The question itself is a little enigmatic. Pick the best five beers on Earth? Pick your favorite five beers? What’s the best approach? We all agreed that the point was to pick five beers to satisfy all of your beerly needs. Based on that caveat, the question requires some careful thought. You need a variety of styles and flavors. You need everyday brews and special occasion brews. You need dark and light…hoppy and malty…and everything in between. Whittling down the hundreds (thousands?) of beers I’ve sampled over the years to a mere five is a seemingly impossible task. But I think I’ve come up with a reasonable response:
1. Orval: Perhaps my all-time favorite brew, this Belgian Pale Ale is the five-tool player of the beer world. It’s as refreshing and hoppy as a great IPA (the only Trappist that is dry-hopped), but still has the classic Belgian farmhouse funk and slightly “wild” flavors I love. An everyday beer AND a special occasion beer. Perfect.
2. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA: Doc and I “reviewed” this beer a few weeks back. It’s the quintessential American IPA with a bold, gorgeous hop profile and unlimited drinkability. I’m not selecting any true “hop-bombs” on my list, so this is going to be the brew I reach for when I need some humulus lupulus in my diet.
3. Deschutes The Abyss: I clearly need a massive Imperial Stout in my “Five”, but selecting just one was maddening. At the end of the day, The Abyss has a slight edge (for me) over the equally ridiculous KBS, Hunahpu, Speedway Stout and Dark Lord for its epic smoothness and sublime nose.
4. Cigar City Guava Grove: I wanted a “sour” on this list since I’ve loved beers in that vein ever since I cracked into my first Monk’s Cafe so many years ago. The Monk’s is a good choice as is the Duchesse de Bourgogne, but the Guava Grove is a near-perfect example from one of the great American ale factories that Wifey and I both absolutely loved. Super-complex and mouth-puckering, this is a wholly refreshing “big” beer.
5. Rochefort 10: I’ll just go ahead and say it…this might be the best beer on Earth.
Alehead Nation, the ball is now in your court. Pick five beers.