Gianni had the pleasure to spend time with the legendary critic Alan Richman and together they picked a great top-ten list of beers not to miss. As I (Damon) am the second half of Beersomm, Gianni and others have asked for my “5 Beers Not to Miss.”
While this list will certainly change if you ask me 6 months from now, the beers below are beers I keep coming back to:
Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal, “Hof Ten Dormaal – Blonde”
The story of this brewery is enough for you to want to at least try their beers. The brewery grows all their own grain, grows all their own hops, cultivates their own yeast strain, and even powers the brewery with rapeseed oil that they themselves produce. Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal brews a Blonde and an Amber ale. The blonde is definitely my favorite – an amazing Belgian farmhouse saison beautifully balanced and very carbonated. Like a fine champagne, the cork should be opened with care. Pair with salads, lemony fish dishes, or ceviche.
Stone Brewing Co., “Sublimely Self Righteous Ale “
I first had this beer at NY Brewfest on Governors Island in June 2010 and it blew me away. I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was an imperial porter but it was hoppy – really hoppy. It was right when black IPAs were starting to take off and it was the first I had and easily the best since trying many examples of this style. With this beer you get a nice roasty taste with tons of hops with a warming alcohol finish. Pair with lamb sliders or venison sliders.
Cigar City Brewing Co., “Jai Alai India Pale Ale”
This beer has been my go-to IPA this year whenever I see it on tap or in the supermarket. Close to a DIPA at 7.5% ABV, it’s a hoppy, strong amber colored with a ton of fruit flavor, malts and hops. Apricot, caramel and heavy hops in a glass – got to love it. Pair with cured meats, blue cheese and pear salad.
Brouwerij Rodenbach, “Grand Cru”
This beer is arguably the best version of a Flanders red ale out there. More tart than sour this beer also consists of complex fruit flavors and vanilla from the oak barrel aging process. It’s aged in huge oak casks for 2 years and then blended with other aged beers before bottling. If you like good wine, you’ll love this beer. Pair with duck terrine and pates.
Oskar Blues Brewery, “G’Knight”
Formerly called Gordon, G’Knight is somewhere between a double IPA and an imperial red ale. Loaded with hops and malty sweetness this is probably one of my favorite strong, hoppy beers. Oskar blues, who cans all their beers, makes exceptional ales and none have disappointed me. At 8.7% ABV, this beer is very drinkable and smooth. Pair it with beef and pork but probably best with any spicy foods including Indian or Mexican dishes.
Follow Damon’s beer drinking experiences @NYCBeerologist.