Taste is nothing if it is not subjective. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” “In taste and smell there is no right or wrong.” And so forth. Consider the following:
Which one jumps out at you? Which one are you most willing to call “beautiful?” Which one “great art?” Which one “nonsense?” And so forth.
We all have different tastes; that’s one of the things that make life interesting. And beer is no different.
So I present this listing. I would be a silly person if I expected everyone to enjoy every brew I highlight; and I’m sure there are some that I have eschewed that others enjoy profoundly. I humbly submit my gustatory subjectivity to the internet cosmos.
A few notes up front, before we dive in:
1) I am a firm believer that beer, in the general sense, is enjoyed best with food. There are a few brews that stand alone and are meant to stand alone. There are some, I have discovered, that taste great by themselves but are mind-bogglingly delicious when paired with the right dish. The dish makes the beer better; and, more often than not, the beer makes the dish better, too. There is also the wrong pairing, as with wine: some foods and some beers should never even wave at each other across a crowded room. However, I subscribe to the school of thought that says this phenomenon is much more common with wine than with beer.
2) Budweiser, Miller, Coors, Busch, et al… Not to break anyone’s heart, but don’t expect this ilk to show up anywhere. If this is all you know about beer, then, to quote Garrett Oliver, “I’m afraid that you haven’t actually tasted beer at all.” I put Corona in this category, too, if only just. Let’s clarify it right away: I’m a beer snob. If that sets you off, you don’t have to read any further.
3) Tastes change, my own included. Reference Corona in (2), above. Some of the beers I laud most loudly I thought only mediocre my first try. Some beers are, truly, the Big Lebowski of brews: they require multiple tries before their true subtle greatness is revealed.
I’ve been keeping a list of favorites for over a year now; my first submission will be to recap this list, to “catch ourselves up to date.” As you will note, the descriptions have a habit of getting longer the further you get down the list. Much as if I had tried all of these beers in one sitting….
Without further ado, dear reader, I dedicate this list to you. May you enjoy the reading half as much as I enjoyed the compiling.