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Bottled beer for effete draft beer snob

I've gotten so spoiled by the great draft beer available in my area that most bottled beer now tastes bad to me. A couple of exceptions are Hoegarten and Guinness in the the trick nitrogen can. Any other suggestions?

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  1. Saison Dupont immediately comes to mind as a delicious beer that is widely available. Orval is also worth trying.

    You may also want to head to a specialty beer store. As specific beers can be hard to find, best to look for breweries. Some of my favorite Belgian breweries include De Koninck, Malheur, Cantillon for Lambics and Rodenbach (particularly the Rodenbach Grand Cru). Herold makes an excellent traditional Czech lager.

    1. Where do you live?

      Besides that, many bottle conditioned beers actually taste better than draft

      1. Berkeley, CA. When I say spoiled, I mean my usual pint at a bar is something like a cellar-temperature, cask-conditioned Racer 5 on a hand pump.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          No wonder you're spoiled...and I'm jealous!;)

          The west coast is just teeming with awesome bottled beer that I have absolutely no hope of even seeing here on the east (Deschutes, Alaskan, Bridgeport, Hair of the Dog, etc...), so do consider yourself lucky. Maybe you are just overchilling the bottles- that can make the hoppy beers seem a bit abrasive and overcarbonated.

          If that doesn't do the trick then you may want to try another direction and get some of those ales in the widget cans (Caffrey's, Tetley, etc).

          1. re: TongoRad

            No way I'm overchilling. My cooler is 60 degrees.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I'd say you were my kinda beer drinker but in truth you would probably find my beers too cold.

              Is it the carbonation that is at issue for you? How do you feel about the bottled Racer 5? In general terms we are talking about double the volumes of carbonation comparing cask conditioned ale (around 1 vol., maybe less) as opposed to the bottled version (or even 'draft', which is also a different product) (around 2.25 vol, maybe more). Additional filtration can also be an issue.

              It's difficult to get that cask experience outside of a pub, plus the casks themselves don't stay in good condition for too long once tapped so it's hard to pull off at home.

              1. re: TongoRad

                Guinness is great at 60 degrees but that is a bit warm for most beers.

                I've only had Racer 5 on draft and hand pump.

                1. re: TongoRad

                  This is actually to Robert but I can't reply to him - Robert tell me what you mean by 'most beers'. The joke in my house is that my husband likes beer he can eat with a fork - the smokier, darker, often chocolatey (if he feels like he's drinking spare ribs, he's happy) the better and he always wants them at room temp. Or were you speaking to lighter/summer beers? Just curious if there is some damage in taste done at room temp to dark beers.

                  1. re: TongoRad

                    I like smoky, dark beers at around 60 degrees but I don't think there's any harm to the flavor in drinking them warmer than that.

            2. hello, the closest bottled stuff can come to cask-conditioned hand pump draft are the bottle conditioned artisan beers,as suggested by MVNYC, which can be cellared and enjoyed at home. Try Omegang Belgian style (NY state brew that was so adept that a big Belgian brewery bought it), or one I just found from Russian River Brewing (S.Rosa)which has remarkable liveliness and fruitiness, Damnation Golden Ale (trident on the label), or in a Belgian, Affligen Dubel. cheers

              1. "Try Omegang Belgian style (NY state brew that was so adept that a big Belgian brewery bought it)"

                To be totally accurate, brewery Moortgat (along with two other belgian breweries) was a partner in Ommegang from the beginning (1997?). And they weren't so adept in the beginning, that is for sure - the beer was definitely not as good as it is now. But now they can't keep up with demand, and they are actually brewing some of the Ommegang Ommegang in Belgium and sending it back to the US.

                3 Replies
                1. re: LStaff

                  I guess I should give Ommegang another try. I visited the brewery a few years back and wasn't impressed with what I tasted. I skip the less expensive Ommegang bottles and go for Corsendonk, Kwak, or one of the Duvels at the grocery store........

                  1. re: LStaff

                    I tried it when it was new and it was so awful I just struck them from my list.

                    I have yet to try a Canadian Belgian-style beer I liked.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Do you like any of the Unibroue ales -- La Fin Du Monde, Maudite, etc.

                  2. I bought a case of each of the Hennepin and the Rare Vos for a recent party I had, and each case was attacked with fervor by my good beer drinking friends. For my money the Hennepin is the best taste/value on the shelf.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: oliveeater

                      Hennepin is a fantastic beer. One of my favorites. It's a saison-style ale. As good as it is, though, the best saison I've tasted is Fantome from Belgium. The most recent edition is amazing.

                      1. re: Josh

                        Saisons cover a lot of territory, from spritzy and bitter (e.g., Saison Dupont) to spicy and sour (Saison de Pipaix). I like sour beers, but would have to say that for this style I'm more on the Dupont end of the spectrum.

                        1. re: Jim Dorsch

                          You should definitely seek out the Fantome, then. The current release has a black-and-white label. It's not sour, but is spicy and spritzy.

                          1. re: Josh

                            I think that's the regular Fantome w/ the b/w label.

                            1. re: Josh

                              This inability to reply is lame.

                              Anyway, yes you're right -but the recipe changes every year. Also, Fantome releases seasonal beers with different labels. They had one brewed with cocoa pods last year, for example.

                      2. I'm not the snob, but my husband is: one of his favorites is Chimay (ya know, made my Trapist monks and all), and just the other day he had something called a 'darker guinness': Mother's Milk. He really liked it.

                        Whole foods carries lot's of monk-made brews and individual bottles that the beer snobs in my family go crazy for.

                        He would tell you the key is to make sure that your dark beers are room temp - but does that go without saying?

                        1. Well, not bottles, but 21st Ammendment in San Francisco now has IPA in cans (along with their popular, but weird, watermelon wheat).
                          Supposed to be good...

                          Otherwise, brew your own!

                          Oakland, CA