MyFaves 5 - but for BEER.

posted on March 30, 2009 in random beer thoughts

I try to be pretty choosy about what apps I allow on my facebook profile because I want to keep things classy - this isn’t goddamn MySpace, people* - so the ones that make the cut have to meet certain standards.

Twitter, you're cool too.

Twitter, you're cool too.

One such new app is the simple, yet brilliant “Pick Your 5″ app which allows users to pick their favorite five of whatever they want (you can create your own categories or use previously made others), and upload or use previously uploaded photos as nifty icons.  I happily noticed one of the most popular categories on my newsfeed was: BEER! If you’re a fan of John Cusack’s character from High Fidelity, this is the app for you!

Ranking things makes me happy.

Ranking things makes me happy.

Clearly, I needed to publish my opinions on the matter to my friends, all 555 of whom I am very close with, and who all follow my facebook activity with great anticipation.  But the thought of choosing only five beers as my favorite, or, as I like to think of it: as the only five beers I would choose to call on for free for the rest of my life (I am a tried and true T-Mobile customer), made my feet sweat.  My first thought was that I am still rather a novice beer drinker, and that there is such a bigger, better beer world for me out there that I have yet to try; picking my favorite 5 now seemed premature.  Even premature things can be appreciated - at least for their effort - however, so I decided to move forward and take a bookmark of sorts on my beer palate as of now.

I wanted my fave 5 to include beers that I loved, but also to be somewhat balanced.  I think I accomplished that in that it contains a few somewhat extreme styles and a couple everyday beers.  I would like it to contain a little more diversity though - three are from California and two from Belgium, and one is a Belgian style Californian.  So I guess I have my preferences.  I also probably could have chosen another from Russian River but was careful to at least have five different breweries represented.  Without further ado, here are MyFave 5 Beers:

1.  Pliny the Elder - I’ve talked a lot about Vinnie’s beers so this one’s not surprising (see RRBC post).  Why Pliny and not Consecration since that was the beer I was most enamored by on that visit?  I could only choose one RRBC beer (self-imposed rule) and I wanted an IPA in there since I’m growing to love them.  Pliny, though a DIPA, is clearly the winner in that category.  And it’s just a damn good beer.

2.  Boont Amber Ale - Boonville has a rich history in food and beverages and it shines no more than in their Amber Ale.  I have a warm place in my heart for ambers; they’re so perfectly balanced and so, dare I say it, drinkable.  My restaurant has this one on tap and it’s definitely my go-to for almost any mood.

3.  Delirium Tremens - I like my Belgians (as evidenced by my next three choices).  It was tough to narrow it down, but Delirium was one of the first beers that made me realize the depth and variety of flavors beer is capable of producing.  I’ve tried and enjoyed other Belgian pales and strong pale ales like Duvel (the champion of the style), Leffe, Damnation, Orval and La Chouffe** but if I had each of those lined up in front of me, I think I’d choose Delirium (I do need to try Orval again though; this is one spot that may change).  But maybe that’s just because I find that pink elephant so garsh durn cute.

4.  Brother Thelonious - Another Belgian style, yes, but Dubbel’s are vastly different from the pales so I don’t feel bad about including it in leiu of, say, a porter or stout.  It’s the darkest beer in my bunch and probably my favorite dark style.  Nice caramel flavors, but not too sweet; I can’t get enough of the stuff.  North Coast is a very intriguing brewery to me because I love their beers and I’m fascinated by the fact that they use all extract.  Gives me hope for my own brewing capabilities.  Bro T was another beer that warped my mind as to how good beer could be and like Delirium, holds a special place in my heart.

5.  Hoegaarden - Some people are shy to admit they like wheat beers, but I do so proudly - under two conditions.  First, it must be a good wheat beer, and second, I must be in the right mood.  Hoegaarden satisfies the first condition better than any other wit or weizen I’ve tried, including Pyramid, Blue Moon, Paulaner and Moylan’s Pomegranate wheat (though none of those are bad).  It also pleases beer snobs to know that while my restaurant serves Blue Moon and Paulaner with a slice of fruit, Hoegaarden stands alone - in its ectoplasma-colored glory.  As for the second condition, that usually means it’s a warm day and I’m looking for something light and fruity.  As I happen to live in California, those conditions are often enough, so I felt justified in including a wheat beer in my top five.

Again, I suspect - nay, I hope this list changes as I gain experience with beer.  I’ll wager the list will one day include a sour beer but I have yet to try enough of those enough times to make a firm decision.  I also hope to diversify my regions but I think the fact that 3 of my five come from California and that I live in California illustrates the importance of freshness of beer.  I challenge you to Pick Your Five, as torturous as that may be.  In the meantime, here are my runners-up:

First Runner-Up: Sam Adams’ Utopias - this is a special beer.  At 27% ABV, it tastes more like a Port than a beer - which is maybe why I didn’t include it in my top five.  When I think of beers, Utopias is so out in left field that it almost doesn’t even fit the picture.  I had the pleasure of tasting this brew on a tour of the Sam Adams brewery and was absolutely blown away.  I savored every sip.  So, this one probably would have made the cut - but I was thinking of more “beery” beers.

Second Runner-Up: Guinness on tap in Ireland - no, it is not a myth: Guinness in Ireland really does taste better than the Guinness you can get over here for the same reason all beers taste better in their own country - freshness***.  Guinness is so smooth and so flavorful over there, you would think the Irish would have problems with alcoholism.  Oh wait.

Love the Guinness marketing.

Love the Guinness marketing.

Third Runner-Up: Sierra Nevada’s Celebration - a great holiday ale.  I very much enjoy holiday ales and I think SN does it right - just the right amount of maltiness and spiciness, which is, to say a lot…but in balance with each other.  SN is just solid.  But I don’t think a seasonal really belongs in my Top 5.

*I am pretty sure that clean profile layouts repel pedophiles.

**I do realize that strong Belgians and Belgian pale ales are quite different styles but when forced to choose only 5 beers, categories become broader in my mind.

***The author of the beer myths post does cite freshness as a reason but seems to dismiss it’s importance which just doesn’t make sense to me.  They also mention that Fosters is brewed in Canada while failing to mention that a contract brewery in Canada also brews the Guinness for the US, which, also, just doesn’t make sense to me.  (Other than that though, great post :)) Digg Facebook Google reddit StumbleUpon


  1. I would have to say that I, being so new to trying different beers, wouldn’t have any of those in my top five so your blog is a learning tool of sorts for me. I will have to try the 27% Sam Adams however I’m sure it’s too dark for me… :)I’m more of a lambic, fat tire sorta gal myself. But if I see these around I’ll try some of them out because clearly they must be good!

    Comment by Kim — April 11, 2009 @ 6:57 am

  2. Cheap lexapro….

    Cheap lexapro….

    Trackback by Cheap lexapro. — October 29, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

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