Expert Approved: Brewers Dish on Their Go-To Beers


Brewers' Favorite Beers That Aren't Their Own

To say that the craft brewing world has exploded in the last few years would be an understatement. In 2012, there were more than 2,000 craft breweries in the U.S. alone. Today, that number is closer to 7,000, giving beer fans more options than ever before.

RELATED: Why Is There No Spring Seasonal Beer?

While you might think that the people behind the brews are not as privy to the growing number of offerings on tap — preferring to stick to their own varieties in favour of supporting the competition — you would be wrong. Of course, brewers want to support their business, but they enjoy getting a taste of what’s out there, too. In fact, many brewers find inspiration in their rival’s offerings. And it turns out they aren’t afraid to share it.

In an effort to separate the delectable from the duds in the booming beer world, we checked in with some of our favorite brewers to get their unbiased opinion on the must-try beers that aren’t their own.

Keesman Pils

From Bamberg, Germany, this beloved pilsner is known for its herbal hoppiness, clean fermentation, and a crisp, yet slightly round finish.

“It inspires my pilsner brain. It reminds me of what a marriage of Prima Pils and Braumeister [a Victory beer available on draft at the brewery’s tap room] might taste like,” says Ron Barchet, founder and brewmaster of Victory Brewing Company.

Find out more at Biershop.de

Russian Supplication

A brown ale aged in Pinot Noir casks with sour cherries, brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus added, Supplication is a highly-prized beer.

According to Layton Culter, head brewer at Angel City Brewery, “It is a superior fruited barrel-aged sour beer. What flavors and unique elements drew me to it? The level of sourness, funk, and cherry flavor is outstanding.”

From $14.05 at Drizly.com

Pilsner Urquell

One of the most well-known pilsners in the world, Pilsner Urquell is the world’s first pale ale and it has been copied and mimicked more than most beers ever created.

"I got to spend a week at the brewery with the brewmaster several years ago. When that beer is enjoyed fresh at the source it is the most soft, delicate, and refined beer drinking experience I’ve ever had. I remember thinking that I wish I could solidify it and savor it with a fork,” says Todd Usry, president and head brewer at Breckenridge Brewery

From $5.29 at Drizly.com

Saison Dupont

This light, citrusy, subtly peppery saison is one of the most respected of the style in the world.

“This beer works so well on its own, and it's even better with food. It is always in my beer fridge — normally in a big bottle so I can share,” Jason Santamaria, co-owner and beer architect at Second Self Beer shares.

"[Saison Dupont] is one of those beers, that, whenever I have it, I remember why I got into making beer. It truly shows how great a beer can be. Whenever I create a saison myself, I think of Dupont as my inspiration. Our Saison Champenoise, which we released two years ago, is very close in flavor and will be served in our taproom again this year,” he adds.

From $5.04 at Drizly.com

RELATED: Best Gifts for Beer Lovers

Utica Club

Brewed by F.X. Matt Brewing in Utica, New York, Utica Club is a classic throwback lager that brings its drinker to a different time and place in history.

“I know in a world full of amazing and diverse craft beers it sounds kind of silly that I chose an old school classic American lager, but I was trained by the best at Anheuser-Busch and Genesee to brew a light, clean, and crisp lager that has next to nothing to hide behind,” says Steve Kaplan, head brewer at the Genesee Brewing Company

“I’m not saying it’s easy to make a great IPA because it’s certainly not. But you can sure hide a lot of sins behind a pile of hops. American lagers have zero margin for error,” he adds. “Brewmaster Keith Miller and all the guys at F.X. Matt have stuck to their original recipe and perfected their process to deliver the same clean, light, and crisp Utica Club Lager.” 

Find out more at Saranac.com

Fremont Lush

Founded in 2009, Fremont has quickly become one of the most respected breweries in the country. Its seven percent ABV Lush IPA is made with Citra, Mosiaic, and Citra Lupulin hops to create a juicy, tropical beer.

“IPAs are usually my go-to when I'm drinking craft I didn't brew. I'm a big fan of Fremont Brewing. My brother lives close to Fremont. We visited the brewery, tried their beers, and really liked them,” Steve Kaplan, head brewer at the Genesee Brewing Company shares.

“I also see [Fremont] at craft beer conferences throughout the year, so I'm always able to see what they're up to, build a relationship with their brewers, and continue to try their new releases,” he adds.

From $9.98 at Drizly.com

Jever Pilsner

Jever is Germany’s old school version of a West Coast IPA. The beer is bone dry, has an aggressive yet balanced hop bitterness, and a spicy nobel hop aroma.

“There are so many great beers out there. However, one that stands out is Jever Pilsner. What makes this beer even more fun is that it is the ‘High Life’ of German beers,” says Yiga Miyashiro, director of brewing operations at Saint Archer Brewing Company.

“When I was traveling in Northern Germany, all of the broke college kids, would pick up cases of this beer for their BBQ and other social gatherings,” he adds.

$9.99 at Drizly.com

Founders IPA

This session beer is known for its great balance of hop bitterness and malty sweetness.

According to Matt McCall, head brewer at Coney Island Brewing, “It goes great with everything from mowing the lawn to watching the ball game on TV. That sessionability is one of the reasons I’m excited about releasing our Beach Beer. It’s easy-drinking while still offering up a good amount of flavor.”

From $6.99 at Drizly.com

Sierra Nevada Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is all about balance. Fresh bright bitterness balanced perfectly with a formidable malt backbone. When it was released people considered it aggressively bitter.

“From today’s perspective [Sierra Nevada] really has served as a gateway to what the modern IPA is today. For me, you can taste the evolution of American Craft Beer in every sip. Ken Grossman is a legend, and this beer is a reflection of all of the work and innovation he has blessed our industry with,” shares Rhett Dougherty, head brewer at Veza Sur Brewing Company.

“This is my favorite beer mostly due to the emotions and memories it elicits for me. This beer is like a time machine. It makes me think of stealing a bottle or two from a six-pack from my dad's fridge, or drinking it on the beach in Santa Cruz. The taste of this beer has visceral connections to my own memories,” he adds.

From $5.09 at Drizly.com

Firestone Lager

One of the most popular craft beers of the past few years is the lager. Firestone Walker’s Helles-style version maintains its malt character without being too full and keeps a perfect hop balance.

“Honestly, everything [Firestone] does is pretty amazing and never fails to deliver. It is just so well made,” says Mike Stoneburg, brewmaster at Blue Point Brewing.

“It can be enjoyed on so many levels. If you wanted to, you could dissect every detail and all the care they put into it, or you can just veg out with one or six of them on the back porch watching the sunset after a long day,” he adds.

From $7.99 at Drizly.com

Anchor Porter

Anchor is one of the oldest breweries in America. While almost every beer it brews is well-received by the beer community, one of its most popular is its Porter. “It’s so unique for a porter. It really doesn’t fit the style it helped revitalize, and because of its historic position, Anchor Brewing just bent the category to their will,” Josh Waldman, brewmaster at Elysian Brewing shares.

“It’s beautiful. It has a smooth mouthfeel, a chocolatey taste, and that distinct hit of banana in the nose that makes it so unexpected, but yet so good. I want one right now,” he adds.

From $7.99 at Drizly.com

Whether it’s local craft varieties or internationally-acclaimed names, it’s clear everyone enjoys imbibing a variety of brews from time to time — even the brewers themselves.

You Might Also Dig

What Your Favorite Beer Says About You The Worst Beers to Drink and What to Drink Instead Best Destinations for Beer Enthusiasts http://bit.ly/2WrfIpH April 14, 2019 at 05:05AM

Comments