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Aug 20, 2009 07:01 PM

Best single beer, not best brewery

I wanted to start a nice long discussion about why we love a certain beer. No hate, just love. As I've mentioned many times before, if I had only 1 beer to drink it would be the "Original", original/Urquell, Plzen. Why? When fresh, the bouqet is better then the perfume of your first love, and the body is just right. The mind is also sweet,sharp and quick. Enough curves in the right places, not too top or bottom heavy. It's drinkable year 'round. Sadly, it's not the same anymore and like "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" it lead to many cloying, awful copycats/knockoff's, pale imitators (the Eagles, Firefall)....

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  1. Traquair House Ale, from Scotland.
    Luscious, malty, strong, warming, and...dang it...expensive as hell.
    Runner up for favorite would probably be Bigfoot...many of the same descriptives with the addition of a nice wallop of hop bitterness. And thankfully, NOT as expensive as hell.

    1. I don't presume to know the "best" anything, and beer is much too subjective for there to be any meaningful consensus. Having said that, I love Pliny the Elder. For me, it's the right amount of hops but balanced, refreshing, and full of flavor all along the palate. I find it comforting and at the same time challenging. It's my lodestone for DIPAs.

      1. Orval was the first thing that came to mind. The flavors, to me, are elusive, shifting, and intriguing. Sometimes the hop bitterness seems forward, other times citrus, sometimes a kind of funk that's hard to place. There's a certain amount of creaminess in the texture. A little pepper sometimes, sometimes a bit of tartness. It's like a saison, but not exactly. It's not exactly anything, except Orval. I wish I could give a better description, but it's a beer that just doesn't sit still in my mind. Great stuff.

        2 Replies
        1. re: juantanamera

          You get some of that leathery, horse blanket in Orval from the brettanomyces. Wonderful stuff.

          1. re: juantanamera

            >I wish I could give a better description

            That was a fantastic description actually. Made me want one.

          2. Fred from Hair of the Dog
            ...but for drinking only in the winter.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Tripeler

              For winter only, Bells' 3rd coast Old Ale. Delicious and not a style we see very often

                1. re: Jim Dorsch

                  For Winter I'd have to have Ramstein Ice Bock. It's their Winter Wheat, frozen and supercharged up to 13.5% ABV. It's delicious, as is the regular Winter Wheat.

                  1. re: DrewEck

                    Do they bottle that? I haven't seen their products in a while, at least not in NYC? I guess, I'll have to cross the bridge. Got beer, will travel....

                    1. re: MOREKASHA

                      The Winter Wheat is bottled. The Ice Bock is only available in growlers. I think Ramstein is available at Whole Foods in Manhattan.

                        1. re: MOREKASHA

                          I would choose Avant Garde from Lost Abbey. I find the flavor profile keeps me interested, it has a some punch at 7% and maintains a refreshing quality.
                          Unlike some of my other favorites, I don't think I would get tired of it if it was the one beer I could drink.

            2. Coniston Bluebird Bitter (4.2% ABV) - Really complex taste w/ delicate hoppiness in the finish and a bit tart. Ocean salinity surrounds the tongue in the middle along with gentle maltiness. A bit of sweetness upfront tastes a bit of honey. Finish is long.