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Favorite Malt Beverages

It’s never been a secret that I enjoy all sorts of malt beverages.  I thought it was about time that I actually sit down and document my favorite ten beverages of this type.  Since there are literally thousands of malt beverages available, narrowing it down to ten is a difficult task.  The criteria for inclusion here is that the beverage must be currently available and must have reasonable distribution.  I reserve the right to make deletions and additions at any time as the beer landscape changes.  After all, I am trying new stuff all the time and never know when I may come across something that becomes a new love. They are listed in alphabetical order.

The list was last reviewed on March 3, 2014.

Bass Ale

Bass Ale is classified as English Pale Ale.  I’ve had a taste for Bass Ale since I first tried it over 25 years ago.  It has a very nice taste with just the right balance of flavors.  It goes great with just about all foods as well as with just sitting around watching the sun set, grass grow, paint dry or some other important activity.  It is an essential if you want to try a "Black and Tan".  I rate Bass Ale 3.28 (on a 5 point scale) on Beer Advocate.

Bud Light Lime

Bud Light Lime is classified as a Light Lager.  This is a new favorite.  For whatever reason I didn’t think I’d care for this but I tried it with an open mind and fell in love with it instantly.  This is the absolute perfect summer beer (or any other season for that matter).  If you are working outside it goes down perfect on a hot day and doesn’t leave you horribly dehydrated.  At only 4.2% ABV you really need to pound a lot of these to have to worry too much about intoxication.  It is also a perfect beer with spicy foods like Mexican food.  Given the choice between most Mexican Beers with a lime and Bud Light Lime I'd take the Bud Light Lime.  This beer is generally panned by beer rating websites.  In fact, my own rating on Beer Advocate is 2.84 (on a 5 point scale).  This isn't a complex craft beer made for sipping, it's a refreshing beer made for drinking (think cutting the lawn or some other mundane task on a hot day).  Considering what it is it's a winner to me. 

Dogfish Head 90 Minute India Pale Ale

DFH 90 Minute IPA is classified as an American Double IPA.  No matter what you call it, I consider this to be somewhat the holy grail of craft beer.  If you want to know the meaning of "World Class" as far as malt beverage this is it.  The one knock on a lot of craft beers that I will concede is that many are over hopped just a bit.  While this one has a very pronounced hop profile it has the maltiness (is that a word?) to balance it out.  The result is an absolutely outstanding IPA that I personally love.  Yes, it's a little on the high side with regard to price (around 2.75 a  12 ounce bottle at retail), but quality costs and if you are going with a craft you need to make it the best and this is it. You have to be careful with this one as it has 9% ABV.  A couple of these and you know you've been drinking.  I'm not too sure about distribution, but this is made in Delaware and I can buy it in Kentucky so it must have reasonable distribution.  This is currently my top rated beer on Beer Advocate with a rating of 4.51 (on a 5 point scale).

Genesee Cream Ale

Genesee Cream Ale (aka Genny Cream, GCA, "Screamers") is  classified as a Cream Ale.  You either love Genesee Cream Ale or hate it.  Put me in with the former.  My first Cream Ale experience was during the winter of 1978-79 and I have loved it since.  Throughout my Coast Guard career I sought sources of Cream Ale and would always stock up when I had a chance to visit my hometown of Greece, NY.  To me there is nothing better than hot Buffalo Chicken Wings coupled with Genesee Cream Ale. Again, this is not in national distribution, but I am most pleased that I can buy Genesee Cream Ale at my local Liquor Barn in Louisville, KY.  Recently I have heard of much greater distribution, particularly in 24 ounce cans.  As far as a rating, I rate Genesee Cream Ale on Beer Advocate at 3.00 (on a 5 point scale).  It isn't a craft beer with complex flavors; it's just a good beer to drink.

Hurricane High Gravity Lager

Hurricane High Gravity Lager is classified as an American Malt Liquor.  Let’s not kid ourselves; the purpose of this product is to efficiently introduce alcohol into your body under the guise of enjoying a malt beverage.  At 8.1% alcohol by volume, a price around a buck and a half for a 24 ounce can and a decent enough smooth taste, this baby fills the bill nicely.  This is my “quick start” go to beer.  One is perfect, two is pushing it and three is probably way too much.  My nickname for this is "The Velvet Sledgehammer".  As far as a rating, I give it a 2.53 (on a 5 point scale) on Beer Advocate.  The fact is that for what it is it isn't all that bad.  There are much worse higher alcohol malt beverages around - MUCH WORSE.  There is nothing subtle about this stuff.

King Cobra Malt Liquor

King Cobra is also classified as an American Malt Liquor.  I first drank this in Detroit when I was stationed there from 1983-1985.  I remember stopping at a "urban" C-Store and seeing a new product on the shelves.  I was into collecting new cans still at the time so I grabbed a six pack.  I liked it then and have continued to like it.  For folks who mock this just keep in mind that AB sells over a million barrels of this stuff annually.  That’s considerably more than any microbrewery.  Before you get the idea that this is some highly rated beer, I rate it at 2.10 (on a 5 point scale) on Beer Advocate; I just like it for some reason.

Dos Equis Amber

Dos Equis is Vienna Lager.  I have a hard time going to a Mexican restaurant and not having one of these with my dinner.  In my opinion, this is the finest Mexican import in the U. S. market.  It has a rich malt flavor and subtle hopping.  It is really good with a lime.  On Beer Advocate I rate it a 3.01 (on a 5 point scale). 

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Samuel Adams Boston Lager is also classified as a Vienna Lager.  I almost consider this to be a type of "entry level" craft beer.  It has enough of a malt and hop profile to satisfy just about any beer geek (or even snob - yes there is a difference) yet is light enough to not overwhelm the senses.  On Beer Advocate I rate it 3.78 (on a 5 point scale).  Anything over a 4 is bordering on "world class".  If you've never tried it I highly recommend it.

ST Ides Premium High Gravity Malt Liquor

ST Ides is classified as an American Malt Liquor.  It's different though.  I've actually pawned this off as a craft beer to some less knowledgeable beer drinking associates.  It does have a unique flavor profile.  Unlike a lot of less expensive higher alcohol malts (this one is 8.2% ABV), it does not have a foul or off taste.  While great in a 40, I find the 22 ounce bottle to be a perfect serving as you don't have to hurry it to drink it cold.  On Beer Advocate I rate it at 2.76 (on a 5 point scale).

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is classified as an American Pale Ale.  This is another nearly world class beer.  It is naturally conditioned and has an outstanding malt and hop flavor profile.  It is currently my second highest rated beer on Beer Advocate at 4.28 (on a 5 point scale). 

Honorable Mention (Listed Alphabetically)

Genesee Beer

Genesee Beer is still a favorite of mine, but just not good enough to crack the top 10. Genesee survived the brewery slaughter phase of the 70’s and 80’s because it was a good beer.  I am very pleased to see that the brewery is in good hands and looks to me like it is poised to make a bit of a comeback.  On Beer Advocate I rate it 2.84 (on a 5 point scale).  Let's face it, although I like the stuff, it's still an American adjunct lager (AAL).

Michelob Amber Bock

I don't know how many people have told me that bock beer is beer made from the dregs of the tanks.  Why do people say such things?  This is a dark beer for people who really don't like dark beer.  I honestly think if you drank it blindfolded you might not be able to identify it as either an amber or bock beer.  On Beer Advocate I rate it 2.88 (on a 5 point scale).

Miller Lite

That's right - "Tastes great and less filling".  I generally don't drink "light" beer because in order to achieve the "lightness" you typically take away things that make beer good - like flavor.  Miller Lite is one of the best in a poor field.  On Beer Advocate I rate it 2.08 (on a 5 point scale).  This is a good "session" type beer where you can drink a bunch without getting too lit.  Just make sure you know where the nearest bathroom is before get too far into a session with this one.  I keep it on hand since several people I know like it and it's nice to have it around for them if they stop by and you want to offer them a beer.

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