I found myself both surprised and delighted last week when my fellow Hoperatives contributor, John, wrote a post examining the difficulty in being a better beer believer when faced with the dreaded “Favorite Beer” question. Delighted because I’ve been planning to touch on a similar topic myself for a while now. Every time I’d settle in to cobble a post together from my beer-fueled hallucinations, I’d realize that a discussion of Yuengling or even my Summer Vacation need to come first. But now that he’s opened that can of worms? It’s time to dive right in there.
And why was I surprised, you ask? Well, although Hoperatives appears to run like a well-oiled machine, that’s largely due to Tom and Carla’s dedication and diligence. The rest of us contributors just tend to throw stuff out there whenever something comes to mind. It’s like you wake up from an IPA-fueled nap with a snirk and suddenly feel inspired to wax poetic about our inexperience with Belgians.
Beers, I mean. Belgian beers. And maybe that’s just how I do it? I dunno.
Anyway, it’s not like we have development staff meetings where we all gather round, nod sagely over storyboards, and then produce posts just in time for J. Jonah Jameson to hit the scotch. For one thing, we write about beer here, a subject that demands a more relaxed approach. Also, were we to attempt such meetings, Carla would likely end up rolling her eyes as the rest of us made juvenile, off-color jokes. Then we’d all sample some dubbels and trippels until we forgot the original point of the thing.
So, long story short, I didn’t know John was going to write about the Dread Question of Favorites.
But I’m glad he did.
Now, for the record, I’m about the worst person to ever ask for a “favorite” anything. Favorite color? Ooo…uh..purple, maybe? Favorite song? Yeesh…pre or post 1992? Favorite food? Oh, um, anything without ranch or sour cream, I guess. Basically, I don’t like superlatives; they seem so…inflexible. Also, I’m apparently as fickle as a Nickelodeon-inspired thirteen year-old girl. What I love today, I’m likely to be entirely meh about tomorrow.
This position does not endear me to my friends, as “What’s your favorite <insert topic>” around a bar-top is a very common pasttime. And one that I always deflect if possible.
A year or so ago, though, one of my buddies had apparently had enough of my waffling. And when the question next came up, he didn’t say, “What’s your favorite pizza".” Instead, he said, “If you were stuck on a deserted island, just you and one brand of pizza for ever, which would you pick?”
And that question, obviously, couldn’t go unanswered.
So then, fellow Hoperatives, I ask not what your favorite beer is, because as John so eloquently explained last week, that question if fraught with peril as most of us would agree we’re not our grandfather’s brand-loyal beer drinker*. To be kind, I won’t even ask you to pick just one beer for that desert island. Because long warm days might require an ice-cold pilsner and chill evenings could be better served with a warming Imperial Stout.
So then, you get three. You’re on a desert island, stranded forever. Just you and a volleyball with a berry-paint face. A genie appears, Gambrinus of the Lamp (he can sound like Robin Williams, if that helps you), and offers you three wishes, one each for a particular beer. What three beers are you going to choose?
For me, as of this moment, I’m going to with:
- Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA – Oh, such hoppy goodness, with plenty of malt to match
- Flying Dog Doggie Style Pale Ale – Man cannot live with a sessionable, well-balanced pale ale. In this day of raging hopheads, though, balance can be hard to find. For my taste, Flying Dog hits that sweet spot just right. And at 5.5% ABV, a few of them won’t knock you on your own flying dog.
- Stone Arrogant Bastard – I buy Bastard more frequently than any other single beer. It’s the only beer I try to keep at least one of “on hand”. While I wouldn’t drink one every day, but I wouldn’t want to go long without it.
There you go, that’s my tentative desert-island beer list. The best part about this exercise is that even with just three, I’m second guessing my choices. 90-Minute, am I sure? What about Ruination? Did I say Doggie-Style? Have I gotten daft? What about Schlafy’s APA? Hey, how can I live without a stout?! Maybe I need Founder’s Breakfast Stout?
I’ll be lucky if I don’t change this list four times between now and when the post goes live.
I guess now I know why John beat me to the subject—this is a hard game.
*My own grandpa drank Pabst and little else (back when it was a German brand of beer and not an ironic lifestyle decision)
This post has not been revised since publication.