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The Best of Each Beer Style

If you are a beginning home brewer you may or may not be familiar with the wide variety of beer styles that is out there for you to both brew and enjoy. There are many, many different styles of beer as illustrated in this Periodic Table of Beer from the University at Albany, but I thought I would discuss my favorite commercial example of the main styles of beer.

Amber
Keweenaw Brewing Company’s “Red Jacket Amber”
It took me almost a year after I turned 21 to find a beer that I liked the flavor of, and that beer was an amber. My favorite amber of all time is one you’re only going to find distributed in the upper midwest, unfortunately. This is the beer that sustained me through my college years and is my favorite beer to have with pizza. It’s Keweenaw Brewing Company’s Red Jacket Amber. This beer has an excellent smoky flavor, and it just never gets old. It knocks my socks off every time I have one.

Brown
Leinenkugel’s “Fireside Nut Brown”
It looks like I’m going to have to find a new favorite in the category of brown ales 🙁 To date, my favorite brown has been Leinenkugel’s Fireside Nut Brown, which was a winter seasonal beer that has recently been replaced by their Snowdrift Vanilla Porter. I like the porter, but I will always have a soft spot for the Fireside Nut Brown.

Porter
Deschutes “Black Butte Porter”
The chocolate flavors in Deschutes Brewing’s Black Butte Porter make it one of my favorite beers of all time. I can still remember the first sip of this beer that I ever tried – it had a major impression on me. So good!

Stout
Tallgrass “Buffalo Sweat”
Don’t hate me Guiness lovers, but I can’t stand the texture of nitrogenated beers. My favorite stout is Tallgrass Brewing’s Buffalo Sweat. It’s a lot more complex and flavorful than Guiness and most other stouts that I’ve tried.

India Pale Ale (IPA)
Dogfish Head “90 Minute IPA”
There is a huge selection of great IPA’s out there, but my favorite is Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer when I lived in Michigan, but they unfortunately do not distribute in Minnesota so it has been a while since I’ve had one. I recently paid a premium to get one bottle of it on a trip to Florida, and now I’m waiting for just the right moment to enjoy it.

Scottish Ale
Odell “90 Shilling Ale”
Probably my favorite style of beer to drink next to a fire on a cold, snowy night is a Scottish ale. My preferred Scattish ale is Odell Brewing’s 90 Shilling Ale. It goes down so easily!

Winter
Sierra Nevada “Celebration Ale”
Winter seasonals can really vary from one to the next. They aren’t really a set style, mostly just beers to warm you up when it’s cold. I recently tried Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale and I was immediately impressed. It has a whole lot of flavor, and it definitely warms you up. This is another one that left a lasting impression with me.

Wheat
Bell’s “Winter White”
I’m not much of a wheat beer fan, but I really like Bell’s Winter White. It’s a lot lighter than your typical winter seasonal but it makes you think of snow and it just tastes good.

Coffee
Surly “Coffee Bender”
Really any style of beer could be a coffee beer. There are ambers with coffee out there, you hear a lot about coffee stouts, etc. The only one that I’ve ever taken to is the brown ale with coffee made by Surly, called Coffee Bender. In my opinion, this one gets the balance between the coffee flavor and the beer flavor just right. This is one that you can probably only find around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, unfortunately.

Beer styles I just can’t get myself to care for:
Pilsner
Oktoberfest
Pumpkin Ales

What are your favorite examples of different beer styles?

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