Ok, once again, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. But this blog has been floating around in my head as an idea for quite a while now, so I figured I’d go ahead and get it out there. So here we go!
As you may or may not know, Ricky and I have a beer blog together. How did this start? Well, honestly, when we first started dating, I didn’t even like much beer. Ricky pretty much changed all that. Somehow we both ended up getting into craft beer a lot more and have come to know quite a bit about what is out there. We also both like to blog and kept trying to figure out what kind of blog we could have together. When we came across a book called 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die, an idea was born. Since May of 2011, we’ve been working our way through this book and trying as many beers from it as we can find. We named the blog 1001 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, and just like the song, started counting backwards from 1001 and are now (as of this post) down to number 844. I think that this is quite an accomplishment given that in that time, I’ve also finished my MBA, we’ve moved across the country, and we’ve taken a trip to Europe. Life is busy, and somehow we’ve found a way to drink over 150 beers and blog about them!
So you know I’ve tried a lot of beer. But there are really only a few that I would continue to drink over and over again and go back to time and time again. And for pretty much every one of them, there’s a reason it’s on this list. I think they all have a story behind them. So, here you go – my top 5 favorite beers.
Ricky first introduced me to this beer. He had tried it long before I got a chance to have one. Four Peaks is a local brewery here based in Tempe, AZ. They also have a brewpub/restaurant about a mile down the street from us, and it is by far one of our go-to places. Not only do they have some really great beer (their Peach Ale is a favorite as well), but everything I’ve ever tried off their food menu pretty much rocks. If you go there, try the spanakopita, egg rolls, spicy edamame, Thai hummus… or even a pizza. It’s all tasty! But the Kilt Lifter is definitely their best beer and a very popular one here in the valley. You can find it almost anywhere on tap. It’s kind of heavy, but it’s a terrific Scottish-style ale, and it was one of the first local beers I tried here, so it will probably always be one of my faves.
Yet another awesome beer. Well, of course it is to make this list. Ricky and I have actually visited the brewery where this one is made too, and this was really the only one of their beers we were fond of. We first tried it in Louisville at a bar at Fourth Street Live. If you ever visit Louisville, make sure you make a visit to Fourth Street Live. It’s almost like a tiny version of Vegas, since you can feel free to carry your beers around with you outside. We had heard about this beer and checked out a bar with a pretty good tap list, and they happened to have it on tap, so we jumped on the chance to try it. I’m glad we did! This beer has been a great go-to beer that I never get tired of and try to pick up when I make it back to Indiana, since unfortunately it’s not available here. But it’s definitely one of my top choices out of any beer list.
This beer was another one that I tried on one of our trips. Actually, all of these have a story where I was on a trip somewhere! While the Kilt Lifter is easily available now, I first had it on a trip to Arizona before I lived here. This one from Terrapin, which is based in Georgia, I had on a trip to Pensacola, Florida. Ricky and I took a weekend trip down there and while it was a bit cold to go to the beach (we were there in February), we had a great time checking out some fun places in Pensacola. One of them was a great bar that had an awesome tap selection, and we happened to be there on Sunday when all of their draft beers were half price. We sat at the bar trying some new ones while we watched person after person come in and order crappy domestic bottles. It boggled our minds. Why would you drink that when all the drafts were half off? People are weird. But I tried this new beer, the Wake-n-Bake, and I loved it. It instantly made my list of favorites, and I’ll never forget being there or trying it. Unfortunately, I’m never anywhere that I can get it! Just recently, I talked to a co-worker who lives in one of the states that carries it, and he managed to get me a couple of bottles of it. I tried one the other day, the first time I’ve had it since then, and it is every bit as good as I remember. I’ll snag some more if I ever get another chance to!
If I was basing this list solely on the taste of the beer, this one might actually make it to #1. But my #1 beer actually has a few more reasons why it’s #1 than just the taste, so it will probably hold on to that spot forever. But this one isn’t leaving the list any time soon, that’s for sure! Ricky and I made a trip to Chicago one weekend when we still lived in Indy, and we visited Goose Island as well as Three Floyds that weekend. We tried some very rare beers at both places… somehow we just happened to be there around the time they were released, so we got pretty lucky. Ricky had actually never heard about this beer, but I had been following Goose Island on Twitter, and they had talked about making it. It just sounded really good, and I wanted to try it while we were there. I ordered one, not knowing how much it costed and finding out later it was $25 a bottle. Yikes! But I’m glad I didn’t let that deter me, because it was totally worth it. This is not a beer you get to drink every day, and that just makes it even more special. I took one taste of this beer the first time, and fell in love with it. I almost didn’t get a chance to try it again, but somehow we found out that a local bar had a few bottles a few weeks later, and we snatched some up. We’ve had two bottles of it for over a year and decided to pull one out and try it the other day. It is just as good as I remember, and I look forward to some special day when we drink that last bottle.
#1 – Maui Coconut Porter
Here we are, my favorite beer. Ricky and I went to Hawaii (Oahu and the Big Island) in March of 2010. This was a pretty epic trip for us, and we had an absolute blast. We fell in love with Hawaii and have wanted to go back (and even move there!) ever since. We are finally planning a trip back this year for our five-year anniversary at the end of the year. When we were there, we stayed at a hotel near Waikiki, within walking distance of the beach. If you’ve never been there, Waikiki is kind of like a Vegas strip on the beach. There are a ton of shops, restaurants, and hotels along the way, one of the restaurants being Yard House. Ricky had been to a Yard House before in Arizona, but I had never heard of it. It’s called Yard House because you can actually order a half yard of beer, and they have a huge selection of draft beers. Their bar is an oval shape, and the taps go all the way around the middle of the bar, over 100 taps in all. When we visited the one in Waikiki, I was just starting to get into trying more beer and of course we had to try some of the local brews. So I picked Maui Brewing’s Coconut Porter. I love coconut, and I loved this beer. You can bet I drank several more of them before our trip was over, and even brought some cans of it home with me. It’s not available in Indiana, so when I made a trip to California later that year, I had to grab some more to bring home. I was so excited when we decided to move to Arizona and I found out that it’s available here! I still like to keep it special, and since we are always trying new beers anyway, I just grab a four-pack of the Coconut Porter to enjoy every now and then. It’s way better on draft anyway, and I’ve only had it on draft in Hawaii, Seattle, and once here in the valley at World of Beer. I can’t wait until we head to Maui in December to visit the brewery, even if it just means I get to have it on tap again.
So there you have it – my top 5 favorites. There are plenty of other beers that I like, including some Belgians, but these five are all VERY tasty and all have good memories and stories attached to them. So make sure if you are out and have a chance to try one, do it! They just might end up at the top of your list too.