Great American Beers
I'm a beer guy. Always have been and always will be. When all of my friends started getting older and switched to wine, I stuck with beer. I can't tell you how many parties, art openings and dinners I've been to where my request for beer was met with incredulous stares by the wine lovers and bartenders. But in the past few years beer has made a tremendous comeback. American beer has not seen this sort of innovation and growth ever -- and the options for tasty brew are unlimited. Brewpubs, once a staple of the Pacific Northwest, is now a nationwide phenomenon and upscale restaurants are handing diners a beer list with their wine list. Beer's time is now. Here's a list of some beers worth a taste.
Blue Point Toasted Lager - Patchogue, New York
My hometown beer (sort of). A relatively new brew coming out of Long Island and the best local beer to date. Their signature Toasted Lager is a very drinkable lager that has a great toasty flavor. I love it.
Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA - Milton, Delaware
I've always dumped ample praise on Dogfish Head's award-winning 90 minute IPA, and rightfully so. But recently the 90-minute was not available where I shop and I reached for their 60-minute IPA. I had forgotten how great this brew was. The 60-minute IPA is subtle and not overly hoppy with an amazing smoky flavor.
Lagunitas Czech Style Pilsner - Petaluma, California
Friend and Chicago Chef Michael Kornick turned me onto this West Coast brewer and my favorite of theirs is the Czech Pilsner. Crisp, tasty and totally drinkable with a very pronounced hoppy finish.
Sierra Nevada Torpedo - Chico, California
The classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is one of the great standards in American craft brews but they nailed it with their newish, powerful IPA, aptly named Torpedo. Complex and rich, this super-hopped ale is dry and refreshing and packs a punch.
Shiner Bock - Shiner, Texas
A light, drinkable bock beer from a tiny town in Texas that I just can't get enough of. It's not available everywhere -- including where I live -- so any time I'm in Shiner country, I indulge. Quite possibly my favorite beer around.
Brooklyn Pilsner - Brooklyn, New York
Brewmaster Garrett Oliver changed the recipe on his incredible pilsner a few years ago and naturally made it better. The new recipe gives the brew a slight bite and still retains its smoky, refreshing finish.
Dale's Pale Ale - Lyons, Colorado
Looks can be deceiving, especially when a top-quality beer like Dale's Pale Ale comes in a can. Don't let the can fool you. Inside is a full-bodied IPA that can stand up to any in America.
Stone IPA - Escondido, California
The gold standard for the American IPA. A tremendously full-bodied beer that will turn the biggest disbeliever into a fan. A perfect balance of hops and very refreshing. So rich and rewarding that a night of these could turn into trouble.
Anchor Porter - San Francisco, California
Anchor Brewing has been making their excellent signature steam beer for well over a century, but the best beer they make is a porter. Super dark, but not overpowering and really smoky.