I've seen some pretty lazy beer writing on the internet in the last few years. It's sort of a natural outgrowth of macrobrewers and the mainstream media gradually rising from Cthulu-esque slumber and training a gummy eye on what the kids are up to with this whole ($19.6 billion) craft beer fad. Suits being suits, they've tried to jump on the wagon by inventing fake micros, denigrating craft beer drinkers, and generally trying to rastafy their corporate reputation by ten percent. I can abide - and laugh at - Dominos launching an "artisan pizza" line, as it affects me precisely none percent. I'll join others in opening mocking a list of 50 top New England breweries which managed to quarantine the entire state of Connecticut, but when Esquire's beer writer leaves this "turd" on the doorstep, I'm just barely miffed enough to write about it. You deserve better, dammit, so I'm offering a different kind of top ten this week.
Here are ten beers you should be drinking now:
First, in an article about the ten beers no one is drinking, which are supposedly just taking up shelf space ("shelf turds," as the writer brings to our attention), one entire spot is taken up by "the 1st through 4th best-selling craft beers in the country." Do you hear that, you car-owning, non-Manhattan-dwelling hilljacks? No one is drinking Brooklyn Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, or Sam Adams Boston freaking Lager. So saith Esq.
Thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of worthy, yet largely unknown craft beers are available in America, and column space is given to bottles you could pick up at an Exxon station. That's what I mean by lazy.
I'm certainly not against anyone drinking Sierra Nevada or Brooklyn Lager, and I agree wholeheartedly with the writer that everyone should be drinking BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon Chien and Rodenbach Grand Cru, which is why I'm going to tell you both are currently on tap at the Cask Republic in Stamford. Make it your mission to go and try these beers before they're gone. Rodenbach is not hard to find, and it is an excellent introductory sour beer. BFM Abbaye is Nectar Of The Gods-level good, and you owe it to yourself to try it.
Sours are one of the hottest trends in craft beer right now, and Casey Dohme, the manager of Stamford's Cask, told me they had so many examples on hand from Connecticut importer B.United they decided to throw a celebration called "What The Funk." The event kicked off on Wednesday, but many of the 30 or so wild beer styles pouring then should still be on tap today.
Here are ten beers you should be drinking:
1. Birra Del Borgo Caos - one of the brewer's "wine meets beer" series, and also one of the finest sours I've ever had.
2. BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon Chien
3. Loverbeer Madamin - This one's the work of Valter Loverier, owner and brewmaster of Loverbeer, of Marentino, Italy. They are all outstanding.
4 & 5. Professor Fritz Briem's 1809 Berlinerweisse, and OEC Amara SourGrodziskie. Berlinerweisse is a, maybe the, perfect hot weather style of beer. Grodziskie is a similar, Polish style of light sour, but OEC created a smoked and heavily hopped version that is surprising, challenging, and rewards a certain type of palate.
6. Wild Beer Co. Evolver IPA - An IPA from England refermented withbrettanomyces yeast, it changes over time from floral and hoppy to develop that singular Brett. funk. It was featured in Draft Magazine as a one of the Top 25 Beers of 2014.
7. Brooklyn Wild Horse Porter - full review in the link, it was brewed to revive the earthy tones of 19th century British porters.
8. Allagash Session Brett - hoppy and funky, yet easy to drink. More American in its hop character than the UK Evolver.
9. Bayerischer-Bahnhof Leipziger Gose - Goses are another trendy beer in the modern scene, but with good reason. This is one of the best.
10. White Birch Berliner - This New Hampshire brewer caught my attentionwhen I first had it in 2013, and Cask is offering two versions made with different berries, which is a common treatment.