Thursday, March 22, 2012

So, What's Your Favorite Beer?

So, what's your favorite beer?

Ah, that little gem. It's a question that, inevitably, every craft beer drinker gets asked at some point, and typically many, many times by various different people.  So, with all this beer drinking under our belts, we should have a good answer, right? Well, I don't. As far as I know, I've answered that question differently every time I've been asked. Most recently, I was asked on the Strange Music podcast what my favorite beer on tap was. Well, my mind sort of raced, and I kind of dodged the question by instead answering with what the best beer I've had on tap recently was (I said New Belgium's Cocoa Mole, a beer that took me by surprise at the time and enjoyed so much that I still crave it). But, I can think of at least a half dozen other beers that I've responded with in the recent past (Rayon Vert may have been mentioned a couple times).

I guess the problem, to me, is that I don't know that I really HAVE a single favorite beer. And as I continue to try more and more different beers of different styles from different breweries, that mental database of great brew I've tasted gets more and more muddled and it becomes even harder to pick a single top standout. And I don't think most people who ask about my favorite beer will have the patience to stand there waiting for an answer while I peruse my Untappd history.  Hell, I have a hard time picking what I want for lunch most of the time, how am I supposed to pick my favorite beer EVER?

To me, the question is kind of like asking a music fan what their favorite song is (or any person, really). Is there ever really a perfect answer? No matter how you respond, you'll almost always think of something later that you'll kick your own ass for not having said, or someone else will chime in and disagree and say something else is best.

So what's the best way to answer this question? Favorite regular-drinking beer? Most impressive beer I've ever had, even if it's something I don't have often, or may never have again? Best beer I've had recently that was a standout? Does it really matter? In my experience, at least, the people who tend to ask this question the most aren't craft beer drinkers, so I feel like if I'm too long winded, whatever I say is going to go in one ear and out the other. But, at the same time, I hate to just blow off the question and respond with something like "Well, there's just so many out there that it's hard to choose.." because then I feel like the inquirer looks at me like I'm an idiot.

This could very well just be a case of me being indecisive and having beer ADD, but I'm curious to know how everyone typically responds to this question. Do you have a go-to beer, or does it change with the seasons/your mood/whatever you've had recently that was fantastic?


  1. I had a similar conversation with someone about this awhile back -- talking about "what is your favorite restaurant?"

    Also an impossible question to answer. Favorite to sit on a patio? Favorite Asian restaurant? Best for beer drinking? Favorite Mexican restaurant? Where I take people from out of town? Date night? The answers are all different.

    We then sort of decided that our "favorite" restaurant was the one we visited most often -- because of all the considerations, we "vote" on our favorite with our money, right?

    So what beer do you drink most often? While this may not be your favorite beer, it would be your favorite, most often, for the price.

    Which means my "favorite" beer is Lil' Sumpin Sumpin. And my favorite restaurant is the Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood. Even if there are other places I "like" better, for my money, I like these the most often.

  2. My choice for Sipping:
    -Firestone Walker XIV

    Everyday beer:
    -Green Flash Rayon Vert (until recently it was Boulevard Tank 7 hands down). Perhaps it could be something like Jolly Pumpkin La Roja if the cost was lower.

    Seasonal Beer:
    -A certain wet hop beer from the makers of KBS.

    What would I drink if it was available at all times:
    -Goose Island Dominique
    -New Belgium Le Terroir

    ...and why not, a reliable IPA with spicy cuisine would be FW Union Jack

    ...I'm sure I'm leaving something out, but it would be how I would lead in to this conversation myself.

  3. I feel EXACTLY the same way. Therefor I cannot help you. I have no favorite, nor do I want one

  4. My favorite beer is Bourbon County Stout because i'm a homer, it's my favorite stout, and I heard Auggie can get 2 bodies in one barrel.

    That said, I rate IPAs on the Double Jack scale, so that's up there, too.

  5. Although I don't like the idea of favorites myself, one beer did knock my socks off & that was 3 Floyd's Dark Lord Stout. Some people may say or think it's overhyped but I have yet to drink a beer that was as tasty. I keep a simple database of all the beers I've had (if I didn't I'b be lost!) & I'm up around 700 now & nothing but that one has earned a perfect score for me personally. Great post!

  6. I hit enter then thought of one that came close to perfect that I had recently & that was Ithaca's Alphalpha. Holy shit! I love hoppy beers & this one made my cheeks pucker - in a very good way. If you are a hophead order this baby online or make a trade cuz it's damn good!!

  7. Boulevard Single Wide IPA. On a hot summers day...after a long days shoveling snow...hanging with good friends...mowing the lawn...sitting on the pot...anything and everything is better with a Single Wide. Its my all time go to beer.

  8. Stone Ruination is probably my favorite.

    Best beer I've ever had would have to be Firestone Walker Parabola, so complex and delicious.

    Favorite seasonal would probably be Sierra Nevada Bigfoot. Love me some barleywine!

  9. Nice post. I have the same problem as well. Although I find that its not only the beer, but also the situation. I've had several beers that blew me away, only later on to find them underwhelming. I'm sure its a whole lot of things that go into it, freshness, temperature, atmosphere, friends i'm with, etc. So I've almost tried to just stick with what beer I was drinking when I had my best beer drinking experience. If that makes any sense.

    Otherwise, I tell them that my favorite is Westvleteren and they look at me confused because they think i just sneezed or something. Also, my other favorite beer is Pilsner Urquell, but only in Czech. It just doesnt travel at all and tastes nothing like it did there. Of course, there could be the other factors involved as well. But when I tell craft beer drinkers this, they generally just kind of snear because most people have only had Urquell here and it really isnt very good.

  10. I don't truly have a favorite beer but I answer Union Jack when asked the question.

    My reasons for answering this is that it is as close as any other beer to being my favorite and it is easily available locally year round so I don't come of as the "oh I like this one beer that is impossible to get" guy.

  11. I probably drink more Tank 7 than any other beer. It helps that it is usually pretty easy to find when you go out.

  12. Boulevard Chocolate Ale!!!

    I kid, I kid. I still have two bottles that I don't know what to do with.

    In all seriousness, though, I've been into sour beers lately and New Belgium's latest La Folie hit a high note with me.

    A favorite beer is like choosing your favorite child, it's just plain wrong!

  13. Typically when asked the question I respond with my favorite style of beer at the moment and then give a few of the notably tasty ones I've had recently.

    Definitely agree that there should not be a single favorite beer for a dedicated craft beer consumer. If there was, what would there be to look forward too? I enjoy seeking out the beers I've never tried and comparing them to the somewhat blurry memories of the many delicious ones I've had in the past.

  14. the one in my hand, duh!

  15. St Bernardus Abt 12

  16. Tried Rayon Vert, but Tank 7 still wins.