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Craft Beer Experts Shout Out Their Favorite Beers That They Don’t Make

What do you think of when you imagine a beer? Whatever you see in your mind’s eye is probably your favorite beer. If you love Pilsner Urquell, you likely imagine a pint of that crisp, refreshing, classic beer. If you prefer barrel-aged stouts, maybe you envision a tulip glass with Founders KBS or Fremont Barrel Aged Dark Star. But what if we told you that you could only pick one beer for the rest of your life, what would you pick?

In the past, we’ve asked craft beer experts to tell us their favorite stouts, porters, and fall beers. Asking about IPAs, stouts, and other specific styles leads you to a pretty direct path to some well-known favorites. Even asking for fall beer picks leads to Oktoberfest beers, wet-hopped IPAs, and other fall favorites. Today, we decided to get wild with it. Instead of asking for a specific season or style, we asked some craft beer experts to tell us their all-time favorite beers.

And when we say all-time favorite beers, we’re literally talking about any beer style they imbibe any time of year. Their answers definitely didn’t disappoint. They gave us a mix of American and European beers, pilsner, lagers, rauchbiers, and even trappist ales. Keep scrolling to see their selections. Comment at the end and tell us your all-time favorite beers.

Spezial Rauchbier

Spezial Lagerbier Rauchbier
Spezial

Jack Hendler, co-owner/brewer of Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers in Framingham, Massachusetts

ABV: 4.9%

Average Price: $7 for a 500ml bottle

Why This Beer?

It’s not the smokiest of the Bamberg beers but they still smoke all their own malts in the brewery themselves. It’s sort of a coppery-ambery style beer. It’s an awesome beer year-round. This beer reminds me of being in Bamberg. I loved smoked beers. People get scared off by these beers because of the smoke flavor. It’s really unfortunate because they are really missing out. It’s not one of the over-the-top smokey beers, so it’s still mainly malty with more traditional lager flavors.

Coors Banquet Beer

Coors Banquet Beer
Coors

Shaun O’Sullivan, co-founder and brewmaster at 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco

ABV: 5%

Average Price: $6 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

For me, when choosing a beer that I’ll drink forever, it needs to have high drinkability. It should be pleasant, approachable, and accessible for all occasions. Coors Banquet is that beer for me (bring on the hate mail beer people!) with its refreshing sweet notes, light malt aroma, and zippy carbonation.

Duchesse de Bourgogne

Duchesse de Bourgogne
Duchesse de Bourgogne

David “Zambo” Szamborski, brewmaster at Paperback Brewing in Glendale, California

ABV: 6.2%

Average Price: $14 for a 750ml bottle

Why This Beer?

I wish I could brew Flemish beers without tainting my whole brewery. Rodenbach and Duchesse de Bourgogne are both favorites. The sour cherry notes are balanced by rich malt flavors.

Leffe Blonde

Leffe Blonde
Leffe

Jerry Siotte, co-owner and director of brewhouse operations at Lone Tree Brewing in Lone Tree, Colorado

ABV: 6.6%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Leffe Blonde is my go-to beer. It’s strong, malty, and has a spicy yeast character. It drinks like a meal and that’s not a bad thing.

Hofbräu München Original

Hofbräu München Original
Hofbräu

Mike Kasian, brewer at Bootstrap Brewing in Longmont, Colorado

ABV: 5.1%

Average Price: $9 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Munich Helles is crisp and clean with a little malt backbone to it. Just a quintessential German-style that never disappoints. It’s hard to beat Hofbräu München Original. It’s classic, crisp, and perfect any time of year.

Orval Trappist Ale

Orval Trappist Ale
Orval

Isaiah Mangold, innovation supervisor at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California

ABV: 6.9%

Average Price: $6 for a 12-ounce bottle

Why This Beer?

This authentic Trappist ale is truly one of a kind. This beer truly is alive with flavors and when properly cellared evolves beautifully. Slight fruity notes of apricot, tropical fruit with mild spicy notes from both the fermentation, and dry hopping blend with a pronounced bitterness that invites drinkability. Add in the twist of conditioning with a touch of wild yeast and this beer’s flavor will continue to evolve over time. Amazing.

Poperings Hommel Bier

Poperings Hommel Bier
Poperings

Matthew Barry, director of operations at Fieldwork Brewing Company in Berkeley, California

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: $19 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

Poperings Hommel Bier is a hopped-up Belgian brew that defies easy categorization. Belgian IPA? Hoppy Belgian Strong? I first seriously dove into the beer world while working at a wine shop where we had two coolers of bottled beer, one for German beer and one for Belgian beer. This beer has very floral Belgian esters, grassy hop character, plus orange blossom and grapefruit pith. I still need to make the trip out to Poperings’ hop festival.

North Coast Puck Saison

North Coast Puck
North Coast

Charles McManus, head brewer at Phantom Canyon Brewing Company in Colorado Springs, Colorado

ABV: 4%

Average Price: $8 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

Puck Saison from North Coast brewing is my all-time favorite. Something about this light, crisp, and effervescent petite Saison just makes me happy.

Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier

Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier
Weihenstephaner

Adam Lawrence, head brewer at Left Hand Brewing in Longmont, Colorado

ABV: 4.5%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier is a classic. When I am overwhelmed with over-the-top beers, I seek this out. This beer is flavorful and rich, which is achieved through a great balance among only malt, hops, and yeast. The banana aroma is perfect.

Pinthouse Pizza Electric Jellyfish IPA

Pinthouse Pizza Electric Jellyfish IPA
Pinthouse Pizza

Alex Paine, sales manager at WeldWerks Brewing in Greeley, Colorado

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: $19 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

Pinthouse Pizza Electric Jellyfish is a great beer for any setting. It is an easily-approachable IPA for any beer drinker. Big notes of mango and citrus, while maintaining a great balance of piney bitterness.

Carlsberg Pilsner

Carlsberg Pilsner
Carlsberg

Mark Youngquist, founder of Dolores River Brewery in Dolores, Colorado

ABV: 5%

Average Price: $15 for a twelve-pack

Why This Beer?

Carlsberg’s insatiable curiosity gave us the pH scale, pure yeast cultures, and one fine pilsner. It’s round and soft with pleasingly understated carbonation and finishes crisp and clean. Far different than its Bavarian and Czech cousins, Carlsberg is less about hop forward bitter, and more about crisp balance. It approaches beer-drinking Nirvana.

Fonta Flora Errday Saison

Fonta Flora Errday Saison
Fonta Flora

Patrick Ware, co-founder & head of brewing ops at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. in Phoenix, Arizona

ABV: 3.8%

Average Price: $39 for a 1.5 liter bottle

Why This Beer?

This has beautiful farmhouse ale-level acidity with a funky aroma at a crushable ABV. Beers like this make so much sense to my palate. My mind thinks of putting in a hard day’s work in the sun, then rewarding yourself with something refreshing. This is that beer.

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