I like beer. Whether it's a Porter on a crisp evening in October, a Mexican Lager served in a plastic cup at the all-inclusive in Mexico , or a session offering at the local brewpub, drinking a beer imparts an experience that is to be savored. To sit and drink a beer can be a rite of passage into manhood (see National Lampoon's Vacation when the Griswold men enjoy a beer), the mark of sophistication (I don't always drink Dos XX . . .), or a post race refreshment. But mostly it's about enjoying a simple pleasure. I mean, who doesn't enjoy standing in front of a sizzling grill with a pint in hand? I am admittedly partial to Colorado Beers, but I am always willing to sample beers from beyond the state borders. Clearly, it's a great time to be a beer drinker in the United States.
|The Griswolds share a beer|
In truth, this Olympics isn't really about finding the "best" beer. It's about drinking beer and reflecting on the qualities that make a particular beer enjoyable, but mostly just about drinking beer. I chose beers based on the extremely scientific process described below:
1) I've had the beer before and I like it.
or . . .
2) I haven't had the beer before, but it's one I'd like to try.
and . . .
3) I know that I can find it at my local liquor store.
and . . .
4) I'm sure that it's pretty popular.
In an effort to be as objective as possible, all beers will be sampled in a blind taste test. They will be evaluated on a short set of criteria including: aroma, balance, mouthfeel, and finish. Here are the contenders:
Fat Tire (New Belgium Brewing, Ft. Collins, CO): If the Columbine is the state flower for Colorado, then Fat Tire could very well be the state beer.
American Amber Ale (Rogue Ales, Newport, OR): A popular beer with a large distribution in the Western United States.
Stone Levitation Ale (Stone Brewing, San Diego, CA): San Diego may have the best concentration of Craft breweries of anywhere in the United States.
90 Schilling Ale (O'Dell Brewing, Ft. Collins, CO): This beer doesn't get the same amount of attention as New Belgium, but it produces some of the finest beer in the state.
Alaskan Amber (Alaskan Brewing Company, Juneau, AK): The Beers from the Alaskan Brewing Company have enjoyed increased popularity and distribution over the last several years. The company web site says that the Amber is an alt style beer that is the result of a slower fermenting process that occurs at lower temperatures.
Mass Transit Ale (Bristol Brewing, Colorado Springs, CO): A nearby brewer with a variety of quality beers (Compass IPA comes to mind).
Avalanche Ale (Breckenridge Brewery, Breckenridge, CO): The Breckenridge Brewery's best selling beer.
Red Rocket Ale (Bear Republic Brewing, Healdsburg, CA): A self-described Bastardized Scottish Ale brewed in Sonoma County.
The seedings are random and break down as follows in this illustration:
Over the coming weeks, I will be posting the results of the head to head competitions. When they are completed, I'll move onto the semi-final round, and so on. Once this category is complete, I'll be doing some other "events" in the Beer Olympics. Possible categories include: Holiday Beers, Fruit Beers, Stouts, Hoppy Beers, Mexican Beers, and Belgian Style interpretations (there seem to be a dearth of these out there these days). I'm always open to category or beer suggestions, so fire away!