...or One Man's Loving Recap of His Trip Back to the US, After Drinking Almost Exclusively German Beer for Three Years. As I was based near Boston, I searched out Jack's Abby. As I said before, they get lots of love in these parts and so I wanted to check them out. I've discussed them already in other threads, but I'll repeat here. Jabby Brau. This one encapsulated the "Germany vs. USA" debate more or less in it's entirety. While I thought it tasted fine, I was put off because it was not "to-style" as I have come to define it in my own way. Whereas die Frau didn't care that it wasn't to some idea of a style, she thought it tasted great. In fact, she was mad that Germany would never brew this sort of beer. We were completely divided on this beer. My objection was over the use of wheat, which is a decision I still don't "get". It turned what might have been an honest-to-goodness American Lager into something that was neither hide nor hare. An American Wheat Lager? A Pale Lager with distracting amounts of wheat (percentage of wheat to be determined hopefully)? Argh! Die Frau drank most of these. Originally I intended to go back for Smoke & Dagger but decided against it after my experience with this one and... Lashes Lager. Turns out I did not take a photo...? Thought I had. Ah well, it looks more or less like the Jabby Brau label. What you get here is an IPA made with lager yeast. No more, no less. Another decision I don't fully understand. If you want to make an IPA, just make an IPA. Again, tasted fine, but not nearly as good, as say.... DFH 90 Minute. Super delicious. America makes good IPAs. No arguments here. Founders Breakfast Stout. Tasted like coffee. Every sip, coffee upon coffee upon coffee. People love this beer, but it's not for me. Drank one, die Frau drank one, two were given away at a Christmas party. One person liked it, one did not. Spaten Optimator. Can't get this one in Germany, at least not my part of Germany, so I bought it. Love the cheeky double-spade label. It was very good. For $1.80, not a bad investment at all. Also purchased in part so that I could put the following beer in full context... Troeg's Troegenator. This was surprisingly good. A very legit dopplebock that hits all the right notes. My only quibble being that it had a bit of a sharp alcohol edge to it. At +8% ABV I guess that is to be expected. Thanks to @JackHorzempa for the recommendation. Still, could not hold up to... Ayinger's Celebrator. Wow, this beer is the real deal. I had secretly hoped that I would walk away saying to myself that Andechs made the better dopplebock but that isn't so. This is a great, great dopplebock. The darkest of the three dopplebocks (IIRC), it just looked so great and that depth of color seemed to translate to a depth of flavor and that wonderful molasses character. Man-o-man this is the one to watch. And coming in at 6,7% ABV, by the way. Ho ho ho. Otherwise I can only tell you what you already know - shopping in America is better than shopping in Germany. The first shop I went to had a limited import selection but lots of interesting American craft available. The second one had a back room (it was not "hidden" in any way, and in fact has a "More Craft Beer This Way!" sign over the entryway. Nevertheless, I missed it the first time around). The back room had lots of imports and available singles of American craft beers (Craft American Singles?). Lots of interesting German beers to choose from (including Uerige by the way, which I decided against at ~$6.50 per 12 oz. bottle). I got only the dopplebocks so I could compare them with the Troegs. I decided against a trip to Jacks Abby (~30 mins away) and decided against a trip to an actual abbey (the new Trappist brewery in Spencer, Mass, ~1.25 hr away), so call me boring. All in all, there were hits and misses, but it was a fun visit. Cheers, all. Thanks for reading!