Todd Stiefel’s Top Five Beers
I am not a beer connoisseur, but I do love beer. I always drink in moderation, except when I accidentally drink in lots of moderation, if you know what I mean. I have no idea how to describe the beer head as colored like a waning autumn sunset and how the beer has a nose like freshly cut dandelions simmering in a Crock-Pot. Fancy explanations are beyond my capabilities; I just know what I like.
With that disclaimer in mind, let's get to the scoop on some amazing beers:
Honorable Mention: Jesus Juice, Cutler Bay Brewing Company. This has to be mentioned because not only is it delicious, but it has a great name and label. If only the heavens really could be turned into "carbonated, alcoholic goodness." You'll have trouble finding this one, because it was a single batch home brew. Hopefully, someday my friends Kevin and Austin will produce this beauty in bulk so the world can enjoy a truly religious experience.
#5: B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher, Hoppin Frog Brewery, Oatmeal Imperial Stout.
B.O.R.I.S. is not the name of the imbibing frog on the label of this powerful beer—it’s an acronym for Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout. At a hefty 9.4% alcohol by volume, a more appropriate mascot for this brew would be a Siberian bear than an adorable amphibian. The Crusher brings with it a powerful and delicious flavor that will reward those brave enough to tangle with this dark beast. (Ratebeer.com Score: 100; Beer Advocate Grade: A)
#4: Miller Lite, Miller Brewing Company, Pale Lager.
Ratebeer.com gives Miller Light a score of 0—that’s right, a score of zero out of one hundred. But, as I said, I am not a real beer authority, so I have no qualms about admitting I still love this beer. If I am at a stadium with a classic lineup of macrobrews, this is going to be my pick. "Tastes great, less filling" is not just a slogan, it is an apt description for Miller Lite. Sure, it tastes like homeopathic beer, but it’s refreshing and a great choice if you are low on options. Miller Lite is my "old reliable." (Ratebeer.com Score: 0; Beer Advocate Grade: D+)
#3: Two Hearted Ale, Bells Brewery, India Pale Ale.
I like most beer, but dislike most India Pale Ales because they tend to be far too bitter for my palate. Two Hearted Ale is the perfect IPA for those with an aversion to beers that make the face pucker. Full of flavor, Two Hearted provides the agrarian taste of hops with just a hint of pleasant bitterness. This was hard to find a few years ago, but now enjoys great distribution. If you have steered clear if IPA's in the past, give this one a shot. (Ratebeer.com Score: 100; Beer Advocate Grade: A )
#2: Aphrodisiaque, Dieu du Ciel, Stout.
I have only had this beer once, and I’m really looking forward to getting to try it again. This comes labeled as either Aphrodisiaque or Aphrodite, although you may find neither. This one is as rare as stability in a Microsoft product, so if you come across it, grab it. This stout is made with both chocolate and vanilla, a delicious combination, with intense, unique and amazing flavor. If you know where to find it in theRaleigh, North Carolina area, please let me know. (Ratebeer.com Score: 100; Beer Advocate Grade: A-)
And the number one beer … drum roll please …
#1: Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier, Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan, German Hefeweizen.
This is the perfect session beer, meaning it is a good beer to have if you are having more than one. I adore this wheat beer. It really does have a very subtle banana-like taste, which is a result of the special yeasts found in the beer. The beer has a cloudy appearance, because it is unfiltered. Do not let that turn you off; this beer is incredibly good—light and wonderful on a hot summer day. Interestingly, it is brewed by the world's oldest brewery, Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan, a company whose name can only be pronounced by a small band of Flemish linguists residing in Mordor. (Ratebeer.com Score: 99; Beer Advocate Grade: A)
Todd Stiefel is co-host of The Humanist Hour, the official podcast of the American Humanist Association, and president of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation.
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