My favorite beer

I get asked this a lot, and it is damn hard to answer!

The 9 to 11% abv Tripel that is great to sip on a cold winters night is not the beer you want when you come home from work on a stinking hot summers day. Also, beers of different styles are equally great but totally different, so which one is the favorite?

I will just list some of my favorite beers without trying to order them by preference. they are all good!

The beers of Belgium spring immediately to mind when thinking about favorite beers. I love the Trappist beers (well, I named my shop after them!) Westmalle Tripel (they make a Dubbel but it is not bottled and so not available here) Orval in its distinctive bottle and the Chimay and Rochefort ranges.

But I also like lambic beers, the Morte Subite Cassis being #1 in my book among the Lambics. Pity the other Morte Subite beers are not imported. Saisons I love, having brewed a few last year. The Hoegaarden beers, the wit and Forbidden Fruit, yum! Still in Belgium the strong ales like Duvel, Delirium Tremens (with pink elephants on the label!) and others like them. Abbey beers, a mixed lot in my opinion, Tripel Karmeliet great, Antoon and Leffe much less so.

Sticking with Belgian type beers, but moving all the way to Canada we come to the Unibroue beers. My, what can I say about them? Blalnche de Chambly, Maudite, La Fin Du Monde and lots of other Belgian inspired great beers. Man, if I only had the beers from that brewery to drink I would not be unhappy, and they are pretty much available here! Would be nice if we could move south of the border into the USA, but only the megaswill beers are available here, though our Little Creatures is supposed to be a Sierra Nevada clone. Would love to have a case each of 5 vintages of Bigfoot barleywine in my cellar! From further south, Mexico, Negra Modelo is a nice Viennese type beer

Backtracking we end up in the British Isles, the world of stouts and bitters, Scotch Ales and Mild. A fresh Guinness, withouth the stupid widget putting snot at the top of the glass is a thing of beauty, as are Black Sheep and Monty Python Holy Grail. Ruddles County used to be a great bitter/pale ale but they have changed to hop extract and it now tastes disgusting to me. Some other Old Ales I can no longer find were great, Theakstons Old Peculier is back with the Theakston family and hopefully will revert to something like it was. Not many Scottish beers seem to be available but Bellhaven Wee Heavy is great, thick and sweet. You must try Youngs Double Chocolate Stout!

Some nice if not great beers, Bitburgher and Warsteiner, these are mainstream beers, but are pleasant to drink, not like the crap that is our mainstream beers. Other good German Beers are the Schofferhoffer hefeweizen and Schneider & Sohn Aventinus is brilliant! Pilsner Urquel rarely seems to be fresh enough to be worth trying, when it is fresh buy a carton so that you are getting bottles never exposed to light. Grolsch I never took to for some reason.

What about Australian beers? Coopers Stout was a firm favorite with me, but I have gone right off Coopers Beers, apart from the Vintage Ale and Stout. Cascade and Boags I never really took to much. Little Creatures, fresh, is fine, nice and citrusy. Other than that I look to Malt Shovel, Mountain Goat and have just started trying some Grant Ridge beers. Malt Shovel Strong Ale is lovely, the Porter acceptable and the IPA, though variable, is fine.

I do have other beers I really really like and will add them to this blog from time to time

So my favorite of all beers? Probably Westmalle Tripel.

Note on buying imported beers. ALWAYS look for a best before date, and only buy a bottle with close to 12 months to go before the BB date. Never buy beer sold in clear glass bottles, they will be either skunked or brewed with hop extract rather than real hops, bleah! And see my note on Pilsner Urquel re beer in green bottles.