This one’s a little easier for me, as I have a very good understanding of what I like, and what I don’t. I’ve tried a number of the low-carb and light beers lately, and while I drink ’em, they’re definitely not in the list of faves. As a rule, I like the darker beers, and I think my selection shows that.
That said, I’ll drink pretty much anything.
In high school, it was all about the Molson Canadian, although we did tend to drink Toby at public parties, because no one else did, and it never got stolen. In university, I switched to Labatt’s Blue, because our house was sponsored by the local Labatt rep where we could get 4 cases for the price of 3 (and a bunch of swag). Then Molson’s Dry was released, and it was back to Molson product for a few years while working at the bar.
My tastes took a fairly substantial turn while working for Ingenia. We frequented the Barley Mow on Bank when it opened, and they had a decent selection of drafts. We also had this shelf in our kitchen that was ideal for putting beer bottles on, and we managed to start a project where the goal was to get as many different bottles as possible up there. That’s where the palatte started to expand, and about the only domestic beers which make it past the door now are Sleeman’s, Moose Pale, and Keith’s.
All right, enough digression. Here’s the five:
Kilkenny Cream Ale, Ireland: There’s something about the nitrogen-induced bubble cascade that completes the package of this very fine beer. I was introduced to Kilkenny at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club in 1997, and have been drinking it ever since. For the record, Caffrey’s is not a substitute, and I’m glad most bar owners who switched from Kilkenny have switched back. And no, I am not trying to mimic Coop.
Pyramid Apricot Ale, United States: Some fruit beers taste like those soda-pop flavour wines they make, with sugar contents that rival Coke. Pyramid is a left-coast brewer who makes some exceptional beer, and their Apricot Ale is my definition of a perfect summer brew. It’s reminiscent of a Belgian fruit beer, but a little lighter taste that doesn’t linger. Served ice cold on a 30-degree day, it really has no match.
Earl’s Winter Pudding, Canada: Earl’s is a Western chain of restaurants that you either love or hate. The quality of food varies from place to place, but all of their patios I’ve ever been too have been a tonne of fun, and it’s the place Axe and I both travelled 2,500 miles to meet up for a beverage; something we couldn’t accomplish despite living in the same city at the time. Winter Pudding is a seasonal draft that is best described as a stout with a hint of cherries. They cherry taste is not overwhelming, and it is an excellent beer on a chilly night. Pete’s Winter Brew is similar, but with a raspberry taste that doesn’t quite measure up.
Creemore Cream Ale, Canada: This is my beer of choice when I want a draft with a light, clean finish. Creemore makes two types of beer, the Cream Ale and a Bock. Both are excellent choices, but I prefer the Cream Ale for it’s colour, and a taste that can stand alone or go with pretty much any occasion and/or food. Good stuff.
Newcastle, United Kingdom: Another brown beer with a relatively clean, nutty taste. I drank way too much of this stuff in Minne-fircking-appolis in an attempt to save my mind (and we all know how that worked out). The domestic bottles in the U.K. have a cool little star sticker that tells you if it’s cold enough to drink by turning blue.
Guinness (Ireland, no duh) could be on this list, as I do drink it a fair bit. If I had a fridge full of the six beers, though, the Guinness would be the last to go, so it gets the honorable mention.