Writers were given the challenge to select and write a response to the ultimate beer question:
” If you had to pick one beer to drink for the rest of your life, what would it be? “
From the Sommbeer Team of Writers:
Don Manfredi @First I want to say that if I can only drink one beer for the rest of my life then I hope my life is short. Second since I have to choose I think everyone knows that I pick Heady Topper. I have only had this beer once and I still think about it all the time. I would also trade any beer in my cellar for another Heady. There is absolutely nothing that can be done to improve this beer except if they decided to brew more and distribute in Michigan. So as obvious as this is, considering I have written about it a couple of times at SommBeer, I have to go with Heady as my one and only. Thankful that I don’t have be limited to one beer for the rest of my life, but confident in my choice should it ever come to pass.
Dan Estrada @Orval
Man, just… I mean one? Out of all the delicious options possible the unanswerable gauntlet has been thrown. If I had to pick just one beer to have for the rest of my life it would have to be Orval. Orval is one of the first beers I had when my craft beer drinking was in its infancy. And it is a beer I have returned to many, many times. It is such a wonderfully complex brew. The brett, not an uncommon ingredient in the craft beer world, does such amazing things to this beer. It is one thing new, but ages so fantastically. Its what makes it the perfect for forever beer. A bit of a cheat to be sure but if I only get one, I’m taking the one that changes over time but is always amazing.
Matt Powers @This is a stupid question and I hate you both for asking it. 🙂
Asking a beer nerd to limit one’s beer choice to a single selection out of the nearly tens of thousands of beers available on any given day, let alone the hundreds of thousands of varieties produced each year, is akin to cruel and unusual punishment. Monogamy is no easy task when it comes to the union of a beer nerd and beer. Eyes wander, the palate longs, and the soul yearns. One can have an IPA, but what about a great Porter? A Hefeweizen can be refreshing, but what about Rye? Can one beer, one style, one brand, ever satisfy?
I think it can. It’s not easy, but it can be done. For this beer drinker, the choice arrives in the form of Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale. It’s the original hoppy beer for me, and it’s the one that always satisfies. I’ve never once drank it worried about what other beer I could be consuming. It’s hoppy without being too hoppy. It’s easy drinking, but no where near bland. It’s well balanced, yet abundantly flavorful. It can stand up to a cold winter’s night, yet it can refresh one on a hot summer day.
I lost my hops virginity to Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, so it only seems fitting that I would remain loyal to that brew until death do us part.
Jamie Tierney @Sixpoint Sweet Action
Purely for the reason that there has never been a moment in my life where I thought “Nah, I couldn’t go for a Sweet Action” While there are definitely more than a few beers out there that also fill this criteria, Sweet Action is the one I find myself grabbing the most often. The reason I go for this beer all the time? Sweet Action has the refreshing nature of a cream ale, the potent flavor of a pale ale and the complexity of a wheat ale. This stylistically unbound anomaly of a brew always hits the spot while presenting new flavors and aromas every time I take a sip. A surprise to the senses, Sweet Action is a beer that can be drank by the dozen during long sessions with friends or scrutinized under a microscope to pick out every subtle nuance. The perfect balance of hop and malt presenting flavors from both ends of the flavor wheel, Sweet Action is a beer that your tongue won’t tire of while keeping you coming back for more.
John Fahrner @If you only had 1 beer to drink for the rest of your life what would it be? I’ve thought about this from a few different angles but the beer I keep coming back to is Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. For me, Two Hearted is a Swiss Army Knife of beers. The beer is a great grab in the middle of a blizzard or during the dog days of summer. It pairs well with pretty much any food I can think of and of course is a solid option as a stand alone brew. Two Hearted is one of the beers that turned me into a beer fan, it’s been a standard in my fridge for as long as I can remember and often is the beer that I go for even when I have multiple options. I hope there never comes a day that I am limited to just a single beer; but if that were to happen I can say with confidence that Two Hearted would be a beer to keep me a content bearded beer drinker.
EdWhoLikesBears @If I could have one beer for the rest of my life it would be Bell’s Amber Ale and I don’t care who knows it. It is a perfectly balanced beer that is not without its hoppiness but is also fine if you don’t want extreme happiness. Maybe I’ll drink some now. What’s that? I wrote a whole article about how I can’t have gluten because of medical reasons and it’s not a good idea? Who are you? Dr. Gluten. Man. Super burn
Steve @Bitburger Premium Pils. It’s a beer done perfectly. It’s refreshing enough for horseshoes and tailgating, yet sophisticated enough for fancy restaurants with multiple forks. It’s big enough to get the job done, but light enough that I don’t feel bad if I have more than three…or six. They drink a lot of beer in Germany, and the majority of it is Bitburger. All those Germans can’t be wrong.
Lindsay E @One beer…it should be easy. I get beer, right? Oh so many… If I had to pick just one, it would be 8-bit by Tallgrass. It’s the perfect beer for drinking one or 5. It’s nice and hoppy and not too overboard on alcohol percentage. It comes in at a little over 6%. And has a cool can to boot. And of course I would choose this in the 16 ounce can size over the 12.
JM Hammond @In another dimension on the other side of the mirror lies the land of one beer. A place so singular only a single style of beer exists and every Tom, Dick, and Heather, pony up to the bar at the local pub to have a pint, the only pint available, anywhere and everywhere. Boy if that were true it might suck, but to me it would be liveable if that one line beer style was a nice stout. Something like an oatmeal stout, it could ferment out dry sometimes and others time be a bit sweeter. It could come out with a roasty coffee like flavor at times and other times have a bit of a biscuity, sweet, and chocolate edge to it. All the while hovering around the 1.060-1.070 gravity range depending on the swaying temperatures from Winter to Spring, Spring into Summer, Summer into Fall, and Fall into Winter. Of course the alcohol would rise a bit in the colder months and fall in the cooler months to fit in with the drinker’s thirst quenching level desired. If that were the only beer around, I’d still be a happy beer lover!
From the Sommbeer Readers:
Black Note Stout
Choosing the only single beer you could drink for the rest of your life is an interesting question! As a craft beer enthusiast that cut his teeth on Bell’s Beer the only selection of course would be Black Note Stout. No beer transports me back to great memories of learning that beer can be dynamic and interesting like this one. Creamy dark chocolate, vanilla and that perfectly balanced bourbon flavor in what can only be described as a world-class beer. I’ve had the great fortune to try this ‘whale’ on a number of occasions and each time strengthens my adoration and love for this barrel aged stout. So choosing the only beer to have forever, it’s got to be something deep and complex and something you can consistently find new and exciting flavors in.
Light, crisp, refreshing. it’s not marketing making those words into a sell-a-gram for a beer. I’ve been all around beer. I have devoured the stouts, become a HOP HEAD, and doubled down in sour, but in the end I find what I want is simple and the Pilsner style is all about that. It has to be balanced by definition, it cannot overwhelm, it is not too big but it will get you buzzed. The beer takes longer to make but demands being fresh, it does not like to travel meaning the local version is the best version. You could make a years supply of a pilsner using the same amount of hops used in a single batch of IPA and it tastes like something.
I’m shifting down to Pilsner for the long haul. I’m sure that 90 year old me will be fine with that.
Let’s talk specific beer. Trumer comes to mind. Made all of 7 miles from me, that beer BUILT into a glass is a world class example of pilsner. Faction located just 4 miles away is an even better example, made in smaller batches all of it is gone before the next batch is ready. We NEVER get to taste an old version. Radeburger from Germany travels far but oh, that beer is good.