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The Style You Come Home To

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LauraGrace Aug 12, 2009 07:40 PM

So, what's the style of beer you default to? Sure, you branch out, you dabble in dry-hopped IPAs or Flanders ales or barrel-aged vintage porters, you have green-bottle-beer phases, and everybody drinks Oktoberfest when it's in season. But what's the style that makes you smack your lips and say, "That hits the spot!"? And what's the beer you think best represents that style you keep coming back to?

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  1. Josh RE: LauraGrace Aug 12, 2009 08:54 PM

    Interesting question. Kind of a toss-up for me between a rich export lager like Ayinger Jahrhundert, or a dry, tart gueuze like Girardin or Oud Beersel.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Josh
      Jim Dorsch RE: Josh Aug 13, 2009 05:02 AM

      I love a sour beer, but everyday I always gravitate back to Bigfoot, Arrogant Bastard, Gordon. How boring, in today's imperial world ... having said that, I recall one day ordering Arrogant Bastard in a warm bar, and it just wasn't the right beer for a hot, sticky day (doh!). I struggled through it, then switched to something I rarely order: Pilsner Urquell. Worked much better.

    2. l
      LStaff RE: LauraGrace Aug 13, 2009 06:01 AM

      IPA. I used to be more into German lagers and altbier and the major Belgian styles, but in the last 3-4 years just can't shake the hop jones. More than half the beer I brew is an IPA of some kind and I have been known to walk out of bars/brewpubs without ordering or just order soda if they don't have a good IPA on tap.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LStaff
        Jim Dorsch RE: LStaff Aug 13, 2009 06:04 AM

        Same here. Call me one-dimensional, but I need the hop, man ... I respect the daylights out of many Belgian beers, and lots of others, but keep going back to the hop (balanced by really good malt).

      2. Ernie Diamond RE: LauraGrace Aug 13, 2009 06:08 AM

        Belgian-style Tripels and Strong Goldens, British Brown Ales and Porters.

        When I am truely stuck or am not in the mood for something new, I will reach for Fin du Monde, Duvel, Sam Smith Nut Brown and JW Lees Manchester Star. Give me those four any day of the week and I am a happy camper. Fourtunately, three of the above four are fairly easy to find, two are practically common.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ernie Diamond
          Josh RE: Ernie Diamond Aug 13, 2009 06:22 AM

          Manchester Star is a fantastic beer. Wish I could find it more easily.

          1. re: Josh
            Ernie Diamond RE: Josh Aug 13, 2009 07:21 AM

            Call a local retailers and offer to buy a case. Worked for me. They stock it regularly now and at $5 per bottle as compared to $8 at the spot where I was getting it before. It is very hard to find, though. Happily, it does well in the bottle.

        2. Pata_Negra RE: LauraGrace Aug 13, 2009 06:21 AM

          a toss-up between hefeweizen and ungespundet/keller.

          1. c
            chuckl RE: LauraGrace Aug 13, 2009 10:34 AM

            there's so much good and interesting beer out there, I just go with whatever looks good at the time or is on sale, as long as it's quality

            1. Insidious Rex RE: LauraGrace Aug 13, 2009 10:42 AM

              Probably a truly well done Pilsner. Maybe a Kolsch. Basically a truly good German Lager (or maybe an English Mild). In the past 20 years Ive gone through the full cycle from crap beer to better lagers and wheats to standard pale ales, reds and browns to stouts and IPA's to the fully extreme stuff (double IPA's, Quads, Sours, Barely Wines, Imperial Stouts, Utopias, etc.). There was a time I was all about the hops in a silly testosterone kind of way and only hops would do but I have found I have outgrown that phase and surprisingly come back around full circle to the basics: good lagers and mild ales. German and Czech Pilsners. Sublime wheats. English session bitters and milds. Mmmm....

              Dont get me wrong sometimes I really want a hoppy beer or a nice intense sour or a good solid imperial stout (really depends on the season) but if I had to pick ONE... yeah it would have to be a good lager. I am simply a victim of the wanderings of my own tastes...

              24 Replies
              1. re: Insidious Rex
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                LauraGrace RE: Insidious Rex Aug 13, 2009 10:55 AM

                That is awesome. Very cool journey.

                I started out with Dundee's brown ale, if you can believe it, and will forever be indebted to its inoffensive mediocrity. It was my "gateway" beer.

                You know, the true lager is the "little girl who had a little curl" of the beer world. When it is good, it is very, VERY good, but when it is bad, it's HORRID. Some of my most satisfying beer experiences have involved drinking a great lager, exhausted, midafternoon, in a crowded airport bar thousands of miles from home.

                I'd love to hear more! :)

                1. re: LauraGrace
                  MGZ RE: LauraGrace Aug 15, 2009 07:19 AM

                  I love the time and place theory of beer. A topic that has crept into other threads on this board. I am not sure there is any other substance whose enjoyment can be so radically impacted by factors so wholly unrelated to taste. (I swear, someday I'll really start the anecdotal "best beer" thread I have conceived . . .)

                  To the extent that I can read this thread to be asking "What beer always tastes good to you?" - I'll go with a nicely balanced pale ale. Ahhh, the glorious diversity of beer !

                  1. re: MGZ
                    Josh RE: MGZ Aug 15, 2009 10:37 AM

                    Hmm, not sure I really agree with you here. I can understand not being in the mood for a particular type of beer based on occasion and weather, but I don't think that one's ability to perceive flavor and quality is impacted by those factors.

                2. re: Insidious Rex
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                  chuckl RE: Insidious Rex Aug 13, 2009 01:02 PM

                  To a certain extent the love affair with hops reminds me of a similar phenomenon with red wine where it was all about the tanins and we'd end up with these very tannic, very heavy one-dimensional wines. Balance is the key in my opinion, in both wines and beers.

                  1. re: chuckl
                    Jim Dorsch RE: chuckl Aug 13, 2009 03:22 PM

                    The big wine thing seems to be driven by Parker; I'm not sure what the driver is with hoppy, gigantic beers.

                    1. re: Jim Dorsch
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                      LauraGrace RE: Jim Dorsch Aug 13, 2009 07:15 PM

                      I've wondered the same thing. The beer specialty guy at my local Whole Foods said that cramming hops into a beer and bragging about it is like a chef cramming salt into his food and bragging about it. Hops add nuance and freshness and aroma to a beer, but to make them the absolute only taste is strange. Maybe a hop-head can shine some light on this confusion? I'm a malt girl myself. ;)

                      1. re: LauraGrace
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                        LStaff RE: LauraGrace Aug 14, 2009 12:06 PM

                        I don't think the salt thing is a fair comparison. Salt is a flavor enhancer, not the main flavor itself in dishes. Hops (along with malt and alcohol/yeast characteristics) are a main flavoring component in beer. I think maybe a comparison to garlic is more accurate - in some dishes, too much is overdone, in others, alot of garlic is required. I tend to think of IPA's the same as garlic soup - what's the point if garlic (or hops) isn't in the forefront of flavor?

                        Tastes are subjective and people like what they like, not everyone has to agree or even understand each other's tastes - there are many styles of beer and breweries to choose from if something isn't to your liking.

                        1. re: LStaff
                          Josh RE: LStaff Aug 14, 2009 02:59 PM

                          I'm going to disagree. If we think about the history of beer, it existed for a long time before hops came into the picture. Brewers always tried to find flavoring methods for countering malt sweetness. Looked at that way, highly assertive hopping is going beyond the point of balancing the malt sweetness.

                          I think the salt comparison is valid.

                          1. re: Josh
                            Jim Dorsch RE: Josh Aug 14, 2009 07:53 PM

                            Hops have purposes other than countering sweetness. They have their own flavors, and some people really like them. Along with this comes a lot of bitterness, of course, but I think a person could differentiate between a big beer that skillfully intertwines malt sweetness and flavor along with hop bitterness and flavor, and a beer whose sole purpose is to club the drinker over the head with as many IBUs as possible.

                            1. re: Jim Dorsch
                              Josh RE: Jim Dorsch Aug 14, 2009 11:33 PM

                              Sure, obviously hops have other purposes. My point was simply that excessive attention focused on that one ingredient does seem to be akin to a chef boasting about how much <fill in the blank> they use.

                              1. re: Jim Dorsch
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                                LauraGrace RE: Jim Dorsch Aug 15, 2009 10:04 AM

                                "a beer whose sole purpose is to club the drinker over the head with as many IBUs as possible."

                                See, THOSE are the ones I don't get. This isn't just a "but I don't LIKE hops, whine whine whine" thing, it's a genuine confusion -- why would a person drink a beer that tastes like tea made from hops? Why would that beer be popular? Why would a brewer make a beer that seems like its only purpose is to cram as many hops into a beer as possible, without regard for flavor, even the good aromas and flavors that hops lend to a beer?

                                I think the skillful use of hops is a great thing. One of the reasons I tend to prefer good American unfiltered wheat beers to German hefeweizens is that I think the addition of a little hoppiness improves what can sometimes (if handled poorly) be an insipid, flat style. I even appreciate the bright herbal and floral flavors of a good IPA! I'm not opposed to dry-hopping!

                                But in much the same way that I wouldn't want a beer to be crammed full of caramelized sugar or dark malt to the exclusion of all other flavor enhancers, I don't get why unbalanced hop-bombs with no variety of flavors are even made.

                                Eh. To each his own.

                                1. re: LauraGrace
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                                  LStaff RE: LauraGrace Aug 17, 2009 09:34 AM

                                  >why would a person drink a beer that tastes like tea made from hops?

                                  Because he/she enjoys the flavor/experience.

                                  >Why would that beer be popular?

                                  Because many enjoy the flavor/experience.

                                  >Why would a brewer make a beer that seems like its only purpose is to cram as many hops into a beer as possible

                                  See previous answers.

                                  Just like many like their coffee black and think any additions are a crime against humanity, and some can't drink it without milk and sugar - everyone has their preference. Its the people who think every beer should be made to their personal preference, and can't come to grips that everyone else is not like them, is what I don't get.

                                  1. re: LStaff
                                    Chinon00 RE: LStaff Aug 17, 2009 10:19 AM

                                    I don't know, some things are just a crime though. A guy asked me once would it be wrong for him to bring tabasco sauce to a French restaurant because, well that's what he likes on his food. I mean it isn't "wrong" but it is, yah know?

                                    1. re: Chinon00
                                      Josh RE: Chinon00 Aug 17, 2009 11:51 AM

                                      He was clearly doing it wrong.

                            2. re: LStaff
                              Insidious Rex RE: LStaff Aug 17, 2009 11:53 AM

                              I like the garlic analogy. I think thats spot on. Garlic has a reputation for being intense and easily overwhelming, even sometimes abrasive but that doesnt mean it isnt really good in the right dishes. And certainly, just like hops, some people cant get enough of it. But the idea of adding an obscene amount of it into a dish seems fairly silly because its almost impossible to truly appreciate the food anymore. In the same way, you cant turn around now without getting hit over the head with someone’s mediocre double IPA. But the hop heads love them all because, well, they taste like hops! But like with too much garlic, too much hops is a bit of a cheat in my opinion that allows you to avoid most issues with the actual beer itself since the BEER aspect of the beer is completely overwhelmed by the taste of the hops. Just as the ingredients and balance and cooking strategy behind a good Bolognese can be overwhelmed and lost by putting way too much garlic in it. But by gum it sure tastes like garlic! Woohoo!

                              Now there was a time when I could NOT get enough garlic/hops in my food/beer. But now I appreciate a refinement of said food products, a balancing of ingredients to create something better then the sum of its parts. Although yeah there are days when I just want a hop bomb. But its not a constant thing anymore. And I now realize there are some GOOD hop bombs and many mediocre ones. Some days Ill be at work and out of no where Ill get this piney resiny phantom cascade or simcoe like taste suddenly come into my mouth and its all I can do not to drool from the scrumptiousness of it. Invariably only a double IPA can satisfy that "hop tooth" before the taste goes away. Other days just the thought of a big hoppy beer just makes my tongue tired.

                              Laura, as for the phenomenon of why some hopheads cant get enough hops I think Vinnie Cilurzo said it best: http://www.russianriverbrewing.com/LTS/. I know this was true for me at the height of my addiction.

                              1. re: Insidious Rex
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                                tofuburrito RE: Insidious Rex Aug 17, 2009 01:03 PM

                                I love extremely hoppy beers, but one of the brewers (I forget which one) said something to the effect that anyone can dump hops in a kettle but it takes skill to make a well balanced double IPA.
                                I agree with that 100%.

                                1. re: tofuburrito
                                  Chinon00 RE: tofuburrito Aug 17, 2009 01:23 PM

                                  Could you provide us examples (in your opinion) of double IPAs where the brewer "dump[ed] hops in a kettle" versus brewing a well balanced DIPA?

                                  Thanks

                                  1. re: Chinon00
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                                    tofuburrito RE: Chinon00 Aug 18, 2009 07:18 AM

                                    I believe the comment was in reference to home brewing. As to commercially available examples, we all have our personal preferences and even though it seems to be universally praised (in fact it won the IPA championship in 2008) I find Green Flash lacking in any flavor other than hops. I don't mean to badmouth them, I respect the brewery and most people love Green Flash, it just hits me as one dimensional.

                                  2. re: tofuburrito
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                                    LStaff RE: tofuburrito Aug 18, 2009 06:38 AM

                                    Most beer lovers think its easy just to put more hops in - and in itself, very easy. But to balance out the malt, alcohol, bitterness, and hop flavor into something you want to drink over and over again is a skill that takes experience. Most IPA's and DIPA's out there may be full flavored and quite delicious in small samples, but very few make me want to drink pint after pint ..

                                    1. re: LStaff
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                                      chuckl RE: LStaff Aug 18, 2009 07:35 PM

                                      I think I could drink Pliny the Elder all night. As a matter of fact, I have. There's no questioning the hops, but the balance and clean taste keeps me coming back for more.

                                      1. re: chuckl
                                        Chinon00 RE: chuckl Aug 18, 2009 07:45 PM

                                        "I think I could drink Pliny the Elder all night. As a matter of fact, I have."

                                        At 8% abv I hope that weren't driving.

                                        1. re: Chinon00
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                                          chuckl RE: Chinon00 Aug 18, 2009 07:59 PM

                                          I drink a bunch of water afterward and BART is my designated driver, but thanks for asking

                              2. re: LauraGrace
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                                juantanamera RE: LauraGrace Aug 14, 2009 05:24 PM

                                I suspect that there may be a physiological difference in how people perceive bitterness in beer (and probably in anything else) Basically, no beer ever tastes 'too bitter' to me, and believe me, I've had plenty of monster hop bombs. When I don't like a double IPA, it's more likely to be too sweet for me than too bitter. I also enjoy many moderately hopped beers, and I appreciate malt and yeast as much as anyone; I even appreciate balance and composition in a beer. I just don't generally find excessive bitterness a flaw, which makes me think that I (and many other hopheads) just have a low sensitivity to bitterness.

                                1. re: juantanamera
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                                  LauraGrace RE: juantanamera Aug 15, 2009 10:06 AM

                                  Fascinating reply. I know so-called "super-tasters" have a very HIGH sensitivity to bitterness (I am NOT a super-taster, fortunately), so it stands to reason that some people might have a particularly LOW sensitivity to bitterness.

                        2. TongoRad RE: LauraGrace Aug 13, 2009 03:42 PM

                          For me it's always been Porters and Stouts (and, to a lesser extent, Schwartzbiers)- I never stray too far from one. The ones I'll never tire of are Anchor Porter (still tops in my book) and Sierra Nevada Stout (although I must admit that if I were on the west coast the SN might be replaced by Deschutes Obsidian or Pike XXXXX). In fact, I started to homebrew back in '92 (in large part) so that I would have steady access to fresh, draught West Coast-Style Stout here in the NYC area.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: TongoRad
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                            chuckl RE: TongoRad Aug 13, 2009 04:05 PM

                            Deschutes has a Porter floating around lately that's called Black Butte, I think. I'm not sure if they bottled it or it's only available on tap. Very good and well worth seeking out

                            1. re: chuckl
                              TongoRad RE: chuckl Aug 13, 2009 07:21 PM

                              Overall I'd say that Deschutes is pretty damn awesome- I've thoroughly enjoyed their beers from the brewery in Bend- to brewers' festivals- to pubs in the Portland area- to the times when I used to have their beer shipped to me by the case- to trades for their seasonal stuff. I'd even go so far as saying that their chatter-to-overall quality ratio is shockingly low. And here comes the 'but'...but, for whatever reason, the Black Butte just always seemed to get overshadowed by the other beers in their lineup as well as my favorite porters. Then again, the last time I had a Black Butte, Catamount was still in business, and their Porter was most definitely 'da bomb'. That was, obviously, a while ago- I'd definitely love to try it again.

                              1. re: chuckl
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                                LStaff RE: chuckl Aug 14, 2009 11:53 AM

                                I was told by a Deschutes rep that they brew/sell more porter than any other brewery in the US.

                                1. re: LStaff
                                  t
                                  tofuburrito RE: LStaff Aug 14, 2009 01:10 PM

                                  Black Butte was one of my crossovers and it has a special place in my heart.
                                  If I had to choose a default my guess is that my yearly purchase records would indicate Avant Garde or Old Rasputin.

                            2. Chinon00 RE: LauraGrace Aug 14, 2009 06:01 PM

                              Pils

                              1. The Professor RE: LauraGrace Aug 14, 2009 09:17 PM

                                I was always an IPA guy, because one of the first beers I bought regularly in the early 70's was an IPA (the other was a Bock). These days, my go to is usually a malty Scotch Ale, a malty and bitter Barleywine, or a special Bitter, Brit style. Mostly brewed at home, but I am definitely a Bigfoot fan and I love Fuller's (almost anything they make).

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: The Professor
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                                  LauraGrace RE: The Professor Aug 15, 2009 10:08 AM

                                  Oh, I LUURRVE Scotch Ales. I'm going through a phase right now. I can get my hands on Founders' Dirty Bastard which is outstanding, but I can't get Old Chub in Kentucky -- at least not that I've seen.

                                  1. re: LauraGrace
                                    Josh RE: LauraGrace Aug 15, 2009 10:38 AM

                                    You might like St. Andrews ale if you can find it. It's brewed by Belhaven, and is made with peat-smoked Scotch whisky malt.

                                2. k
                                  Kenji RE: LauraGrace Aug 16, 2009 12:28 PM

                                  Stout, preferably something truly rich, black, & thick, with plenty of malt AND hops. Something like Ipswich Oatmeal, though I also really like Rogue Shakespeare. Marin Brewing's San Quentin Breakout Stout and McAuslan's St. Ambroise are also favorites.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Kenji
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                                    LauraGrace RE: Kenji Aug 16, 2009 08:27 PM

                                    I'm going to have to see if I can find some of those. I go back and forth with stouts -- some of them are delightful, and some of them are hideous... watery, flavorless, burnt-tasting. *shudder* But a good one... mmmmm...

                                    1. re: LauraGrace
                                      k
                                      Kenji RE: LauraGrace Aug 17, 2009 03:15 PM

                                      Would your "hideous stout" with the wateriness and burnt taste be Guinness, by any chance?

                                      I like stouts that are full-bodied, and packed with dark chocolate and strong dark coffee flavors. The ones I listed have these qualities. Bear Republic's imperial stout -- "Big Black Bear," or some such -- also does, but I haven't encountered it outside of CA.

                                      1. re: Kenji
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                                        LauraGrace RE: Kenji Aug 18, 2009 07:25 AM

                                        Ha! Yes, while Guinness is lovely on tap in Ireland, when it's from a bottle in the US, it's pretty dire, isn't it? ;) If I'm going to have an Irish or English-style stout, I'll have Schlafly's or Young's, thanks.

                                        But imperial stout... that is a style to return to again and again. Yum!!

                                        1. re: LauraGrace
                                          The Professor RE: LauraGrace Aug 18, 2009 07:28 PM

                                          Just remember that besides the ocean between Guinness experiences, Draught Guinness and bottled Guinness are two very different beers. The Draught version is lighter in body and lower in alcohol, while the bottled version is somewhat stronger and slightly fuller bodied... and for the USA market, it's made in Canada (and they are doing a fairly good job of it). The funny thing is that the bottled version (even Canada brewed) is probably at least a bit closer to what Guinness actually tasted like years ago. But then again, who knows...they evidently don't hold the formula all that sacred since like most other beers on both sides of the Atlantic, it has certainly been modified over the years.

                                          1. re: The Professor
                                            Jim Dorsch RE: The Professor Aug 18, 2009 08:19 PM

                                            Depends on whether LauraGrace refers to draft in bottle or extra stout.

                                            1. re: Jim Dorsch
                                              The Professor RE: Jim Dorsch Aug 19, 2009 12:02 PM

                                              ahhh...right...I totally forgot about the draft-in-bottle!!

                                  2. shellshock24 RE: LauraGrace Aug 16, 2009 09:56 PM

                                    For me, its a nice and simple porter. Not an imperial porter, just a good porter. I absolutely love Black Butte Porter. It's somewhat sessionable (especially in today's extreme beer world) and full of flavor.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: shellshock24
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                                      juantanamera RE: shellshock24 Aug 17, 2009 01:07 AM

                                      If you have not tried it before, I highly recommend Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. It's by far my favorite porter, in my opinion quite a bit better than Black Butte, which I also think is a nice porter.

                                      1. re: juantanamera
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                                        tofuburrito RE: juantanamera Aug 17, 2009 07:46 AM

                                        On a trip to Cleveland I was blown away by the Ed Fitz porter. I had it at Alice Cooper's restaurant and the next night I went to the Great Lakes brewpub. I was planning to do tasters of everything but ended up unable to resist the porter and stuck with it.

                                    2. m
                                      mojoeater RE: LauraGrace Aug 18, 2009 08:48 PM

                                      I love pale ales and IPAs. I also love other well made ales, lagers, wheat beers, stouts, porters, etc. What I do not like is beer that has no complexity. That's an issue I find with many lagers out there. When I find a good lager, I'll return to it.

                                      A couple of my current summer favorites and easily available are Bell's Two Hearted, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon, and Pyramid Thunderhead. My friends own Blue Mountain Brewery and their Full Nelson Pale Ale is amazing. Their Rockfish Wheat is a wheat beer that I can drink any time. When their various stouts come available, I practically need to set up a tent on the lawn outside!

                                      16 Replies
                                      1. re: mojoeater
                                        Chinon00 RE: mojoeater Aug 19, 2009 10:22 AM

                                        " What I do not like is beer that has no complexity. That's an issue I find with many lagers out there. When I find a good lager, I'll return to it."

                                        TIME TO EDUCATE!

                                        Now, when you say "lager" are you referring to:
                                        Doppelbock
                                        Bock
                                        Marzen
                                        Pils
                                        Helles lager
                                        Scwartzbier
                                        Rauchbier . . .

                                        I think I know what you mean but I just wanted to make a point that lager comes in many hues and flavors.

                                        Thanks

                                        1. re: Chinon00
                                          Jim Dorsch RE: Chinon00 Aug 19, 2009 10:33 AM

                                          There is some truth to the statement that lagers are less complex than ales, but that doesn't mean lager beers are worse (or better). It's just what they are.

                                          I don't drink a lot of lager beer, but I find them quite good at the source. In my experience, they easily tire during a long journey from brewery to glass, at least when the brewery is in Europe and the glass is in America. But a lager can be truly phenomenal when fresh, showcasing its fresh-malt character, for example.

                                          1. re: Jim Dorsch
                                            Chinon00 RE: Jim Dorsch Aug 19, 2009 03:06 PM

                                            A RELATIVE statement about lager complexity wasn’t made (not that I would agree with that either). What was stated was:

                                            "What I do not like is beer that has no complexity. That's an issue I find with many lagers out there."

                                            And I wholeheartedly disagree that lagers, and particularly those with dramatic malt structure (i.e. bock, maibock, doppelbock) are lacking complexity.

                                            1. re: Chinon00
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                                              mojoeater RE: Chinon00 Aug 19, 2009 03:12 PM

                                              Good grief. I said "many" lagers lack complexity. Certainly not all. There are many delicious lagers out there, especially those styles mentioned above.

                                              1. re: mojoeater
                                                Chinon00 RE: mojoeater Aug 19, 2009 05:42 PM

                                                But we know which specific "lagers" that one might be talking about when they say that they have "no complexity". Wouldn't it be easy enough to localize on bad versions of pilsner or Euro lagers (which is most likely what one would be referring to)? Why not make it clear that you weren't including "delicious" lagers as well?

                                                1. re: Chinon00
                                                  The Professor RE: Chinon00 Aug 19, 2009 07:30 PM

                                                  It's pretty subjective. Everyone will taste any of them differently. "Delicious" to one person coulod be "heinous" to another. There can never really be a "standard".

                                                  Trying to make sense of individual tastebuds is almost an exercise in futility.

                                                  1. re: The Professor
                                                    Chinon00 RE: The Professor Aug 19, 2009 07:45 PM

                                                    Is it your contention that it would be accurate for an individual to conclude that Celebrator Doppelbock for example has little to no complexity?

                                                    1. re: Chinon00
                                                      The Professor RE: Chinon00 Aug 19, 2009 10:49 PM

                                                      Well I would certainly never say so, and I've never heard anyone say anything of the sort, but all the same it would not surprise me at all if someone somewhere _did_ conclude that. If that's what they perceive, that's what they perceive (I would, however, feel quite sorry for such an individual, apparently born without taste buds LOL).
                                                      After all, some people rave about Belgian beer; others liken it to beer 'gone bad' and are repelled by it. Who's to say who is right?
                                                      People like what they like, and taste what they taste. And no two people will taste exactly the same thing.

                                                      1. re: The Professor
                                                        Chinon00 RE: The Professor Aug 19, 2009 11:41 PM

                                                        Oh I believe that people do and have the right to find flavors not to their liking and repulsive even. But that is different from concluding that a food or beverage has no complexity. I would certainly get someone thinking that Celebrator is awful tasting (I've seen it). But for them to conclude as well that it wasn't complex defies all logic or means that when applied to beer they don't understand its meaning. And I'm not buying this notion that some people can bite into a banana and taste an apple for example. I will buy that some can pick up particular flavors in beer or wine (i.e. oak, minerality) say that others cannot. But that it isn't a function of individual taste buds but rather of familiarity and practice (honing your craft). We all have basically the same wiring and the capability to perceive the same things but we all won't LIKE the same things.

                                                        1. re: Chinon00
                                                          Jim Dorsch RE: Chinon00 Aug 20, 2009 02:57 AM

                                                          People do have different abilities to taste, a prime example being sensitivity to diacetyl.

                                          2. re: Chinon00
                                            Insidious Rex RE: Chinon00 Aug 19, 2009 11:12 AM

                                            The problem is that in the US, the term lager has been largely co-opted by the tasteless macro brewers for the past, oh, 75 years or so. And those folks who are now venturing beyond that limited world tend to react negatively when talking about the “lagers” they used to drink before they got a clue and discovered “good” beer. This is certainly an understandable phenomenon. It means people are starting to think about their choices instead of being mindless zombies to the major macro brewers. BUT the negative aspect of this way of thinking is that these folks develop a bias against ALL lagers at first on a psychological level because at this point to them lager = Budweiser, and than on a taste level when their palette quickly adapts and relishes very flavorful ales of every extreme Suddenly lagers aren’t “enough” and they become the whipping boy. Granted, I too find this way of thinking mindboggling every time I open up a Spaten Optimator, but I have found that to be the common notion these days.

                                            I think the micro industry bears as much of the fault for this phenomenon as the macro industry. Most American breweries just don’t emphasize lagers nearly as much as they do ales. Is it a tank space thing? Or just the nature of our current craft culture where the most extreme stuff is put on the highest pedestal? Not sure. But it seems like lagers tend to be token in way too many breweries and brewpubs in this country where IF they are brewed they are often purposefully brewed and presented as a stepping off point from macros rather than as a good solid beer in itself. And that’s fine. But we need more than that. We’ll probably never have the cornucopia of lager choices you have in Germany, but it would be nice to go to your average brew pub and see that lagers are treated with as much seriousness and passion as the ales.

                                            And thats my little lager rant...

                                            1. re: Insidious Rex
                                              Jim Dorsch RE: Insidious Rex Aug 19, 2009 11:20 AM

                                              It appears to me that the early micros tended to (loosely) model their beers after British ales, adapting them to conditions at hand. IAC, it's easier and cheaper to make ales, and that was quite important, given the limited capital available to the pioneer micros.

                                              Lagers take more time (and hence more tanks), and also require more refrigeration, to name two factors. And if a brewery intends to decoct, then that requires an additional vessel.

                                              I suppose that ales have become sort of the standard for small breweries over the last 30+ years.

                                              1. re: Jim Dorsch
                                                m
                                                mojoeater RE: Jim Dorsch Jul 25, 2010 07:21 AM

                                                I'm a huge fan of beer and a big beer drinker (as my waistline suggests). Last year when I stated that "What I do not like is beer that has no complexity. That's an issue I find with many lagers out there." I probably should have injected the word AMERICAN.

                                                Whenever we travel we look for the local breweries and often plan trips specifically around such a visit. In all our visits along the east and west coasts (where most of our traveling happens), I have been underwhelmed by American lagers. This is not a blanket statement. There are good ones out there. But it seems that of the breweries we've visited the attention and artistry has been on the ales.

                                                This thread is a year old but I thought of it the other day when at a small brewery in our home town. I got the sampler with all 7 of their in-house brews. Of them all, I liked the Pilsener best!

                                                This was a surprise because I'd had their beers many times but not lately and had always preferred their Pale Ale. But this time it seemed that their ALES lacked complexity. I knew they'd lost their star brewer but didn't realize what a difference it would make.

                                                So anyway, there you are.

                                                1. re: mojoeater
                                                  Chinon00 RE: mojoeater Jul 25, 2010 09:12 AM

                                                  What's the name of the small brewery in your hometown that had the pils you liked?

                                                  1. re: Chinon00
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                                                    mojoeater RE: Chinon00 Jul 29, 2010 05:03 PM

                                                    South Street Brewery in Charlottesville, Virginia. Their beer is only available at the source.

                                                    1. re: mojoeater
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                                                      mojoeater RE: mojoeater Aug 7, 2010 08:43 AM

                                                      Huh. Well lookie here: http://www.usopenbeer.com/index.php/i...

                                                      South Street won the Gold for German Lager/Pilsener in the US Open Beer Championship.

                                        2. h
                                          HayatoJin RE: LauraGrace Aug 17, 2010 07:45 PM

                                          I am truly surprised by the amount of people who like Lagers; it takes a really exceptional one to get me interested...

                                          I don't think I could nail the "come home to" on any single style, but if I had to make a small list, I'd say Stouts, Trappist (Especially Dubbels and Quadrupels), and Scottish Ales.

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: HayatoJin
                                            Aravisea RE: HayatoJin Aug 25, 2010 01:10 PM

                                            Same with me - rarely find a lager I like. The darker the better, most of the time - stouts, porters, etc.

                                            1. re: Aravisea
                                              Chinon00 RE: Aravisea Aug 25, 2010 04:21 PM

                                              There are MANY dark lagers.

                                              1. re: Aravisea
                                                Chinon00 RE: Aravisea Aug 25, 2010 07:39 PM

                                                My favorite dark lagers include:
                                                Doppelbock
                                                Swartzbier - Note: If you love stouts and porters you'll love this dark lager inparticular.
                                                Dunkel Lager
                                                Dunkel Weiss (ok, technically an ale)
                                                Weizenbock (ok, technically also an ale)
                                                Rauchbier

                                                1. re: Chinon00
                                                  Aravisea RE: Chinon00 Aug 26, 2010 05:21 AM

                                                  Yes, I am familiar with dark lagers. I've had some very good Schwartzbiers and Dunkelweizens - one of our favorite beers to homebrew is a dunkel.

                                                  1. re: Aravisea
                                                    Chinon00 RE: Aravisea Aug 26, 2010 01:37 PM

                                                    It really surprises me that you would highlight the fact that you:
                                                    1) Like very few lagers
                                                    2) Further qualify that you like it "the darker the better"
                                                    3) Name two ales as examples of dark beer you like.
                                                    but then say that you like schwartzbier and dunkelweiss and actually brewed a dunkel. The love seemed absent in your first reply.

                                                    1. re: Chinon00
                                                      Aravisea RE: Chinon00 Aug 27, 2010 02:06 PM

                                                      You'll have to forgive me for not putting serious thought into my original reply. It happens sometimes when I'm on Chow at the office .

                                                      I do like dark lagers, such as the schwartzbiers you mentioned. However, I run across them relatively rarely. This could be because I spend much less time in specialty beer stores than I used to now that my family homebrews as a group project. Ergo, when someone says "lager" what I usually picture is some variant of light, flavorless beers that are guzzled in gallons by the masses.

                                                      Also, I think I've had one dark lager that made me stop and say "wow." I have more "wow" moments with stouts and porters, generally speaking.

                                                      If you really want to hear the love, then I should rhapsodize about the Dark Scottish and Strong Scottish ales we've brewed.

                                                      1. re: Aravisea
                                                        Chinon00 RE: Aravisea Aug 27, 2010 03:02 PM

                                                        "Also, I think I've had one dark lager that made me stop and say "wow.""

                                                        Ok don't walk, run to get the following dark lagers:
                                                        1) Korbinian Weihenstephaner Doppelbock
                                                        2) Samichlaus Doppelbock
                                                        3) Sprecher Swartzbier

                                                        1. re: Chinon00
                                                          Josh RE: Chinon00 Aug 29, 2010 05:02 AM

                                                          I'd add:

                                                          Celebrator Doppelbock
                                                          Kostrizter Schwarzbier
                                                          Asahi Black (really good schwarzbier made in Japan)

                                                          1. re: Josh
                                                            Jim Dorsch RE: Josh Aug 29, 2010 03:10 PM

                                                            Can you get Asahi Black on the west coast? Not available around here.

                                                            1. re: Josh
                                                              Insidious Rex RE: Josh Aug 30, 2010 10:26 AM

                                                              Dont forget Spaten Optimator and Andechser Doppelbock. And St. Victorious from Victory tends to go under the radar I think.

                                                              But hey it sounds like his thing is more porters and stouts and scottish ales and theres nothing wrong with that.

                                                        2. re: Chinon00
                                                          Aravisea RE: Chinon00 Aug 27, 2010 02:12 PM

                                                          Additionally, given the differences between ale yeast and lager yeast (top fermenting vs. bottom fermenting) and the setup necessary to brew ales versus lagers, we only brew ales. Another reason they're less on my radar now than they were pre-homebrewing.

                                                2. Tripeler RE: LauraGrace Aug 17, 2010 08:24 PM

                                                  For me, it is a U.S. West Coast-style IPA. More recently, the Double IPA versions. I find lots of hops, with a good malt base, to be very satisfying.

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: Tripeler
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                                                    HayatoJin RE: Tripeler Aug 17, 2010 09:06 PM

                                                    I've had a few IPAs, and what I'm saying might be sacrilege but I really can't enjoy too much bitterness...

                                                    1. re: HayatoJin
                                                      Tripeler RE: HayatoJin Aug 17, 2010 09:40 PM

                                                      That's why many people like easy-going lagers, wheat beers and other styles. It's really a matter of personal preference.

                                                      1. re: Tripeler
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                                                        HayatoJin RE: Tripeler Aug 18, 2010 05:46 AM

                                                        Like most everything in this world... the other day I had an english bitter (without knowing what I was in for) and almost choked; I had to immediately open some sweet Trappist ale.

                                                        1. re: HayatoJin
                                                          The Professor RE: HayatoJin Aug 18, 2010 09:15 AM

                                                          Maybe you just had the wrong 'bitter' for your palate.

                                                          Some examples of English 'bitter' have a pretty good malt profile tp complement the hops. 'Bitter (in referring to the so called 'style') does not always automatically mean a 'hop bomb').

                                                        2. re: Tripeler
                                                          Chinon00 RE: Tripeler Aug 25, 2010 04:33 PM

                                                          One doesn't have to abandon IPA altogether if they aren't found of too much bitterness. Most English and English style IPA to a lesser degree will have restrained hops. They'll be balanced.
                                                          Hop heads to me are like people who are into football but just for the violence. I mean it's definitely part of the game but it isn't the whole game.

                                                          1. re: Chinon00
                                                            The Professor RE: Chinon00 Aug 25, 2010 06:50 PM

                                                            Very well expressed...seems like many folks judge a beer these days by how 'big' it is (sometimes flavor intensity wise, sometimes ABV wise, sometimes both).

                                                            I like the big 'uns fine, and have liked them for 40 years, but the more balanced brews are far more interesting in some respects, since it is in these that the brewer's skill really shines.
                                                            But, as always, tastes vary...and there's plenty of choice out there on both ends of the spectrum.

                                                      2. re: Tripeler
                                                        k
                                                        kwjd RE: Tripeler Aug 18, 2010 10:42 AM

                                                        I'm the same way. I always find myself going back for IPA's/double IPA's. Sometimes more the IPA's due to less alcohol for an everyday beer. Stuff like Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Rogue Yellow Snow or Ithica Flower Power.

                                                      3. j
                                                        juantanamera RE: LauraGrace Aug 30, 2010 11:08 AM

                                                        Dull as this answer may seem, I find American Pale Ale is probably my ultimate go-to style. Can't think of many times I'm not in the mood for a good APA, and it's actually a style with good variety in its ranks - off the top of my head, I think of Sierra Nevada Pale, AleSmith X, Ballast Point Even Keel, and Stone Pale, all very good but quite different brews.

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