Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

The Best Beers in America, Part 1

By William Brand
Friday, October 1st, 2004 at 6:39 am in Uncategorized.

The Best Beers in America _ Part One

DENVER _ No really, I’m serious. What’s the best beer in your area?
In the hours before the first public session here at the Great American Beer Festival, there were a number of luncheons and “events.’’

I skippd the gin tasting (no lie! It’s the new beer for some). Instead, I attended a luncheon (cold cuts and beer, of course.) in the loft of a writer for Rocky Mountain Brewing News, one of a number of brew publications published by entrepreneur Bill Metzger.

After we had sampled a number of beers from different parts of the country, ending with Wild Dog, an extremely malty, hugely hoppy, 9 percent alcohol by volume, “double pale ale’’ from Denver’s Flying Dog Brewery ((More about Flying Dog in another post))_, I started asking each writer/editor in turn, which beer from their home area did they prefer.

Here they are in the order I asked the question _ that doesn’t make any sense, I know _ but this was a beer tasting and there was a lot of beer to taste:

Gregg Wiggins, Arlington, VA, Mid-Atlantic Brewing News: There’s one beer that really stands out: Legend Brown Ale, Legend Brewing Co., 321 West 7th St., Richmond, VA. It’s everything a brown ale should be, malty, easy to drink.
Also: Satan’s Pony Pale Ale, South Street Brewing Co., 106 South St., Charlottesville, VA. Lots of hops. It’s only on tap and what I like is that each time I go there, it’s a bit different. I never know quite what to expect. –William Brand

Michael Ferguson, Las Vegas, Southwest Brewing News: Outside of my own brewery (Michael brews for BJ’s in Vegas) I like Black Mountain Dubbel from Barley’s Casino & Brewery in Henderson, 10 miles outside Vegas. Add the beer from Chicago Brewing Co.,2201 S. Fort Apache Road in Vegas.
In Northern Nevada, Michael said he’s partial to Chili Beso, a beer made with chilis, from Great Basin Brewing, Sparks, NV.

Rick Matsumoto, Denver, Rocky Mountain Brewing News: Rick goes for Flying Dog, 2401 Blake St., Denver. Dogtoberfest is his favorite right now. Dogtoberfest _ doggone, that ‘s cute. But I digress. “It’s crisper, drier, than the usual Oktoberfest beer,’’ Rick says. It lacks that long, sweet aftertaste and he likes that. Rick also admits he’s partial to Hoppy Pils made at the downtown Denver Rock Bottom _ 1001 16th St. Just a great, clean pils, he says.

Jim Ellingson, St. Paul, MN, Great Lakes Brewing News: His number one right now is Mai Bock from Summit Brewing, 910 Montreal Circle, St. Paul. To prove his point he brought several bottles to this tasting. A super, German-style May bock: rich; sweet _ but with a burst of hops, American style.

Andy Causey, Denver, Rocky Moutain Brew News: Andy’s number one is the IPA at Phantom Canyon Brewing, 2 East Pikes Peak Ave., Colorado Springs, CO. Big hops, but well balanced with malt for an India Pale Ale, American style. (Brit IPAs emphasize malt over hops and are not so extreme). He also says this is hand crafted beer; so it changes from batch to batch as the brewer receives inspiration from the beer gods or screws up. It’s always an adventure and never a bad trip, he says.

Bill Metzger, New York, founder of the Brew News group: The one he takes home is Southern Tier Brewing, 2051A Stoneman Circle, Lakewood, NY. It’s hoppy with a clean citrus note, Bill says.

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