Whether you are just beginning to explore the world of beer or you are a seasoned beer snob, these are brews that you should know. In compiling this list, I’ve tried to put together a list of beers that are 1) solid representatives of their respective styles 2) seem to have a decent market saturation so you will have a chance of finding them 3) generally cover the spectrum of beer styles.Find your About Beer Guide's other Top Ten Beers lists here.
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In no particular order, I begin with Pale Ale. Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale is a great example of the American interpretation of this classic English brew. It is amber colored and has a nice balanced flavor. It is hopped with distinctive Cascade hops.
Fuller’s ESB is my selection for the huge family of bitters. The name might stand for Extra Special Bitter though no one really agrees on what ESB means. This beer is dark with rich malt flavoring. Light hops and low alcohol makes this a good session beer.
Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter might be as close to the original porter that you can get in the beer world. Taddy has a rich dark color and a medium body.
Bohemian Pilsner can only really be represented by the one beer – Pilsner Urquel, the original. Despite changes in brewing and lagering methods over the years, this is more or less the same beer that came out of the Plzen casks on October 5, 1842
and harkened a new era in brewing.
Guinness is my choice for dry stout. This famous beer is perhaps one of the best known beers in the world. With a small dose of beer soured by lactic acid bacteria in each batch, Guinness might not be the prototypical dry stout but it is so ubiquitous it is hard to deny it a spot on my list. Other perhaps more correct choices for this style would be Murphy’s or Beamish Stout.
6. German PilsWith pronounced hops and a lighter malt profile than even Bohemian Pilsner, German pils will be the most familiar beer on this list to those that normally drink megabrewery beers like Coors or Bud.
7. Paulaner Hefe-WeizenHefe-Weizen - the best representation of this style, Paulaner, is easily found almost anywhere. Chill a bottle and pour it in a glass making sure to get all of that yeast out of the bottom of the bottle. Many fans of this style like to squeeze a lemon into their glass. That’s fine but save that for the second one. For the first, just enjoy this hallmark of Bavarian brewmasters’ craft all on its own.
India Pale Ale
is a brew whose history is as interesting as the beer itself. Recently it has become a favorite of that odd breed - the American hop-head. Brewed by Pyramid, Thunderhead is an excellent version of the American interpretation of this style.
Hoegaarden is at the fore of a revival of the Belgium white, an unusual wheat beer. This is one of the best examples of the mix of spicy yeast and cloudy white that marks a Belgium white.Check out my full review of Hoegaarden here.
The entry for the Trappist ales, a rich malty style noted for being crafted by monks, is Chimay. You will find that a few varieties are available from the Chimay brewery but any of them will do nicely.
No doubt there will be those that disagree with my selections for this top ten beers list. Id love to hear your list of top ten beers. Send me an email with your suggestions. When I have enough responses, Ill post the readers top ten favorite beers and well see how it compares to my list.