My colleague, Nic Castro, has decried my beer of 2010 selection and argued for a more esoteric choice. He very much enjoyed the Infinium collaboration between Sam Adams and Weihenstephaner. He thought the Bitches’ Brew from Dogfishhead was most excellent. He also saw Alesmith’s IPA and Speedway Stout as candidates. He says that for a beer to qualify as beer of the year one should have to work to get their hands on it. This way the beer has proved that it is of substantial quality to draw in consumers before it is even available to be poured into a glass. He is an advocate of rarity because in some sense, if a beer is difficult to make it may not necessarily be made in great quantity. Further to that, if a beer is that good and took grand efforts to produce it should, in turn, take effort to procure. We do agree on relative affordability though. It is a sad thing to have a wonderful beer priced out of reach for those who desire it most.
I’ll save calling Nic an elitist for now and say that his wine palate has lead him to recommend some classic beers in spite of his allegiance to the scarcest of beers. Chimay Grand Reserve is a great example of a fine beer, deserving of praise. It shows such depth and brings a range of flavors throughout the glass. A wine lover’s beer for sure. Nic is a big fan of Left Hand Milk Stout, and who isn’t? A smooth offering that represents a far too often overlooked style. Victory Hop Devil also tops his list as an outstanding IPA. I couldn’t agree more – a dark colored, full-bodied, super-hoppy beer that has been a standard of mine for many years.
So maybe we are not too far off in our consideration of beer after all. There must be something in the hunt for a beer that garnishes extra points for folks. I’ll enjoy those when I can and stick to the consistent delight of good beer I can get every day.
2 thoughts on “Best Beers…”
I agree with your point that “if a beer is that good and took grand efforts to produce it should, in turn, take effort to procure.” But I fear that rarity is also artificial. True, not every beer can be made with equal [relative] ease, but what about creating demand artificially? Isn’t some of this rarity just a bunch of BS driven by good marketing? If yes, then how does that make a beer great?
A most excellent comment. I am not so sure that it applies in all situations but I do tend to agree that many a “great” beer is only so because folks can’t get their hands on it. This situation is similar to what I call ‘vacation beer syndrome’. I get many requests for extremely bland beer from the islands that was discovered by someone on their last vacation. In a relaxing and likely quite sunny setting a light, plain beer can hit the spot. Most often though I am told that the beer was really, really good beer.
So, indeed I see many beers gain fame for not being well distributed to the public. Some beers, however, are not pleasant to brew, disrupt the process of creating the flagship beers and ultimately do not make much profit for the business. Ironically these are often very good beers. Do not forget that in either case, false demand or truly great beer, brewing is a business and that fact will influence production – and maybe the perception of greatness.