As you all know, I am an unrelenting beer snob. Okay, snob may be too strong of a word, because I will happily drink whatever beer given to me at a party. But if I'm going to spend my own money, I'm not going to buy Pabst. Not that there's anything wrong with Pabst. . .okay, there totally is something wrong with Pabst, but that's a topic for another post.
Now, thanks to my days spent at the Green Leafe Tavern, I break down my beers into two categories - beer I drink to explore the world of beer, and beer that I drink because I want to drink beer. Seems odd, but once you get into beer, you find that there are thousands of flavors in beer, from sweet to sour. Belgium has really lead the way in this, though it does seem ironic that a country without a functioning government, and which is constantly on the verge of splitting in two, could lead the world in anything, but its true. I have had my mind blown by the likes of Oerbier by the Mad Brewers of Belgium, Rodenbach (the first sour beer I've ever tasted, and easily the best), Allagash Interlude (from Maine, true, but very Belgium-ish).
But, like I said, sometimes I don't want my mind blown, I just want to drink beer. For these times, I have the Rotation - beers that I tend to buy that are almost always in my refrigerator. Like any good rotation, I go from one beer to the other depending on mood, but I almost always come back to these beers. So, without further ado, here are the beers that are in my rotation:
Stone Brewing - IPA - Stone is the godfather of San Diego's craft brewing scene. Okay, maybe not the godfather, but definitely the leader, defining San Diego's brewing style for the past 15 years. And for me, the best beer Stone produces is the IPA. Its light, crisp, and bitter as hell - the product of a ridiculous amount of hops added to the beer that gives it its fragrance and spice. Now, I love all of Stone's beers, but I always come back to the IPA. Always.
Grupo Modelo - Pacifico Clara - Here's proof that I'm not a beer snob - I drink Pacifico. Its basically Corona, but with slightly more character. I don't know why I prefer Pacifico to Budweiser or Corona or Coors, but I do. There, I said it. Let's move on.
Ballast Point - Yellowtail Pale Ale - Okay, as a rule, I dislike pale ales because every craft brewer makes a pale ale. It is, after all, the easiest beer for a homebrewer to make, and is usually the first beer that craft brewers learned to make. As a result, most brewers hold onto the pale ale out of nostalgia. That said, Yellowtail Pale Ale is not a true pale ale, but rather, a German style Kolsch ale. As a result, its a sort of a cross between a pilsner and a pale ale. . .definitely a plus for a rotation beer.
Julian Hard Cider - Hard Cider - Okay, here's the curveball. Julian Hard Cider isn't a beer at all, its a cider. At around 7% abv, its alcohol content is pretty much like a beer, but instead of being made of barley, hops and yeast, its simply apples and yeast. Anyway, the cider made it to the Rotation by being so damned good and food friendly. Its completely dry, slightly acidic, smells of apples, light and crisp. The only problem I have with this cider is that my girlfriend likes it as much as I do.
Guinness/Czechvar/Pilsner Urquell - Okay, these are three very different beers, but they fit into my foreign beers category. While Czechvar and Pilsner Urquell are both lagers, they are completely different from Pacifico. Specifically, both are crisp with a good amount of hops. Seriously, try Czechvar and you'll never really want to drink Budweiser (which stole its name from Czechvar, long story) again. Guinness, of course, is the great beer of Ireland. And as much as I hate the conglomerate that owns the brewery (Black lager? Seriously?) I love the beer. Whenever I'm drinking out with friends, and I don't know what to order, I'll order a Guinness. Its my go-to beer.
So, as I said, here are the beers in my rotation. Are they my favorites? Not really. But they are all good beers (or ciders) in their own right. So, if you haven't tried them yet, do so.