I live right next to a store called Liquor World. They claim to have everything including an extraordinary selection of international beers. There’s always one shelf that has the good stuff on it. It’s off to the side, and the bottles aren’t straightened like they are on the other shelves. Here you’ll find bottles written in different languages, frequently unpriced. Those in the back are covered in a thick coat of dust. Besides, who’d buy a foreign beer that doesn’t even have a price?
This guy. This guy will buy all them beers.
Liquor World lets me price my own beers. When I bring a Kriek to the front, they just laugh and ask how much it’s worth. I pay them six dollars for a Kriek Lambic, but only five for a regular.
I wasn’t always a beer snob. When I moved to college I was pretty sure I was only ever going to drink liquor. Beer was disgusting; it was just a convenient route to intoxication. And only if I was really in the business of getting messed up, in which case you’d find me pounding shots of Everclear my friends had picked up in Kentucky. At one party some folks finally convinced me to drink a Natty Light. Ya know, for my education. One sip and I gave up on humanity.
A year later I was sitting at a pub in London too afraid to tell the cute bartender that I didn’t drink beer. I smiled and she recommended Strongbow, London’s most famous cider. From there it was on to all the other ciders: Magner’s, Kopparberg’s, and the holy grail of Brother’s Pear Cider. But that wasn’t quite the beer I had in mind.
I visited the Greenwich Meantime pub and had some of their brews and fell in love. On a hot day, there was nothing better than sitting out on the patio with a Meantime Brewery Raspberry Wheat Beer. And then their stouts, oh god, their stouts. They opened my eyes to the world of stouts.
When I came back to America a lifelong war began between my roommates and me. They believed firmly in The King of Beers, Budweiser, but were also happy to partake in other American swill like Iron City Light, piss straight out of a coal worker.
I’m the guy who brings his barleywine to the party and sits in the corner judging everyone else. This is my beer. That is yours. And that’s the universe in a nutshell.
I’m not selfish though. I want everyone to enjoy the greatest beer out there. Here’s five beers that you absolutely must try:
- Pear Cider by Brother’s
- Sweet Baby Jesus (Chocolate Porter) by DuClaw Brewing Company (recently pulled from some shelves for its “offensive” name)
- Fred from the Wood (Barleywine) by Hair of the Dog Brewing Company
- Lindemans Kriek by Brouwerij Lindemans
- She’s So Wee Heavy by Perrin’s (Hometown represent!)
So put down that swill you’re drinking. Now that I’ve given you a list what’s the excuse?
Post and photo by Ian Sims.