While most people drink solely to numb the pain of existence, there’s a few people out there who like the experience and sip strictly for the taste experience of enjoying whatever’s in their glass. We can’t fix their delusion, but we can offer some delectable suds that true beer fiends, and even beer snobs will appreciate. Though every palette is different, and flavors that titillate one drinker might leave another licking salt and lime to get the skunk out of their mouth, there’s a few brews that check all the major boxes for piquance.
Brouwerij Huyghe’s Delirium Tremens
Free from bitterness but rife with plums, candy, caramel, and a clean dryness that is accented by carbonation that sings on the tongue. It requires repeated drinking as each draft conjures more complexity. A mild, creamy gentleness that you can sink into.
Deschutes Fresh Squeezed
Dark orange and juicy, this is an IPA for the books. It has a bit of a hoppy start, then eases down to a long, bitter finish that provides enough bite to be memorable, but not so much that it feels soured. Sexy lacing that scatters across the glass, it’s a bottled sunset behind wispy clouds.
Founders Backwoods Bastard
Founders tends to be a master of darkness, and the Bastard is no deviation from course. Pours burgundy as velvet drapes with a molasses smell that comes off in waves. Bourbon is noticeable throughout the drinking experience, adding in a lot of bulk and force to this malted masculine brew.
Brouwerij Verhaeghe’s Duchesse De Bourgogne
A Belgian ale that melds beers of 8 and 18 months of age in oak casks where they lose their adolescent bloom, allowing the stone fruits to rise up. Deep as the Mariana Trench, but carrying a medium mouthfeel that is far lighter than the cloudy abyss promises, expect changes to occur as you work your way down.
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
Coffee and vanilla go into the brewing process, but this is far beyond a standard morning stout. Espresso beans coated in caramel lead the charge, backed by the oak of the casks with a runner of blackened chocolate. Masterfully crafted, it’s bottled fortitude that will put some spine in your day.
Bomb! lurks in the glass like a rum made from filthy motor oil, offering the barest bits of red at the edges. Dark, sticky cherries are on display here along with pepper, vanilla, coffee, and the barest touch of baker’s chocolate. Were a beer ever to stick to your ribs, Bomb! would be it.
Orange, peach, passionfruit, and more exotic tastes that are either born in an island paradise or a demon’s alcove in the sands of the far east, it’s a mango milkshake that will topple any who doubt the Imperial IPA.
New Holland Dragon’s Milk
A strong beer built layer by layer during 120 days of aging in oak casks, bourbon is evident throughout, yet never overwhelming. Were the black forest to be picked up an wrung out, this medley of vanilla, coffee, and charred alcohol would be the milk that spewed forth.
Russian River’s Pliny the Elder
Some say this is the once and future king of beers, while others scoff, throwing around the word “overrated.” Though we wouldn’t give it the crown, to say the spicy, hoppy, pine and spruce concoction isn’t deserving of a dukeship or a baronhood is to insult the fiefdom of beer.
North Coast’s Old Rasputin
During the reign of Catherine the Great, English brewers were called upon to supply her and her attendants with a drink worthy of an empress’s court. Old Rasputin uses the same style and recipe as those bygone men, building prunes, chocolate, toffee, cream, coffee, and a powerful kick into the blend.
Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse
The name is the most complex part of this relatively straightforward beer. Wheat and honey, like golden cereal flakes with banana served over the top, complete with creamy milk, it’s simple pleasure.
Brasserie de Rochefort’s Trappist Rochefort 10
Yeast and a little perfume behind spice provide the unusual nose of the 10. Plums and yeast give it a flavor like a fruit bread straight from the oven. When enmeshed with the chewable mouthfeel the overall experience is one of home-baking during summer vacation.
Cigar City’s Jai Alai
Enough bitter and sweet to make it pair perfectly with some tex-mex or backyard barbecue, there’s more carbonation in Jai Alai than most pale ales. This helps add to the effect of cleansing the palette with a snappy, sparkling wash.
Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat’s Maredsous Tripel
Beer drinkers who abhor the taste of alcohol will find this Tripel an interesting way to imbibe. Loaded with banana taste that’s rare even in tropical beers, it’s also full of cold apple pie, pears, and effervescence. There’s enough spice to keep it balanced, though many will find it too tame for their taste.
Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde
A true American ale made from a unique strain of European yeast, it emulates the golden beer made by trappist monks, which was one of the first to be created in the New World. It coats all the way down, is satisfyingly filling, and has yeast to spare.
Brasserie d’Achouffe La Chouffe
A strong pale that is Belgium’s take on the Tripel, it pours rich and foamy, bubbling up like a challenge while filling the room with sweet fruit and floral scents. Though it stands up thick, it slides down crispy, stinging just the littlest bit to let you know you’re alive.
Bell’s Oberon Ale
The weather might change, but it isn’t really summer until you’ve had an Oberon. It’s littered with spicy hops atop wheat, with just enough malt to make it feel like nothing short of silk rendered fluid.
The Alchemist Brewery’s Heady Topper
An American double IPA that wants to lay you out with bitterness, then give you just enough sweet to keep your lips from puckering. As it moves along, the alcohol adds some curve to the pitch, and the end result is creamsicle. Unusual for an IPA.
Left Hand Brewery’s Nitro Milk Stout
A sweetened stout that comes out like whipped cream, brown sugar, and vanilla, the typical coffee notes of a stout make a cameo, but the story this tells is one of chilled cocoa and English milk chocolate.