pokerplaya wrote:Not to hijack, but I think I probably have a beer palette like yours...anything that you'd recommend? I'm looking for something new.
I probably said all of my recommendations.
I think some of the beers I mention are just regionally distributed and so, some of the beers I do recommend are probably rare finds from your neck in the woods. For instance, microbrews from Three Floyds and Dogfish Head in the East are quite rare here in California. However, California is gifted with great microbreweries, notably Stone, Lost Abbey, Russian River, Alesmith, and Sierra Nevada (which is kind of becoming the Boston Beer/Sam Adams of the West).
In addition, I'm thankful that there's a beer mecca 5 miles away from my house called Naja's Place, that has about 200-300 varieties of American microbrews and Belgian imports. I found this place several months ago and it's practically my commissary for taking in top-notch beers as well as some very rare, exquisite ones. It's worth noting I've had the best Arrogant Bastard by far here. They have this Double Bastard, which is like AB on steroids, but aged in a whiskey barrel, I believe, in the backroom. Unbelievable how vast and how rare their collection is.
So with that said, starting off with a microbrewery that tends to have more widespread distribution: Sierra Nevada. One of my favorite seasonal brews by Sierra Nevada is the Bigfoot ale, made in the barleywine style. Like all barleywines, it tends to get better with age. I had a 2005 bottle at Naja's and compare it with the 2007 one, and the former is so much more enjoyable in my opinion. In Winter, they come out with the Celebration IPA, which is like a supercharged SN Pale Ale. Best barleywine I've had is the Alesmith Old Numbskull, which can be tricky to find like all Alesmiths, except in a few select pubs/bars.
My favorite IPA of all time is Pliny the Elder from Russian River. Well, actually, a close second. I've had Pliny the Younger on draft at Naja's twice and it's absolutely superb. They both have such an interesting array of flavors (think all kinds of citrus paired up with hints of tropical fruit), but the Younger has this lingering bitter finish that distinguishes the two, I think. Unfortunately, the don't have the Younger on tap anymore, but the Elder is a mainstay. I also like the Avery Maharaja, Dogfish Head 90 Min. IPA, Stone Ruination IPA, Bear Republic X, and Racer 5 when it comes to IPA.
I haven't delved too much into American strong ales, but one of my favorites as well as AB is the Alesmith Evil Dead Red as well as the Decadence 10th year anniversary version from Alesmith also.
As for Belgian beers, I think Chimay is perhaps the most mainstream of Belgian Trappist breweries. If there are 3 places in Hollywood that serve Chimay within a 5-10 mile radius, good chance Chimay could be more accessible in your area compared to other Trappist brews. Most serve Chimay Rouge, but the Chimay Bleue is their flagship beer. Harder to find the Bleue. I already mentioned St. Bernardus Abt 12, but it's quite commonplace like the Chimay; not bad for a Belgian beer that's consistently ranked top 10 in the Belgian ale category.
As for stouts, I'd also look into Three Floyds Dark Lord RIS, Dogfish Head RIS, and Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Rare in California, but methinks you can probably find them with more frequency in the Midwest and East. They're all very nice indeed, including those I already mentioned, if you're really into beers that have such a coffee/chocolate flavor punch with the viscosity of molasses/motor oil. I always hear about the Narke Kaggen Stormaktsporter being the Holy Grail when it comes to RIS, but that'll be something I'll look forward to if/when I go to Sweden. But then again, my English uncle had sent me a Mikkeler X from Denmark to go with the Dark Star from England I won from a bet I made over Man United beating his Chelsea to the Premiership title...so, maybe I'll wage a bet for the Stormaktsporter this year.