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One Brewery

You can only have the beers of one brewery for the rest of your life. Which one would you choose?
Keep in mind how much style variety you want and the availability. Nothing but Westy forever may seem like a good idea but are you willing to make regular jaunts to Belgium or spend your life savings on ebay in order to get it? And you'd have to give up stouts for the rest of your life!
My answer:
If Port Brewing/Lost Abbey is considered one brewery I would choose them, if not; Deschutes.

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  1. My homebrewery. :-)

    But in the commercial realm, Sierra Nevada. I don't deviate much from SN now, even with all the choices out there. Date stamped cases boxes and bottle labels and thier seasonal schedule ensure freshness, great prices, and even as they continue to grow larger and larger, quality is still there.

    1. First off, the brewery would have to have a dynamite, grapefruity IPA. It would also need to brew a variety of interesting stouts and porters - coffee, chocolate, and maybe, bourbon barrel. Some accomplishment in Belgian styles would also be a pre-requisite.

      That narrows it down somewhat.

      I'll further winnow the list to those breweries who produce regularly available quantities of each of these styles. Out go Goose Island, Captain Lawrence, Pisgah, Shorts, Tyranena, Three Floyds and Founders.

      I like the Port Brewing/Lost Abbey idea, but they have been having carbonation problems recently and need to work those out. Deschutes is a darn good choice, too. But I am also thinking Bell's and Southern Tier.

      For me, the winner is Southern Tier. While their IPA is not at the top of my list, I love the variety of stouts they produce and their Cuvee series has some Belgian influence.

      1. For abrewery with a beer for every mood or season done well, I'ld have to go with Victory

        1. Deschutes is awesome, but living in Chicago I'd have to go with Three Floyd's. Runner's up would be Souther Tier, Dogfish Head, Goose Island, or Founders.

          1. If Pilsner Urquell was available reliably fresh, not skunked and in the orginal process, then it would win hands down. The aroma wafting off a freshly drawn pint just knocks me out. My fave ever. Too bad it's much abused now.

            1. I'd go with Victory as well. Almost all their beers are excellent and their range is fantastic. They do certain basic beers really well that you dont see that often in big beer america now. While their big beers are very good too. And their one offs and seasonals are always innovative and interesting. Id also give consideration to Capital Brewery, Three Floyds and Hauf Brau.

                1. I'm with LStaff...It would have to be my home brewery, hands down and without question my first and preferred choice. There just aren't many commercial breweries out there these days making the beer I like.

                  On the commercial side of things, after some difficult and careful consideration from the likes of Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams, Stone, and Fuller's I ultimately decided that it would be none of these favorites. I don't drink "seasonal" (the very idea is a bit pointless to me) so that didn't factor in at all.
                  So...I not only narrowed it down to one brewery, but a single beer...the venerable and world class Scotch ale, Traquair House Ale.

                  Second choice would be Fuller's (anything they make), no question about it.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: The Professor

                    If I was drinking nothing but home brew I'd have to invest a lot more time into brewing. My current two batches a year wouldn't cut it.
                    Disagree about seasonals; I enjoy changing styles with the seasons. It seems to fit right in with seasonal food choices and weather.

                    1. re: tofuburrito

                      That's cool. I am a pretty dedicated homebrewer (have been for 38 years) so it really is part of my routine, as I try to do at least 2 batches a month (mainly so I always have well-aged beer on hand).
                      Regarding the seasonals...I know that a lot of folks like to drink seaonal and that's fine...there are certainly lots of choices out there.
                      But as for me, I enjoy a Scotch Ale or a hefty Porter just as much in the summer as I do in the winter. I don't drink my beer (of any type) practically frozen anyway, regardless of the season.

                      1. re: The Professor

                        I agree with your views on drinking what you like, no matter the season. But the importance I was stressing on SN seasonals was that due to their limited availability each year, it helps to ensure that you are getting fresh beer. Way too many old, stale, oxidized craft beers (imports, domestics, and even local/regionals) on the shelf today to be taking a gamble with my money imo.

                        1. re: LStaff

                          LStaff...a VERY good point regarding the season freshness factor!

                    1. re: Josh

                      That's interesting. I'd figure you for a small SD brewery or a tiny Belgian brewery. Is it the breadth of styles?

                      1. re: Jim Dorsch

                        Rogue's palette has depth and breadth, with great everyday beers as well as special occasion beers.

                        Smoke Ale, Chipotle Ale, Mom's Hefeweizen, Double Dead Guy, Old Crustacean, St. Rogue Red, Imperial IPA, Oregon Golden Ale, Chocolate Stout, Shakespeare Stout, Chamomellow, Mocha Porter, Soba Ale, etc. Not many breweries out there I've encountered with their kind of variety and quality.

                        1. re: Josh

                          Thinking totally one-dimensionally, I'm tempted to pick Sierra Nevada for Bigfoot alone.

                          1. re: Jim Dorsch

                            I'd pick 'em for the Stout alone, but I really do love the rest of their lineup (including the Bigfoot). The porter and pale ale, in particular, seem to have quite a bit more finesse than their counterparts from other breweries, and the seasonals offer just enough variety (and occasional excellence) for me.

                            If I could get Deschutes on the east coast it might be a tougher call for me. I've been a fan since the early 90's, and was even ordering it by the case through Belmont Station for a while there. But those shipping costs really do add up.

                            But, also thinking one-dimensionally, I would consider Alaskan just for the Smoked Porter. I like their Amber just fine, but am not that familiar with the rest of their lineup. With that porter, though, I'd be willing to take the chance (if cost wasn't a factor, of course...)

                            1. re: TongoRad

                              The Alaskan IPA, Pale Ale & Summer Ale are all solid offerings in my opinion.

                          2. re: Josh

                            Agreed about Rogue. And don't forget their rich, dark, complex Mogul Ale; after Shakespeare Stout, it's my favorite of their beers.

                            I also love their American Amber and Santa's Private Reserve ales. The SPR is supposedly an especially hoppy version of the St. Rogue Red.

                      2. Mercury Brewing (producer of the Ipswich ales), Rogue, or Sierra Nevada.

                        1. Russian River hands down. They two Pliny's, RR IPA, and Blind Pig IPA are incredible beers and always satiate my hop fix. Their Parking Violation is my favorite American Pale Ale; the Porter is great; Hop 2 It is almost always a great single hop ale; and Happy Hops and Aud Blonde are nice session beers. The OVL Stout and Dead Leaf Green are not my favorites, but still good renderings of a nitro stout and English Pale. They even make a Pils.

                          Then you have all of the great sours. From Compunction to Consecration to Supplication, they are all good.

                          They also have a nice Abbey in Redmption, Benediction for a Dubbel, and Mortification for a Quad. Damnation is a great Belgian Stong Pale and Salvation is a very good Belgian Strong Dark ale. Perdition is a good Bier de Garde.

                          Second place I would probably give to Bell's. Every beer I have tried from them has been quite good. Other runner ups include Deschutes, Lagunitas, Stone, and Alpine.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: pininex

                            I almost picked Russian River. It was a tossup between them and Rogue. While I generally prefer Russian River's beers to Rogue's, Rogue edges them out just in terms of quantity of beers I could see myself drinking on a routine basis. I love Pliny, Consecration, Temptation, Redemption, Beatification, and Sanctification.

                            1. re: Josh

                              I have nothing but love for Rogue and Russian River but for me it's an issue of limited style availability.

                              1. re: Josh

                                They are both great breweries and between Russian River's brewpub and Rogue's brewpub in SF they get too much of my money.

                            2. My first thought was AleSmith. They brew a fantastic pale ale, X, at around 5% ABV and loaded with hops, one of my favorite everyday beers. Their IPA is awesome and Summer YuleSmith is one of my very favorite strong or double IPA's. Nautical Nut Brown is delicious and sessionable, Li'l Devil is a nice Belgian ale, and Speedway is among my favorite imperial stouts. They brew two styles that are usually not among my favorites, Scotch ale and barley wine, yet I really enjoy their versions of them. I also like their seasonal ales and I've loved the Decadence series so far, plus their barrel aged beers are amazing.
                              The downside? I'm not crazy about either of their Belgian strong ales, and they don't brew anything sour. Also, the whole lineup is not nearly as big as some other brewers.
                              I suspect I would choose Russian River if I had better access to a wide range of their beers. But in reality, Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig are the only RR beers I can regularly get without a special effort.
                              Also a hypothetical choice, New Glarus brews fantastic beers in a ridiculous range of styles. Once again, though, I don't have access.
                              Port/ Lost Abbey brews a great IPA in Wipeout, a monster IIPA in Hop 15, great strong dark ale in Old Viscosity, lots of Belgian and sour beers that I love, but not much below 7% alcohol on a regular basis.
                              Overall, it must be Port/ LA for me. I'd have to drink a bit less, but Devotion, Red Barn, and Wipeout are beers I'd enjoy every day, the seasonals are great, they have great dark beers in several styles, and the sour beers are world class. And yes, I know their have been some problems/ inconsistencies with Angels' Share, but that beer is hardly the linch pin of their lineup. Plus, I just remembered they brew Hot Rocks, a delicious and pretty sessionable Dunkel.
                              Port/ Lost Abbey, final answer.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: juantanamera

                                Speedway is among my favorites as well but the only place I can get it is Boneyard Bistro.
                                Port has the Sharkbite Red at under 7% and to me would fill that niche for a sitting outside on a hot day beer and for less adventurous guests.

                                1. re: tofuburrito

                                  You're right Tofu, I forgot about Shark Bite, a very solid amber ale at 5.5%. I also forgot that Witch's Wit is under 5% and Midnight Sessions lager, their delicious schwarzbier, is about 5%. They really do a great job with a lot of styles.

                              2. Bell's IS my homebrewery! Not a bad position to be in. They started out in the basement of a bakery just down the street from here. Heck, I remember when "Oberon" was still called "Solsun" (before it was discovered that there was already a Solsun out of, I think, Mexico) and you could buy 20 oz bottles in the grocery store and declare yourself useless for the rest of the evening. I could be happy forever with the holy trinity of Bell's Best Brown, Bell's Amber, and Bell's Two-Hearted.

                                1 Reply
                                1. This is not easy. In order of preference;

                                  Hall & Woodhouse
                                  JW Lees
                                  Samuel Smith
                                  Dogfish (why not?)

                                  1. Bell's, Rogue, Mercury Brewing, or Sierra Nevada.

                                    Mercury brewing would be at or near the top of the list if their range included a west coast-style IPA; SN would be there if their stout had more malty richness.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Kenji

                                      I would have to agree with Bell's or Troeggs

                                      1. re: DapperDave

                                        Troeg's should be on my list, too.

                                    2. Smuttynose Brewing Company of Portsmouth, NH.

                                      1. Fuller's , hands down winner in my book

                                        1. Betraying my Bay Area/West Coast bias, just because of availability:
                                          Russian River
                                          Moonlight Brewing
                                          Sierra Nevada

                                          1. Troegs. I am enjoying the hell out of Nugget Nectar right now. Great beer, sadly it only comes around once per year.

                                            1. My top 5 possibilities, in no particular order:

                                              1. Southern Tier
                                              2. Stone
                                              3. Bell's
                                              4. Dogfish Head
                                              5. Surly

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: writergeek313

                                                St Bernardus would be my number one choice overall. As far as domestic beers I'd take the offerings of Russian River.

                                              2. I'm still holding tight to Bell's, but there are a few more rising Michigan breweries that are pretty danged amazing: Dark Horse and Short's. They both desperately need to improve their label art, but the beer within is great. Short's Soft Parade is going to be the next Oberon, I predict. Bell's Oberon has been around since the early 90's. Now every brewery has some orangey summer wheat brew. Once Short's Soft Parade gets a little distribution, there's going to be a sudden explosion of imitators. It's fruity, but not in an off-putting way. It's incredibly tasty and incredibly high alkyhol content....