Friday, January 28, 2011

BS Beer of the Year 2010

I take my beer seriously. Whether I am enjoying a cold one after a Bad Gnus game on a warm evening, hanging out at home with the family or traveling the world, I try to never cheat myself out of the enjoyment of a tasty beer. That is why the BS Beer of the Year is the most prestigious of all of the BS Awards. The best way to read this narrative is by popping open your own favorite brew. I’d love to hear where you think I made a bad choice or hear of your experiences. I don’t have to agree, but I can respect.

Best Travel Beer - Goose Island 312. I love traveling. I think it is a rewarding and enriching experience that every one should do as much as possible. Stay tuned for my coming travel blog… Along these travels, I make it a point to sample the beers that the locals enjoy. You can really only assimilate into a society by getting a little tipsy with the natives. In Chicago this year, I fell in love with 312 from the Goose Island Brewery. You couldn’t stumble into a bar in Chicago without finding this beer. It is labeled an "Urban Wheat Beer". I don’t know what that means aside from marketing ploy. I didn’t hear any hip-hop when I sipped it. It is a very drinkable wheat beer but also has a nice flavor to it. It is filtered, so it is not as heavy as a Hefeweizen. This beer received a bit of international acclaim when President Obama offered up some 312 in a World Cup wager with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Sadly, I cannot find 312 at my local BevMo. Crikey.

Best American Beer not from Sam Adams - Alaskan Amber. This beer first made it too this list as a travel beer from my beautiful cruise though the Inland Passage. It is a tasty, drinkable beer that is good any time of year or day.

Best Beer on Tap – Pyramid Alehouse Amber. Can’t get this in bottles anywhere and that is just as well. It is so good on tap. The unfiltered Pyramids are always better live. This is a rare unfiltered amber brew, mixes two of my favorite beer characteristics. I am lucky that it is too much of a hassle for me to go downtown to fill up my growler with this. But maybe I can sneak away for just a bit this afternoon…

Best Mass Produced Import – Newcastle. This has been one of my favorite beers for years. This is such a smooth and tasty beer, I can’t envision a time when this isn’t one of my go-to beers. I like it so much that Newcastle United is now my second favorite English Premier League football club. Ironically, I have never had a Newcastle in England. It is a little better for me in the winter than the summer, but you won’t see me turning one down in July. Bonus points for the awesome little keg you can get. I love drinking from this.

Best English Beer - Sam Smith’s Nut Brown. This is a bit of a special occasion beer to me. It is a little darker than the typical amber beers that our littering this list. I’m sure it’s all mental, but drinking this makes with this of sitting in a pub in Londontown with dark brown paneling on the walls and highlights of footy on the telly.

Best Mexican Beer - Dos XX Amber. I love me some Mexican food. See previous post on Burrito Week and the spare tire around my middle as evidence. Whether I am at a dive taqueria or sitting in my kitchen, the wonderful tastes from south of the border go down more smoothly with a Dos XX Amber. I am noticing a lot of beers on this list are amber beers. I think I am gravitating toward a type.

Best Fruit Beer – Pyramid Apricot Ale. Ape Ale has been in my life longer than any other beer on this list. I’m not a big fan of apricots, but somehow this unfiltered wheat beer has just the right amount of subtle fruit flavor to love. I’m just gay enough to like a good fruit beer, but so often it is overdone. But when it is done well, it is fabulous.

Best Local Brewery – Rubicon. The Rubicon is a wonderful midtown place. It just has the right kind of feel to it. I like going there for lunch. I like going there for a mid afternoon break. I like going there for a late beer. It is a simple enough place with great food and better waffle fries. Rubicon harkens me back to Mrs. Sexy’s law school days when we would meet some of her lawyers-of-the-future friends and share a basket of fries and a pitcher or three of tasty beer. This was in the early days of craft brewers and the beer was something special and unique. I would refill my Rubic’s Cube of beer for special drinking occasions. My beer of choice back then is no longer available. One of my favorite beer names is Monkey Knife Fight. Unfortunately, that is too Sierra Nevada-y for my tastes. My beer of choice is the humbly named, wait for it, Amber. It’s a nice, smooth malty brew as you would expect from a beer so deftly named. Stop by for a basket of waffle fries and tell them the Big Sexy sent you.

This makes me think of the top places in town to grab a brew. Here’s my list.
1. Crawdad’s on a sunny, warm Spring day
2. Rubicon
3. Fox & Goose
4. Beach Hut Deli
5. Pyramid Brewpub

I’m very much looking forward to the Kilt Pub. Please do your part to help this new business. I know I will.

Best Sam Adams – Octoberfest. Samuel Adams is my favorite brewery. I can’t wait for a trip to Boston. I like many of their beers. Sammy Light was even beer of the year for 2009. I love the Cherry Wheat, Old Fezziwig, Blackberry Witbeir and Summer Ale. But topping of those is my BS Beer of the Year 2010, Octoberfest! It is a deep, rich beer with the slightest amount of bite for those cooler Fall evenings. Makes daylight savings time more palatable and gears me up for the holiday season.

With all of this information, none of you have reason to drink and weak or bitter beer. It doesn’t suit you. I know I’m thirsty now. Cheers!

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