Sunday, March 11, 2007
Beer columnist Greg Kitsock provides a glance at the U.S. brews selected for this year's competition.
Pete's Wicked Ale (Pete's Brewing Co., San Antonio) This quaffable brown ale used to be the No. 2 craft beer in the nation after Sam Adams, but its profile has slipped since founder Pete Slosberg sold the company nearly a decade ago.
Shoals Pale Ale (Smuttynose Brewing Co., Portsmouth, N.H.) The Boston Globe once called this "the closest thing to an English ale in an American bottled beer."
Pabst Blue Ribbon (Pabst Brewing Co., Woodridge, Ill.) Your grandfather's beer has been embraced by hipsters as a result of its blue-collar image and dirt-cheap price.
Redhook ESB (Redhook Ale Brewery, Woodinville, Wash., and Portsmouth, N.H.) The ESB stands for "extra special bitter," but plenty of caramel malt makes this copper-colored ale a balanced brew.
Yuengling Traditional Lager (D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc., Pottsville, Pa.) This amber lager is the flagship brand of the nation's oldest brewery, founded in 1829 during Andrew Jackson's presidency.
Shiner Bock (Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner, Tex.) America's best-selling bock beer (in the sense of a dark lager, not a strong one) hails from a one-stoplight town halfway between San Antonio and Houston.
Ellie's Brown Ale (Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, Colo.) A New York Times tasting panel in January declared this beer the winner over 24 other brown ales from around the globe.
#9 (Magic Hat Brewing Co., South Burlington, Vt.)
A spritz of apricot adds a refreshing flavor to this enigmatically named pale ale.
Coors Original (Coors Brewing Co., Golden, Colo.) "Colorado Kool-Aid" achieved cult status in the 1970s, aided by the movie "Smokey and the Bandit" and rumors of it being transported aboard Air Force One.
Brooklyn Lager (Brooklyn Brewery, New York) Steve Hindy, a former Associated Press Mideast correspondent, sought a safer profession in brewing. This full-bodied lager was his first effort.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager (Boston Beer Co., Boston) This popular amber lager, spiced with German hops and named after a Revolutionary War rabble-rouser, is the top-selling craft beer in the nation.
BaltoMärzHon (Clipper City Brewing Co., Baltimore) This malt-accented German-style lager from a Baltimore microbrewery was named best domestic Oktoberfest beer last fall in a blind tasting conducted by the Baltimore Sun.
Victory Lager (Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, Pa.) From the Philly suburbs comes this American interpretation of a golden, malty, German-style Helles lager.
Budweiser (Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., St. Louis) The self-proclaimed king of beers is made from barley malt, rice and domestic and imported hops. Younger brother Bud Light has usurped it as the best-selling beer brand.
Purple Haze (Abita Brewing Co., Abita Springs, La.) The brewery, about 40 miles north of New Orleans, survived Hurricane Katrina with minor damage and barely skipped a beat producing this raspberry-flavored ale.
Rolling Rock (Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., St. Louis) The Pennsylvania pale lager, renowned for its green bottles with the mysterious "33," was bought by Anheuser-Busch last year and is now brewed in Newark.
Saranac Pale Ale (Matt Brewing Co., Utica, N.Y.) This English-style beer comes from a 119-year-old family-owned brewery in Upstate New York.
Miller High Life (Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee) Budweiser's arch rival is made from corn grits rather than rice, for a sweeter, stickier flavor. The brewery is a distant second to Anheuser-Busch, sales-wise.
Blue Moon Belgian White (Coors Brewing Co., Golden, Colo.) Coors's take on the Belgian witbier style is spiced with coriander and orange peel.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif.) This archetypal West Coast pale ale derives its citrusy flavor from Pacific Northwest hops.
Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale (Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Del.) A balanced, everyday drinkin' beer, it comes from a Delaware brewery known for extreme and experimental brews.
Bell's Pale Ale (Bell's Brewery Inc., Galesburg, Mich.) The popular Midwestern brand recently returned to the D.C. market after a 12-year absence. As a teenager, brewery founder Larry Bell would drop by the Brickskeller to add to his beer can collection.
Dead Guy Ale (Rogue Ales, Newport, Ore.) This German-style Maibock was originally a special label brewed for the Mayan Day of the Dead, Nov. 1.
In-Heat Wheat (Flying Dog Brewery, Denver) A special yeast strain imparts a distinctive banana-and-cloves flavor to this German-style Hefeweizen (literally "yeast wheat").
Widmer Hefeweizen (Widmer Bros. Brewing Co., Portland, Ore.) An American-style wheat beer, it pours cloudy and is often served with a lemon slice.
Anchor Steam Beer (Anchor Brewing Co., San Francisco) This lager is fermented at warmer, alelike temperatures in shallow, panlike vessels, a technique said to date from the Gold Rush era.
Dominion Ale (Old Dominion Brewing Co., Ashburn) The local amber ale should be expanding its presence now that the brewery, in an industrial park a hop, skip and jump from Dulles Airport, has been bought by a joint venture between Annapolis's Fordham Brewing and industry giant Anheuser-Busch.
Killian's Irish Red (Coors Brewing Co., Golden, Colo.) An Irish recipe provided the inspiration for this malty, ruddy-colored lager.
Ruedrich's Red Seal Ale (North Coast Brewing Co., Fort Bragg, Calif.) This hoppy West Coast amber ale boasts a slew of medals from the Great American Beer Festival and other beer judgings.
Boont Amber Ale (Anderson Valley Brewing Co., Boonville, Calif.) California wine country also is home to some noteworthy breweries, including the one that makes this caramel malt-accented amber ale.
New Grist (Lakefront Brewery Inc., Milwaukee) This pale, fruity sorghum-and-rice brew was one of the first attempts at a gluten-free beer for people with celiac disease.
Allagash White (Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, Maine) This subtly spiced interpretation of witbier comes from a tiny New England microbrewery that specializes in Belgian styles.
Greg Kitsock is editor of Mid-Atlantic Brewing News and associate editor of American Brewer magazine. He is also the beer columnist for The Washington Post's Food section.