Really Eating Real Food

Beers You May (or May Not) Like

While I don’t consider myself a drinker, and I limit myself to one beer with a meal if
I’m going to have one, I love how beer can pair with food, and I love to drink
micro-brews (AKA Craft beers). Below is my present list with comments of
Beers I like and many of them are Colorado beers because I live in Colorado.

Avery’s White Rascal
92pt – If coriander was in a beer dictionary I think this beer would be next to
the picture. The wheaty mouth feel plus the coriander frankly reminds me of many of
the whit/wheat beers that have come out in the last decade. If you like Blue Moon,
but are looking for something with more rip-your-face-off coriander and a bit more
body then this is definitely worth checking out. See also: New Belgium’s Trippel.
Breckenridge Vanilla Porter
89pt – a tasty, but sweet Porter. If you’re used to the richness of
a chocolate porter this porter is going to be sweet. If you like more
sweet, caramely porters, then this may be right up your alley. I feel
like this beer should be tested with some sort of bread to infuse it with the yeasty,
vanilla goodness that it has in its flavor.
Boulder Beer Hazed & Infused
88pt – This is a moderately hoppy beer, but is not strong enough flavor wise to
make me really excited about it. I’d still drink it over a number of
other beers and any of the big three.
Boulder Beer Porter
88pt – A typical porter with just a hint of sweetness on top of the chocolate
notes that one expects from a porter.
Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Porter (bottle)
90pt – This is one my father-in-law introduced me to. The richness is not masked
with sweetness, but the flavors are complex and the mouth feel is pleasant.
Deschutes Brewery Abbyss Stout (nitro-tap)
92pt – This beer has a nice, rich, licorice flavor. A thick viscous mouthfeel and
strong yeasty flavor make this a solid stout.
Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Porter (tap)
92pt – Differeing slightly from the bottled in that the flavors seem to be more
complete or complex this beer is worth having for sure if you’ve got access to it on
tap.
Dry Dock Apricot
89pt – sweet, fruity and highly drinkable. If you don’t prefer
sweeter beers, stay away from this one. I also feel this beer should be
in a bread recipe one day.
Dry Dock U-Boat Hefeweizen
89pt – I like Hefeweizen a lot. My brother-in-law digs them and this
is certainly a nice one. Nice spiciness and a clean finish.
Dry Dock Victory ESB
88pt – I don’t remember what this one tasted like (sorry, just being honest) but
everything I’ve had from Dry Dock has been at the very least quite drinkable.
They’re just around the corner from me and I enjoy their flavors and
variety a lot.
Dry Dock Pumpkin
90pt – Sweet, pumpkiny, spicy and definitely ready for Thanksgiving drinking. I
think even my wife would like this beer and she doesn’t prefer beer (but she DOES
like pumpkin).
Estes Park Brewery Raspberry Wheat
90pt – This was the first raspberry beers I’d ever tried. I drank it at a
wonderful Italian joint up in Estes Park and they told me that the brewery was across
the street. As soon as dinner was over I drove across the street and bought a six
pack to take home with me. Good stuff, but definitely sweet and fruity.
Firestone-Walker Porter
95pt – A solid, delicious Porter. The right balance of sweetness with richness
that porters should have. Definitely worth trying if you’ve not had one before and
you enjoy porters.
Firestone-Walker Velvet Merlin
99pt – An oatmeal stout with a wonderful smokey, chocolate flavor. The aroma is
very similar to the taste, so when you take a good sniff of the head you’ll be getting
a good start to a great, great tasting beer. This one will definitely be one I get
again to share with friends.
Goose Island Pepe Nero
80pt – If I love the Sofie so much (and I do), this one is still a bit of a pass
to me. Much better than one of the big three’s “lite” offerings, but still short of
amazing to me. Apologies to the brewers whom I respect so much for their work with
Sofie.
Goose Island Sofie
100pt – This is my current favorite beer. At $7.00 or so a
bottle (16 ounces) you probably aren’t going to be grabbing a bunch and chugging them
down, but the complexity and the flavor in this beer makes it worth the price in
spades.
Gordon Biersch WinterBock
90pt – This lager is dark, well spiced, and was tasty with my lunch (Cajun
Pasta). A bit sweet and pretty high alcohol so don’t get too aggressive.
Grand Lake Plaid Bastard
85pt – This is a funkier beer. The label says that it has peat smoked malt in it
and I’m pretty sure that I’m tasting peat, malt, and a hair of smoke. Unfortunately
all of those flavors don’t marry for me, and so I can’t recommend this strongly. I’d
still drink it over any of the beers from the big 3 and it might taste good with some
bold dishes, but I’m not excited about it compared to Old Chub, which is another
Scottish Ale.
Grand Lake Shadow Mountain Oatmeal Stout
85pt – I’m going to start off by saying I think this was an off bottle. I’m going
to intentionally look for this a second time to give it another try. The reason I say
all that is to say this: there was a distinctly sour vinegary element to this
particular bottle I’ve first tried and I did NOT like that in a stout.
Grand Lake Stump Jumper
89pt – This has a start like an IPA: hoppy, piney and such. But the mid to back
palate has a strawberry hint that confused me at first, but drew me in after a few
swigs of the libation. I’d have ranked it higher except that it’s not a blonde, which
would have made this a shoe-in for a 93pts. The hops should grab traditional IPA
drinkers, but the strawberry might be enough for folks who don’t prefer IPAs to make
this one more attractive.
Grand Lake Wooley Booger Nut Brown Ale
89pt – This nut brown ale has a sharp, crisp start, and a sweet, nutty almost
graham cracker finish. Unfortunately that crisp start reminds me of seltzer water –
which is not what one expects in a beer.
Great Divide Hoss
85pt – This is just not a variety I prefer. It’s just a personal
preference, but I know that other folks like it. It’s an Oktoberfest
beer, and so it’s at least worth a try during that season.
Hazel Dell Brewery Porter (tap)
98pt – the only thing that would make this beer more perfect was if I could get
it in my neck of the woods. The start of the palate is hit with an unsweetened cocoa
which is relatively common in porters. The mid-palate gets a warm nutty flavor that I
absolutely love. The finish is a darker mollasses flavor that really melds well with
the nutty flavor before it.
Hazel Dell Brewery Red Zone Pale (tap)
95pt – My favorite red is BJ’s brewhouse’s Jeremiah Red, but this one comes a
lovely close second. Slightly sweet, slightly hoppy, very, very good.
Hazel Dell Weinachten Fest (tap)
100pt – This is like the porter, but with a caramel finish instead of mollasses.
To put this incontext it is like drinking peanut brittle. If that sounds odd to you
then you’ve not tried this North West treasure. If I could get this at home I would
probably have a problem 😉
Lagunitas The Hairy Eyeball
89pt – This American style ale reminds me of a bit more balanced Scottish Ale. In
other words I prefer it over the scottish ales that I’ve had to date. This has a
spiciness, and a sweetness, but less of the funk that Scottish Ales seem to have.
Brewed in the town of Petaluma (where I’ve driven through 100’s of times, mostly as a
kid), I’d probably like to visit this brewery and try it on tap.
Left Hand Double Sawtooth (ESB)
88pt – I’m still not madly in love with hoppy beers, but I do enjoy most of Left
Hands Beers (which I have listed here).
Left Hand Milk Stout
92pt – Sweet, desserty, and frankly a personal favorite. If you’re
in the mood for something to drink and don’t want to consume a brownie (another
personal favorite food) then this beer is for you.
Left Hand Porter
90pt – This porter is sweet and well rounded. I enjoy this one a bit
more than a few of the porters I’ve reviewed.
Left Hand Haystack Wheat
88pt – better than Blue Moon, but not something I get excited about compared to
Goose Island’s Sofie.
Lion Brewery’s Lion Stout
98pt – This beer has a LOT of weight to it. It’s heavy and the chocolate is like
eating a good single-origin chocolate bar with that yummy, yeastiness of beer. I
enjoy drinking this and I enjoy baking with this in chocolate cakes. If you offer me
one of these, I’m likely to say, “OK!” Thanks to my friend Tyler for recommmending this
New Belgium 1554
98pt – The perfect dark beer I have a deep love for this beer. I cannot turn one
down if offered to me as it just has so much body, flavor and heartiness. It reminds
me of a deep, molasses loaf of bread in a bottle.
New Belgium Dig
85pt – This is one of the more bland IPA options out there (to me). It’s not bad,
but it’s not good. Get a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or a Myrcenary instead.
New Belgium Fat Tire
88pt – The first beer I liked (after having tried several of the national
brands). Fat Tire has now become widely available, but I still enjoy the
taste with a good steak.
New Belgium Frambozen
87pt – Frambozen is apparently Belgian for Raspberry. This brown ale is infused
with Rapsberries and has a slightly sweeter brown ale start followed by a raspberry
finish. I prefer the Estes Park raspberry wheat just a bit better. If you prefer a
less obvious raspberry, this one is for you.
New Belgium La Folie
not rated – I don’t prefer “Britt” or sour beers. I’ve tried a few and it just
isn’t my thing.
New Belgium Mothership Whit
91pt – Spiced well (too well for some, but I like the spices) and organic! This
beer is in the Folly Pack (where I had it first) and should be picked up if you find
it and enjoy a Belgian styled wheat beer.
New Belgium Trippel
89pt – Spiced with coriander and with a nice mouth feel. I would rank this above
Blue Moon, and below Avery in the Coriander beers. Not bad, but apparently not
everyone likes coriander in their beers? Sad, really, because I enjoy them a lot.
Odell 90 Schilling
95pt – A great intro to beer in my opinion. If you find someone who has not had
beer and they’re going to drink a beer with a meal this is a good one to start off
with because it has a lot of complexity with some sweetness. I order
this at Red Robin’s with my burger when I’m feeling spendy.
Odell 5 Barrel Pale Ale
90 pt – I love this pale ale and I don’t prefer pale ales compared to darker
beers. This one feels like drinking Christmas morning because it is
cool, refreshing, piney, and has a slightly sweet, but piney finish.
Odell IPA
90pt – I’m beginning to like IPAs more at this point in time. The flavor is just
distinctly minty compared to other beers. I’m certain it’s the hops coming out and
others will probably say it’s piney as well, but this is a solid IPA. I would like to
try this beer with some salty and spicy Asian food.
Odell Red
85pt I do not love this beer compared to BJ’s Jeremiah’s Red, which is my
favorite red beer. It is not gross or disappointing, it’s just not as
good as the Jeremiah.
Oskar Blues Gubna
75 – Do not like. This beer is like a psychological confusion concoction in a
can. It smells and tastes like something I cannot describe and I just can’t get into
it. Others love it, though, so don’t take my grading on this one.
Oskar Blues Old Chub
92pt – This beer tastes like it was brewed to be a brown ale, spiced to be a
Belgian Wheat, and then stored in an oak barrel for 2 weeks to finish off its
complexity. While I was hesitant to buy it in a can, I really enjoy this
beer.
Santa Fe Brewing’s Imperial Java Stout
94pt – This imperial stout packs a punch (not that that’s a surprise) and the
coffee oomph is matched by the stouty sweetness. A bit of milk and this would be the
best coffee-beer I’ve tried to date (4/28/2012). The coffee flavor is strong, but
there’s definitely a strong buzz here, so you may want to drink this with a friend [8%
ABV]. The flavor is definitely heavy on coffee, but because stouts often have a lot of
chocolate involved you can certainly see how this might be more like a mocha beer. I
would definitely recommend giving this one a try if you like stouts and coffee – which
I do.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
95pt – This is so commonly available I get nervous recommending it, but it’s really
quite good. There’s flavor, there’s mouth feel. The piney qualities are just right.
Some Pale Ales take you on a tree-licking field trip, but this has got the proper
balance. Give it a try, you won’t be sad.
Sinebrychoff Porter
96pt – This has to be one of the more distinct porters I’ve consumed (to date)
and it’s from Finland. It has a nuttiness similar to the Hazel Dell porter, a
sweetness, but not too syrupy. If you come across this import, pick it up, you
shouldn’t be disappointed.
Ska True Blonde Dubbel
89pt – I’m not in love with blonde beers (though I am in love with a blonde, my
wife) but this one is pretty good. Nice and drinkable, but nothing that
makes me want to drink them regularly. This is largely due to my
preference and you should check this one out for yourself.
Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown
88pt – I don’t love this beer, despite generally liking sweet beers, because it
just doesn’t quite blend the maple with the rest of the beer flavors. I
have had it at the brewery, but it just didn’t do it for me. Not gross,
but not quite what I envision from the name.
Tommyknocker Oak Aged Butthead
50pt – I do not prefer this beer (or most oak aged beers, but see my current
favorite Goose Island), as far as I’m concerned they should not produce it.
Tommyknocker Imperial Nut Brown Ale
88pt – This beer is a bit more balanced compared to its Maple-based cousin. I
would have this one first because of its richer flavor.
Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale 2010
76pt – Oaky like the Tommyknocker Oak Aged Butthead. I think I have a problem
with bears that taste more like whiskey than they do like beer.
Twisted Pine Pearl St Porter
92pt – Sweet, tasty and my second favorite porter. I had this at a
Whole Foods Octoberfest food tasting they offered and I fell in love with it.
I have bought this one a few times because it’s so good [instead of
exploring new beers].
Twisted Pine Billy’s Chilies
88pt – A great cooking beer, novel to drink, but it definitely is a chili based
drink so you’ll either need to be in the mood, or need to cook with it. I would
absolutely recommend it for cooking, your food will be shockingly good.