The US (and the world) is full of amazing, refreshing, thirst-quenching beer. So much beer that loyalty to just one particular style, brand, or bottle really limits a drinker. To truly savor everything the beer world has to offer, you need to expand your horizons while broadening your palate.
But what if you could only drink one beer for the rest of your life? Which single bottle would you choose? If you love barrel-aged beers, you might regret your decision in the heat of summer. If you favor lagers, you might be bummed come Christmas. Recognizing that this problem is far too hard for us to tackle, we asked some of our favorite brewers to tell us the one beer they’d drink for the rest of their lives (if for some strange, cosmic reason they could only drink one).
Orval Trappist Ale
Colby Chandler, VP and specialty brewer at Ballast Point
Orval Trappist Ale. A living product thanks to Brettanomyces. Changes over the years and is always deliciously dry. A rustic treat that’s overly complex and hard to resist when available. Try to guess the age of the beer without looking at the bottling date.
Victor Novak, brewmaster at Golden Road Brewing
Honestly, it’s Augustiner Helles. It’s so incredibly smooth but still has enough malt and hops to keep you going back for more and more so it never gets boring. To me, it’s the perfect beer.
Ross Koenigs, research and development brewer at New Belgium Brewing
That’s an easy one. Saison Dupont. It’s my desert island beer. It’s complex yet drinkable, it’s great with food or on its own and it holds up to aging. I’ve drunk it for years and I’m still not sick of it, I see no reason to think that I ever will.
Cigar City Guayabera
Alexandra Nowell, brewmaster at Three Weavers Brewing
Ok, so that’s not as easy of a question to answer – and it’s an answer that surely changes with my mood. But since you’re asking me today, I’d say Cigar City Guayabera. It’s a super bright pale ale that celebrates Citra hops in a way I can really get behind. Guayabera is light in body, has a juicy finish, and is hoppy enough to keep me interested through more than a few pints — but not so overboard that I couldn’t pair it with all aspects of life.
Chuckanut Helles Lager
Chuck Martins, brewmaster at North Coast Brewing Company
It would have to be something really versatile. A pale lager would fit the versatility requirement, but which one? I keep thinking of a Helles that I tried last fall from Chuckanut Brewery. Its bready malt character, nuanced hopping and just the right amount of body — all crowned with an everlasting cap of snow-white foam made for a memorable glass of beer. As the designated driver for the evening, I limited myself to just one draft. It wasn’t nearly enough. I believe I would be happy drinking that Helles for the rest of my life.
Dogfish Head It’s The End Of The Wort As We Know It
Eric Warner, brewmaster at Karbach Brewing Co.
Dogfish Head is my Desert Island beer. I’m old school and don’t need a super complex brew. It’s the epitome of a crushable lager that has enough malt sweetness to know you’re drinking something stronger than an American lager, but soft and refreshing enough that you can enjoy pint after pint after pint after pint.
Brian Morris, innovation brewer at Deep Ellum Brewing
It’d have to be something that can be refreshing enough for the heat of the Texas Summer while holding enough flavor for whatever winter may bring. I don’t know that there is ever a bad time to enjoy a pint of Allagash White, so that’s probably what I’d go with.
Wayne Wambles, brewmaster at Cigar City Brewing
A well-made cask bitter or pale ale and I would say that it would have to be an English-made beer for that reason. Hawkshead’s Windermere Pale and their Bitter are the first beers that come to mind. Incredibly drinkable and flavorful beers that I can’t get enough of. My second place is a tie between Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and Oakham’s Citra. None of these beers exceed 4.3% ABV and there is nothing lacking from a flavor or body perspective.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Rhett Dougherty, head brewer at Veza Sur Brewing Co.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the epitome of American Craft Beer and could satiate my thirst for beer for life. The masterful balance of malt and bright citrusy hop flavor and aroma never lets me down.
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
Ryan Brady, brewmaster at the Labatt Brew House
I grew up outside of Detroit, so Bell’s played a large role in my early craft beer appreciation. Two Hearted Ale was the first beer that made me excited about craft beer and eventually led me to do this for a living. To this day it always tastes fantastic and it is always the beer I choose when I want to turn my brain off and just enjoy the beer.
Coors Banquet Beer
Jon Lee, brewmaster & COO of Wasatch Brewery
That would have to be Coors Banquet. This is an old favorite and is always spot on. Great malt flavor and clean noble hop character balance out a super reliable lager beer. Always hits the spot and never disappoints. I have a full-sized fridge dedicated to beer and most of them are craft beers but there is always at least a 12-pack of Coors in there too.