Top Ten Best Ales…So Far
Ale is a huge category of beer. You got session ales, India pale ales (west coast and east coast), pale ales, American pale ales, cream ales, brown ales, and the list goes on and on. But… my list will only be ten beers long, so, there will be plenty left out. Tell me what I missed. Alright, we’re going to start with number ten.
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10) Lagunitas IPA – This IPA comes in at number 10 for me for several reasons. First off, it was my first legal beer, so it holds a special place in my heart. But the Lagunitas IPA is a great introduction to IPAs because it’s everywhere. You can get it at any supermarket, bar, beer distributor, etc. It’s a solid west coast IPA. It’s not too bitter and has a smooth caramel taste and pairs with any burger better than a Coors Light.
9) Cigar City Jai Alai – I love this beer. I brought my brothers to Cigar City for their first brewery experience thinking I was going to impress them with beer and my brother tried to order a red bull vodka. He ended up getting this beer and hated it. So, maybe this isn’t a great beer to drink as a first IPA, but it has to be on my list. It’s juicy with a taste of tangerine and citrus. I went to this brewery because I love this beer and I’ve heard great things about this company, but when I got there, they were running the brewery out of a trailer in the parking lot because they were doing construction inside. I promise I will go back and enjoy another Jai Alai down in Tampa Bay, and hopefully see the finished product of Cigar City.
8) Modern Times Space Ways – I’m sitting here right now enjoying this beer. I know I had one last week, but I surprisingly didn’t finish the four pack. Which is unusual for me – I know, a four-pack, right. Anyway, like I said last week, it’s a juicy IPA, not too citrusy. I think it’s a little better than the Jai Alai although, the Jai Alai is a nationally awarded beer. But like I said, last week, try this beer. Beer in the picture featuring Effie the dog.
7) Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – I used to drink this beer in college and had no idea why it got me drunk. Now, I understand abv a little bit better, but I continue to drink these like they are Coors Light anyway. I used to compare it to a dirty sock, but I swear, it’s way better than a dirty sock and honestly after about my 50th one at the Red Jug Pub, I liked them a lot. This is our first and only pale ale on the list, and I love how easy drinking this one is. The IBU is only at 38, it’s smooth, citrusy, and piney. Piney, is what some may call the dirty sock taste. A true palate can tell the difference between dirty socks and pine, trust me, I’m a drunk. I lived in Vegas for a few years, and this was my beer of choice then, and I still grab them when I see them at a bar now.
6) Ballast Sculpin Grapefruit IPA – This beer has an odd taste people tell me, but I really like grapefruit. I’m one of the few people who drink the Ruby Grapefruit White Claw. This is made from their original IPA, which is award winning. People love to say that. But there are so many awards. I just like drinking beer that I like. Is that too much to ask? This beer is better than the original, in my opinion, because of how refreshing and tart it is. Try both, compare, tell me which one you think is better.
5) Stone Enjoy By 01.01.2020 Unfiltered IPA – I look forward to this beer every year. They do a lot of these IPAs and they say, “they’re built not to last.” If you check out the Stone website, you can check out this series. I like the novelty of this beer. If you can get your hands on this one specifically, it’s a double IPA, 90 IBU. I liked this one because of how bitter and fresh it tasted, truly unfiltered. I enjoy a bitter beer occasionally. My wife and I had one of these on New Year’s Eve about an hour before midnight and then passed out cold. Look for these to come out. I like that Stone does so many new releases with this series.
4) Dog Fish Head 60 Minute IPA – This beer is like the Lagunitas for me. I love to try new beer. If there’s something I haven’t had, I’ll order it. But when I want an IPA and I want one that I can trust, I go with this one. 60 Minute is the car repair man that you can trust not to rip you off. It’s the doctor that will call in a Z-pack for your bronchitis when you don’t even go to the office. It’s the friend who pays for dinner because he knows you’ll pay next time. 60 Minute is your constant, your rock. F*[email protected] Marry, Kill? You marry 60 Minute, he/she knows exactly how you like it. IBU? 60, obviously. Bitter, yeah, but won’t blow you away. Don’t know what to order, just get a Dog Fish.
3) Wicked Weed Pernicious IPA – Wicked Weed is one of the coolest breweries I’ve ever been to. It’s a huge space in Asheville, NC. It’s half indoors and half outdoors and I highly recommending do a brew tour in Asheville. Like, organize it yourself though, don’t pay someone to tell you where to drink. I’ve been drinking this IPA since I’ve moved here. High abv. It’s piney, it’s dry hopped, and it’s such a unique west coast IPA made here in North Cackalacky. I can’t wait to get back up there to have one right off the tap. The first time I saw this beer in the supermarket was a Sunday morning when I first moved here. I brought it up to the front. I handed it to the cashier, and she told me it was too early in the morning to buy beer. I thought she was kidding, but that day, I learned what it would be like living in the bible belt.
2) Mother Earth Cali Creamin’ Ale – This beer is a god damn dream, specifically when it is served on nitro. If it is not on nitro, it doesn’t even break into my top ten. But when they serve this creamy ale on nitro, that taste like actual cream soda, I can’t get enough of it. If you find this beer on nitro, get it. It’s a vanilla cream ale, not bitter at all, and the perfect beer on a summer day sitting outside at a bar. It has a slight sweetness to it, but finishes dry and doesn’t leave you feeling too full. I swear by this beer, it’s one of my favorites and it is my wife’s all-time favorite beer, bar none.
1) Boulevard Jam Band Berry Ale – This is one of my favorite beers of all time, so naturally, if we’re talking ales, it’s at the top of my list. I’ll never forget the first time I ordered this beer. The guy started pouring it and it came out of the damn tap pink. I was so confused, I thought he must be pouring the wrong beer. But it is the perfect combination of sour, tart, and ale. It has a berry taste but it’s not as sweet as a low abv sour and not as tart as a high abv sour. It’s perfectly in the middle. It finishes dry and I can drink these all day long. I just convinced my local beer distributor to order a case for me and it should be coming soon. Again, this is probably a summer beer, but hey, a boy can dream. This beer comes in at 5.9% abv, which is the perfect percentage for me. It’s the mother bear of abvs, just right.
So, this is my list of my top ales. Let me know what you think. What did I miss? What did I screw up? Do you think you have a better list than me? I really doubt it, but you can tell me and I’ll see what I think. Whatever you like, keep drinking.
Vince Del is a therapist living in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is originally from New York where he grew up and went to college. Vince has been writing for four years now creating his blog about the unfortunate events that happen to us on a daily basis – mycousinvinny.blog. In his spare time, he drinks beer, and now writes about that as well.