The Perfect (Possible) Tap List

Eno Sarris, July 21, 2016

Having just spent the last three weeks drinking the best of Connecticut, Cleveland, San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco, and Oakland, I sort of sighed the first time I saw Will Gordon's excellent piece on creating “16 Perfect Taps” -- there were just so many beers still sitting on my taste buds. 

Having now been back for a few days, and reminiscing, creating a list of my own like this is maybe the perfect thing for a wistful Wednesday evening. I've got plenty of candidates in my head at least.

First, Bryan Roth was so kind as to create the BeerGraphs branded tap list when he checked the various rating sites for their 16s, and so the groundwork is laid: 

BeerGraphs' Perfect 16 Taps

  • Tap 1, House IPA: Trillium Double Dry Hopped Congress Street IPA
  • Tap 2, House Pale Ale: Lagunitas Born Yesterday
  • Tap 3, House Saison: Hill Farmstead Arthur
  • Tap 4, House Cheapie: Alpine Nelson
  • Tap 5, House Pils: Hertog Jan Pilsener
  • Tap 6, House Porter: Funky Buddha Last Snow
  • Tap 7, House Blue Moon Alternative: Three Floyds Gumballhead
  • Tap 8, House Session Beer: Maine Beer 2
  • Tap 9, Rotating IPA: Trillium Hundred Thousand Trillion
  • Tap 10, Rotating IPA: Tree House Curiosity Twenty Three
  • Tap 11, Rotating Local: N/A
  • Tap 12, Rotating Lager: Carton Brewing Sit Down Son
  • Tap 13, Rotating Legend: N/A
  • Tap 14, Rotating Wild Card: Other Half Street Green
  • Tap 15, Rotating Wild Card: American Pale Ale
  • Tap 16, Rotating Craft Superstar: Goose Island (BCBS)

That's all fun and good. We should get that 'active' filter up to filter out some of those seasonals that have already come and gone, especially for all those BCBS beers crowding out the rest, but it's a good list that we can stand behind. 

A human being could insert a little more variety, though. So here we go, with a California tilt, but a little more of an eye for diversity while focusing still on more available, more year-round offerings. 

Eno's Perfect 16 Taps

  • Tap 1, House IPA: Cellarmaker Mo' Nelson
  • Tap 2, House Pale Ale: Fieldwork Watershed 
  • Tap 3, House Saison: Funkwerks Tropic King
  • Tap 4, House Cheapie: Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
  • Tap 5, House Pils: Firestone Walker Pivo Pils
  • Tap 6, House Porter: Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
  • Tap 7, House Blue Moon Alternative: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier
  • Tap 8, House Session Beer: Firestone Walker Easy Jack
  • Tap 9, Rotating IPA: Modern Times Booming Rollers
  • Tap 10, Rotating IPA: Alpine Duet
  • Tap 11, Rotating Local: Faction Summer IPA
  • Tap 12, Rotating Lager: Koestritzer Schwarzbier
  • Tap 13, Rotating Legend: Jester King Atrial Rubicite
  • Tap 14, Rotating Wild Card: Rare Barrel Ensorcelled
  • Tap 15, Rotating Wild Card: AleSmith X Pale Ale
  • Tap 16, Rotating Craft Superstar: Modern Times

Sure, this is a crazy list. But if you were in California, you might run into something like this, maybe on a great day at Toronado's in San Francisco, or a special day at Hamilton's in San Diego, or even a really nice day at Orignal Gravity in San Jose. Getting Atrial Rubicite would be the real coup -- the rest would be local and available and oh so tasty, or at least attainable when it comes to the German beers. 

What does this list say about me? I like my stone fruit beers, but I also like fresh and bright and light when it comes to pale ales. Even my saison was full of mango! (Saison Dupont would be my backup if I couldn't get a main line of Tropic King.) 

Some of that is the function of the way this list is formatted. There's no DIPAs on this list, or I'd probably have an El Segundo Hop Tanker on here. I didn't see the porter listing as being a seasonal barrel aged porter, or Deschutes' Abyss or Black Butte (seasonal) would be on there for sure. Coffee stouts are rare on my list, but AleSmith's Speedway Stouts -- particularly the Vietnamese version -- would be there. 

Some of that is the locality. The Cellarmaker might be grassy and dank, and I might love grassy and dank -- Julius Julius Julius -- but we aren't in the midst of an NEIPA boom in California, not yet. The most opaque pales I've had here were from Half Door and Cellarmaker, and everyone else belongs more to the old new school of fruity, less malty West Coast IPAs. 

But part of the formatting of this list is just me, shining through. I like soiffable easy drinkers. That's the ethos behind this list. 

What's the ethos behind yours?