so I think it's safe to say it might be the most popular example of the style in the world.  And with good reason, as it's a perfect example of the caramel malt feel one should expect from the style.  Easily available in Baton Rouge, give this one a try when you get the chance!

Number 6: Westmalle Tripel

This is the second 'Trappist' beer on my top 10, and it's widely considered to be one of the best tripels in the world.  It's also the first style to make a repeat appearance on the top 10, but that's really no surprise to me.  This is also another one that can be found in the BR area, I've seen it at Calandro's before for sure.

Number 5: Unibroue La Terrible

Canada, welcome to the top 10.  This is the first of three new entries into the top 10, and the only one from North of the border.  Unibroue is better known for their tripel, La Fin Du Monde, but this Belgian Strong Dark Ale (BSDA) is my favorite offering of theirs, so far.  This one is a delicious blend of caramel malts, raisin, and boozy alcoholic goodness.  One of my notes in the review was that it reminded me of a rich bread pudding.


Number 4: Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout

Another newcomer to the list, this monster out of Great Divide Brewing in Colorado is unfortunately not available in Louisiana... but you can get some in Texas!  A few snippets from my notes when I reviewed this one:  "Looks fucking amazing. Easily one of the best looking beers I've seen in a while."  "It smells of bitter chocolate, a little dark roast coffee as well... very nice."  "One of the best Imperial Stouts I've ever tried. I'm really enjoying this one so far."  So apparently I really liked it!  Next time you're in Houston or even Beaumont, stop in at Spec's and bring a few of these back to me.  Thanks.  


Number 3: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale

I actually picked this one up at the Spec's in Beaumont on the same trip as the Yeti Imperial Stout above, and I'd say I hit the jackpot with these two.  Stone is available in Louisiana these days, but I have yet to see this particular offering on the shelves.  If I ever do, I'm going to be buying a few for sure.  It's considered an American Strong Ale by the good people at BeerAdvocate, and it reminded me a lot of a really really ridiculously good Double IPA.  Super hoppy, dominated by pine scents and flavors.  It tasted a lot like drinking a freshly cut Christmas tree.  So... if that sounds appealing to you, find one of these.


Number 2: Chimay Grand Reserve

Recognized as the Blue Chimay, this one is an old standard and still holds a high place on my top 10.  Another one of the 'Trappist' breweries in Belgium, Chimay produces world-class beers and if I wasn't limiting this top 10 to only one per brewery, their dubbel (red label) would also make the cut based on my review scores.  Easy to find all over BR, even at places like Albertson's, grab one without hesitation next time you want to try something new.

And that brings us to the number 1 beer on my updated top 10 list... and the view at the top has not changed...

Number 1: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout

Unfortunately this is one that isn't available anywhere close to BR, but it brings back fond memories of a trip to Chicago and a true introduction to how awesome barrel-aged beers can be.  This offering from Goose Island is one I first had on tap at the Wrigleyville brewpub.  The bourbon flavors are immense, but blend well with notes of vanilla and chocolate.  Maybe one day these guys will be available in BR, but until then, whenever you're up in the Midwest, find one and give it a try.



A few notes about this list... I only considered beers that I had been able to properly review for this list... I've had the pleasure of many tastings recently, but it's not fair to compare a tasting of a beer that I had mixed in with 10 others in a night to beers that I've been able to really review properly.  This unfortunately eliminated some great offerings from Brooklyn, and Russian River, among others... but hey, it's all an inexact science anyway!

Cheers!