It’s a common question, particularly by people that aren’t really craft beer drinkers -- What’s your favorite beer?
It’s a silly question in a way. How could I have just one favorite? What are we eating? If it’s Thanksgiving dinner I might want a nice malty brown ale to pair with it. Where are we? If we’re on a beach in Hawaii, I might be leaning towards a juicy IPA or something with coconut. What’s the weather like? If it’s snowy I might a heavy imperial stout out on the porch.
I can’t help but think this question comes from a place where people generally drink one thing and stick to it. A bartender might ask, “What’s your poison?” inferring that the main purpose of booze is intoxication and asking what your preferred delivery method is. It’s less common these days, at least in the places I frequent, for a bartender to bring you a refill and assume whatever beer you’re drinking is the beer you want to keep drinking until you say stop. I never really understood why my desire to try something different was viewed so abnormally.
My favorite beer has certainly changed dozens of times over the years. Perhaps it started in college, before I even liked beer, as Labatt Blue Ice because it was somehow less disgusting than regular Labatt Blue. Maybe it transitioned to Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock as I discovered that beer could actually taste good. What is it now? I struggle to even pick my favorite beer of the past year.
My common response to the question is simply to reflect on the most interesting beer I’ve had recently. There was a Maine Lunch in there, great beer. I just had Lawson’s Finest Liquid’s Super Session #2, which was delicious. I knew those were going to be good though, the beer that jumped out and surprised me, the one I’d mention were I to be asked about my favorite beer, would be Ballast Point’s Grunion. It was so full-flavored and complex. It wasn’t just a one-note IPA, in fact it’s listed as a pale ale. It’s got a 9.15 BAR, is 32% better than the average Pale, and is Ballast Point’s third highest rated beer.
That’ll last until the next beer wow’s me. Perhaps it’ll be the new BCBS varietal, or another harvest ale. Or maybe it’ll be one of the winter warmers I’ve got lined up for a BeerSport. Likely it’ll be something out of left field that really knocks my socks off. Either way, I embrace my changing tastes and the discovery of new and awesome beer.
So what’s YOUR favorite beer?
Michael can be found on Twitter and Untappd and was drinking a ho-hum beer-punned coffee stout while writing this. You can also email him at email@example.com.