Your List of Must-Try Beers

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by EmperorBatman, Jul 13, 2019.

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  1. EmperorBatman

    EmperorBatman Zealot (695) Mar 16, 2018 Tennessee

    A few days ago, a friend of mine and I had a discussion about him wanting to try new beers in order to really better understand what beer meant. He wanted to know which beers are the most important for him to drink, in order for him to really know what beer is. Going beyond what are the most fashionable beers today, or the most highly rated, he wanted to understand which beers contributed the to our current understanding of beer and how they came to define beer culture - pioneers of the various beer styles, the best examples of different types of beer, and which beers actually really changed the drinking scene across the world, as well as beers that bore a cultural heritage or were reminiscent of a historical time.

    I thought it might be interesting then to form a list of which beers I thought were the most important beers to try, as well as to see what others might suggest.

    My list:
    Pilsner Urquell
    Schneider Weisse
    Heady Topper
    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
    Anchor Steam
    Hofbrau Dunkel and Helles
    Anything Chimay or Westveterlen

    What's your list?
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  2. bbtkd

    bbtkd Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,104) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    1. KBBS
    2. Dark Lord
    3. BA Abraxas
    4. Mornin' Delight
    5. SR-71
    6. BCBS Vanilla
    7. Assassin
    8. Westvleteren 12
    9. Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier
    10. Founders CBS
    11. BCBS 2018 Proprietor's
    12. Lindemans Framboise
    I've tried some of these, others are on my bucket list
    #2 bbtkd, Jul 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  3. Roguer

    Roguer Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,245) Mar 25, 2013 Connecticut
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Might I suggest respondents perhaps limit themselves to 10 entries? I tried my own restriction, and failed miserably, so I've really more got 10 categories. :flushed: So I guess really what I have is some styles/reasons, and examples within those reasons that I'd consider equally important in their own way.

    Westmalle Tripel, Chimay Premiere, Rochefort 10 - all classic, world-class Belgians, each bringing something special to the table.
    Heady Topper, Pliny the Elder - world-beater DIPAs that each redefined the genre in its own way
    Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, Spaten Franziskaner - need a fantastic hefe, and both of these fit the bill in my opinion.
    Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - very different beers, but both are classic "gateway" craft beers, and both are far more approachable than the excesses within craft beer today.
    Yuengling Premium - America's oldest brewery, a family-owned "craft" AAL that really delivers a flavor profile that none of the BMC crowd even attempt.
    Stone IPA - a classic IPA; enough said.
    North Coast Old Rasputin, BCBS - you need at least one imperial stout, and while Old Raspy isn't my favorite, it's hard to imagine a more iconic and readily available RIS; alternatively, BCBS provides perhaps the best introduction to the now ubiquitous bourbon barrel aged stout category.
    Allagash White - represents the Belgian Wit category (and contrasts it against German Weiss, above), and also fits the bill for an excellent American-brewed Belgian style ale.
    Ommegang Hennepin, Dupont Saison - both are top tier examples of straight forward (i.e. not funky or sour) Saisons, and I would comfortably represent the style with either.
    Spaten Premium, Weihenstephaner Original, Pilsner Urquell, Stella Artois - you need to represent a light, classic style of beer, and Helles and Pilsner both fit the bill, but there's no need to go straight-up AAL (plus, most people already know what AALs taste like); any of these would give you a great example of how a "fizzy yellow beer" can taste crisp and clean, and while I wouldn't argue they're all "world class," all of them are superior to the classic BMC AALs.

  4. rudiecantfail

    rudiecantfail Pooh-Bah (1,927) Aug 9, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I like EmperorBatman's list. I'd add Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen as the perfect example of a wheat beer and BCBS as the perfect example of a BBA stout.
  5. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    This is easy, none. There are hundreds of beers I would like to try but 0 I feel I must try.
  6. GreenBayBA

    GreenBayBA Grand Pooh-Bah (3,819) Aug 30, 2015 Wisconsin
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I go through this drill quite a bit, since most people in Wisconsin think there are 4 categories of beer: regular, import, dark, and Spotted Cow. Here is my initiation/learning list. Most people who experience this lineup double-down that Bud Light or Miller Lite is the greatest beer ever made, which is why I spend more time on this website than with people that I actually know.

    Lakefront Brewing Eastside Dark
    New Glarus Moon Man
    New Glarus Rasberry Tart
    New Glarus Two Women
    New Glarus Scream
    Toppling Goliath PsuedoSue
    Toppling Goliath King Sue
    A proper NEIPA of some type.
    Then, we finish off with Central Waters' barrel-aged beers.

    Typically, massive amounts of cheese curds and bratwursts are involved in this exercise of craft beer initiation.
  7. EmperorBatman

    EmperorBatman Zealot (695) Mar 16, 2018 Tennessee

    I would agree, and I almost put Weih's stuff on, either their Weiss, or the Premium Bavaricum - the heritage of their brewery (if it is, indeed, the oldest in the world at its supposed founding date at the turn of the first millenium...) makes it a worthwhile addition. I chose Schneider because I personally prefer their selection of wheat beers - they really are consummate experts, and they really were the ones who revived Weissbier from near-extinction.
    #7 EmperorBatman, Jul 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
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  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,169) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Might I suggest respondents perhaps limit themselves to 10 entries?”

    OK, I will try to be compliant. I will do this on a per beer style basis.

    AAL: I would strongly recommend Yuengling Lord Chesterfield here. Economically priced and very tasty for my palate, especially on the aroma.

    ‘Old School’ IPA: I would strongly recommend Sierra Nevada Celebration IPA. Unfortunately it is a seasonal (fall) but it is worth the wait and IMO this beer holds up well with age. Buy a case (or two) and drink for several months.

    Non-hazy IPA: I strongly recommend Bell’s Two Hearted Ale (the fresher the better)

    Juicy/Hazy IPAs: Instead of recommending specific brands I will recommend breweries here: Tree House, Tired Hands & Bissel Brothers. Choose which brands that ‘speak’ to you.

    Trappist: I really enjoy the beers from Westmalle (Dubbel, Tripel)

    Hefeweizen: I recommend Weihenstephaner and Ayinger Brau-Weisse and if you can locate it Straub Hefeweizen (Smooth Eddy)

    Pilsner: I have a long list of Pilsners I could recommend. Easier to obtain would be Sly Fox Pikeland Pils. Neshaminy Creek Trauger Pils, but the one I would ‘highlight’ is Root Down Pils.

    DIPA: I would second @Roguer here with Heady Topper and Pliny the Elder

    Robust Porter: Number 1 here would be Hill Farmstead Everett but that beer is not easy to obtain. Easier to find: Founders, Deschutes, Great Lakes, Bell’s.

    Oktoberfest: For me this is an easy response – Sly Fox Oktoberfest. If you can find fresh German imports I would recommend the beer from Weihenstephaner.

    I could go on but I already reached the limit of 10.

  9. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 Savant (1,063) Feb 4, 2014 Texas

    Keeping in mind relative ease to find and style variety.

    Rochefort 10
    Old Raspy
    Jai Alia

    Easy for anyone to find and try, and good examples if not the best example (Rochefort) of their style.
  10. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Grand Pooh-Bah (3,666) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Two hearted
    Old Rasputin
    Each Chimay
    As much BMC as you can taste
    Victory or Great Lakes lager
    Random beers that grab your attention
    This would be a solid foundation.
  11. Squire

    Squire Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi

    My wish list is much longer than 10.
  12. laketang

    laketang Pooh-Bah (2,971) Mar 22, 2015 Arizona
    Pooh-Bah Society

    King Sue
    Ninja vs unicorn
    Edmond Fitzgerald
    Speedway stout
    Great lakes Dort lager
    Weinstephan pils
    Pineapple guppy session
    Ayinger dunkle

    Nice mainly obtainable beers to try
  13. TongoRad

    TongoRad Grand Pooh-Bah (3,826) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I had a Hofbrau Original last night, and damn, that's still a fantastic beer!
  14. scream

    scream Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    Damn, fool me once fool me twice !

    Here I thought you spent all that time here because you were an employee !! Just like @vvabeerguy.
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  15. nc41

    nc41 Initiate (0) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Weihenstephaner Hefe
    HF Abner
    Two Hearted Ale
    Old Mecklenburg Capt Jacks Pils
    Conniston Bluebird XB - have to have a nice English bitter.
    BC Coffee
    SN Fest beer
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  16. Spade

    Spade Maven (1,404) Mar 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Apologies for being anal-retentive, but while I would always recommend trying Lord Chesterfield, it's classified as a pale ale. Is it lagered, or use bottom-fermenting yeast?
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  17. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Grand Pooh-Bah (5,159) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Sticking mostly close to home:
    Bell's: Two Hearted, Oberon, Hopslam (fresh)
    Founders: Breakfast Stout, KBS, CBS
    Old Nation Boss Tweed NEIPA
    Fat Head's Head Hunter
    3 Floyds Zombie Dust
    Russian River Pliny the Elder
  18. keithmurray

    keithmurray Pooh-Bah (2,721) Oct 7, 2009 Connecticut

    St bernardus Abt 12
    JW lees barleywine
    Rothaus pils
    Old Rasputin
    La fin du Monde
    Samuel Smith oatmeal stout
    Westmalle dubbel
  19. spersichilli

    spersichilli Initiate (0) Apr 26, 2018 California

    I feel like these are important beers as far as understanding the current beer scene:

    Pliny the Elder
    Heady Topper
    Foggy Window

    Dark Lord
    Imperial German chocolate Cupcake Stout
    Double Stack
    Fundamental Observation

    Straight Jacket

    Answer Joose

    3F Oude Gueze

    Palantine Pils
  20. fehrminator

    fehrminator Savant (1,205) Jan 26, 2008 North Carolina

    Weihenstephaner hefe
    Bell's Two Hearted
    Pliny the Elder
    Founders Breakfast Stout
    Pilsner Urquell
    Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus
    Allagash White
    Westbrook Gose
    Deschutes Black Butte Porter
    Rodenbach Grand Cru
    Westy 12
    Saison Dupont
    This is week one...
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,169) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Yes it does.

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  22. defunksta

    defunksta Pooh-Bah (2,488) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    My ranking is similar to many, but:

    Apex Predator (Off Color Brewing)
    Bell's Two-Hearted Ale
    Centennial IPA (Founder's)
    Matilda (Goose Island)
    Zombie Dust (3 Floyd's)
    PseudoSue (Toppling Goliath)
    Old Rasputin (North Coast)
    M-43 NEIPA (Old Nation)
    Enjoy By IPA(Stone)

    The top 5 are really what should be seeked out. Top notch craft quality.
  23. TongoRad

    TongoRad Grand Pooh-Bah (3,826) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    That's a damn fine list; my only quibble would be that a week is not enough. With beers like this, and especially if you're interested in understanding them and their respective styles, my advice is to drink them until you 'get' them. And that kind of thing takes several encounters.
  24. JrGtr

    JrGtr Pooh-Bah (1,627) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I think it sort of depends where your (OPs) friend is coming from, and exactly what he wants to get out of the exercise. Some respondents have basically listed the top 10 (or so) beers list, others BBA everything... Not discounting either of these suggestions, but as a basic primer of beer as history:
    I can't really argue with that list posted.
    I may consider different variations of styles, like instead of Schneider Weiss, I might suggest Weihenstephaner, and instead of Chimay or Westy (mostly in that case because of the difficulty in getting it) I might suggest St Bernardus.
    I might also look for some of the history of the modern craft beer, like Sam Adams Boston Lager, etc.

    If I was looking at beers that I myself want to try... honestly there are very few on that bocket list - possibly Pliny the Younger, but if I never try it, I'm OK with that.
    Most would be situations - a pint of Bitter in a traditional British pub, or a pint of Guinness in Ireland. one of the pubs in Germany or Belgium. or something like the Stone brewery in Californa, etc.
  25. deleted_user_1007501

    deleted_user_1007501 Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2015

    Schlenkerla Marzen
    Alesmith DIPA
    Speedway Stout
    UCBC Zwickel

    I dunno. Just off the top of my head.
  26. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Grand Pooh-Bah (3,142) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    To get to the root of how we got here with beer would mean going back to our roots, no?
    I would start with Fat Tire, its brought so many into the fold. Jump over to SNPA, Anchor steam for a couple others. Too bad Pete's isnt around anymore. Start moving forward from there, maybe something from Odell, or founders. Ultimately I would end with a reeces cup blended with chocolate milk along with a glass of orange juice.
  27. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Grand Pooh-Bah (5,765) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Pretty long list, but I still tried not to pick more than one beer of the same style and to (mostly) stick to well-known breweries.

    Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier
    Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel
    Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen
    Brewbaker Berliner Jahrgangsweiße
    Original Ritterguts Gose
    3 Fonteinen Cuvée Armand & Gaston
    Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus
    Orval Trappist Ale
    Saison Dupont
    Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
    Prairie Bomb!
    Kehrwieder South Islay
    Firestone Walker Bravo
    Founders Backwoods Bastard
    Pohjala Laugas
    Wychwood Hobgoblin
    Stone Arrogant Bastard
    3 Floyds Zombie Dust
    Fat Head's Head Hunter
    Old Nation Boss Tweed
    Cloudwater IPA
    FrauGruber Mauri Ora
  28. Shanex

    Shanex Grand Pooh-Bah (4,244) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Regional Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I'll comply too with the 10 limit, in various styles and easily obtainable and not too pricey:

    St bernardus abt 12 (better than Rochefort 10, fight me)
    Westmalle Dubbel
    Saison Dupont
    Gouden Carolus triple
    Founders Breakfast Stout
    3 Monts
    3 Fontainen Oude Gueuze
    Stone Xocoveza

  29. Quackershnoc

    Quackershnoc Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2012 Michigan

    In my mind, the answer to this question should be a list of great beers that I have tried and can recommend personally, are relatively easy to get (off the shelf), and include a vast range of styles and brewers. With that in mind, here is the list that I would give to someone in Michigan of 20 beers, in 20 styles, from 20 brewers (in no particular order).

    Pale Ale: Sierra Nevada - Pale Ale
    IPA: Dogfish Head - 60 Minute IPA
    DIPA: Bell's - Hopslam
    NEIPA: Old Nation - M43
    Stout: Oskar Blues - Ten FIDY
    Porter: Deschutes - Black Butte
    Tripel: Dragonmead - Final Absolution
    Quad: St. Bernardus - Abt 12
    Barleywine: Anchor - Old Foghorn
    Old Ale: Founder's - Old Curmudgeon
    Wheatwine: The Bruery - White Oak​
    Hefeweizen: Weihenstephaner - Hefewiessbier
    Doppelbock: Paulaner - Salvator
    Amber: New Belgium - Fat Tire
    Scotch Ale: Dark Horse - Scotty Karate
    ESB: Fuller's - Fuller's ESB
    Pilsner: Victory - Prima Pils
    Saison: Ommegang - Hennepin
    Sour: Jolly Pumpkin - Oro De Calabaza
    Cream Ale: Lansing Brewing Company - Amber Cream Ale
  30. Glider

    Glider Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2004 Massachusetts

    The history of beer is pretty vast, but here are a couple progressions I had fun thinking about:

    Fuller’s London Pride —> Harpoon IPA —> Heady Topper —> Tree House Julius

    Dessert Stout
    Samuel Smith Imperial Stout —> Old Rasputin —> Founders Breakfast Stout —> Prairie Bomb!
  31. aleigator

    aleigator Pooh-Bah (2,576) May 10, 2014 Germany
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Uerige Alt
    Pilsener Urquell
    3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze
  32. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    Don't overlook English beers:

    Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout
    Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale
    Fuller's ESB
    Fuller's London Porter
    Young's Double Chocolate Stout
  33. Domingo

    Domingo Grand Pooh-Bah (3,884) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Augustiner Helles Lagerbier
    Kloster Andechs Doppelbock
    Chimay Red
    De Struise Pannepot
    3F Gueuze
    Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus
    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
    Trillium Congress Street IPA
    Fullers London Pride
    Victory Storm King
  34. larryi86

    larryi86 Grand Pooh-Bah (5,044) Apr 4, 2010 Delaware

    Pale Ale: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
    IPA: Dogfish Head 60 Minute, Sierra Nevada Torpedo or Bell’s Two Hearted
    NEIPA: Tired Hands Alien Church
    DIPA: Russian River Pliny The Elder
    Stout: North Coast Old Rasputin
    BA Stout: Goose Island Bourbon Country
    Barelywine: Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
    BA Barelywine: Firestone Walker Scuba
    Pilsner: Victory Prima Pils
    Hefeweizen: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier
    Strong Belgian Ale: Anything from a Belgian Trappist brewery
    Saison: Saison DuPont
    Sour: Anything from Cantillon, 3 Foutienen or Tilquin
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  35. iwantyourskull

    iwantyourskull Aspirant (269) Dec 27, 2015 Missouri

    Why Matilda and not any other sister?
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  36. iwantyourskull

    iwantyourskull Aspirant (269) Dec 27, 2015 Missouri

    In love with how regional each list is.

    Boulevard wheat
    weinhenstephaner hefe
    Pilsner urquel
    Stone ipa
    Whatever cool hazy at whatever local place
    Any crane Berliner weiss
  37. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Pundit (865) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

    Hmmm....I see a few but I'm a bit surprised at not seeing more mentions of Orval. It's one very unassuming beer that says a hell of a lot about what beer can be, and an important experience for newcomers IMO


    Rochefort 8
    Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen
    Weihenstephaner Hefe
    Paulaner Munich Gold
    Anchor Steam
    Firestone Walker Union Jack
    Dogfish Head 90
    Deschutes Abyss
    Duchesse De Bourgogne
    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
    North Coast Old Rasputin
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  38. Oh_Dark_Star

    Oh_Dark_Star Initiate (0) Mar 4, 2015 Washington

    Sticking to the premise of brews that contributed to the culture, I found it quite difficult to manage a short list, and only whittled it down to twenty.

    Some of these I believe fit the question, but wouldn't find myself drinking anymore, and there are undoubtedly more for the many styles I've omitted.
    I also agree with TongoRad that just drinking each once will not suffice.

    Pabst Blue Ribbon
    Yuengling Lager
    Heady Topper
    Pilsner Urquell
    Anchor Steam
    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
    Deschutes Black Butte Porter
    Lagunitas IPA
    Prairie Bomb!
    Bourbon County Brand Stout
    Pliny the Younger
    Innis And Gunn Original Oak Aged
    Dark Lord
    Tree House Julius
    Fremont BBomb
    Old Nation M-43
    Ommegang Abbey Ale
    Chimay Première
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  39. deleted_user_1007501

    deleted_user_1007501 Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2015

    Moral of the thread: Weihenstephaner Hefe is a near-unanimous must.

    I remember years and years ago I ordered it by accident thinking it was something else, but was so pleasantly surprised with my “mistake”.
  40. AllOfTheCats

    AllOfTheCats Initiate (0) Mar 27, 2018 Wisconsin

    Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
    Epic Big Bad Baptist
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