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    • giberti

      Over the last few years I've been on a beer journey, exploring styles and flavors. I've been fortunate to have several of my bucket list beers without having to get too crazy or pay obscene amounts of money for them. I've also had the opportunity to taste some beers side by side and much to my surprise, I don't always chose the unicorn. For example, in a blind tasting of several awesome IPAs, I chose a Bells' Two Hearted (Kalamazoo, MI) over Russian River's Pliney the Elder (Santa Rosa, CA).

      This makes me wonder if there are other beers that have better distribution, at least within some regions, that are actually better than the unicorns us beer nerds spend so much time chasing after?

    • Bell's Two Hearted is one of the best beers sold in North America. My other "mainstream" favorites that are better than anything "fringe unicorn status" I've tried in their repective categories are Ommegang's Hennipen, Victory's Prima Pils, Fullers ESB, and Duvel Begian Blonde. They are all well balanced. Something the unicorns I've tried never are.

      Unicorns are usually marketed in the same way that roller coasters are. Something is bigger/faster/bolder and you have to choke it down and say "That was ... interesting but for $28 I'd prefer (insert other unicorn here) because (blather about some aspect here)".

      As the small brewers fight for supremacy by adding terrible ideas to beverages to try to differentiate themselves from the other new guy in town I tend to ignore them and gravitate to sucessful implementations of good, balanced, drinkable beer. I think I'm over the hunt for the next fad. For instance... sour beer.

    • Chris

      I am going to the New York City Craft Beer Festival next weekend! I'll do one of my photo essays but you have to tell me what to look for. I hate sour beers. 🀒

    • PJ

      I can't really drink IPAs maybe my palette isn't refined enough, or perhaps I just don't like the taste of hops... I'm more or less a bud light kind of beer drinker, I don't often drink more than once every 2 or 3 weeks.

      Every once in a while I'll throw a micro brew in the mix... shocktop or bluemoon usually πŸ˜‰.

      But in all seriousness when I'm forced to head to a fancy trendy beer place I do find myself more often then not trying and drinking their sours.. Maybe that goes back to the hops thing.. but I've tasted a good many sours and I'm not often disappointed.

    • Us

      For high hop beers it really does take a second one to have the taste buds get back in order, then it is amazing how the taste evolves. Hard to try something so odd on the chance it gets better but this may be the one time I found it true.
      Still not a go to beer for me as I don't drink too much anymore so I am normally only at 1.
      805 is my localish go to by firestone down in near paso robles.
      P.S I want your and trips Chris, seriously jelly!

    • PJ

      If by second one you mean a second sip i could give that a shot.. if you mean waste another 8-12 bucks on something that taste horrible after somehow getting through the whole first one... i'm out :p

    • Us

      first one is not horrible but it is stronger and more abrupt in my opinion, the second glass or more than half way through the first is when for me the taste changed. I am not a big drinker so perhaps it is different for others.

    • PJ
      Pj Kinsley

      with the abv around 12 percent perhaps you are half in the bag by the second one... I’m guessing that would be my situation haha!

    • Us

      oh my, the night I spent at Refuge tasting 4 glasses of high IBU stuff (also high alc). I was not that wasted since my early teens. was easy drinking until it wasn't LOL!
      https://www.refugesc.com/
      The pastrami is $$ but amazing! Not since the Jew and the Gentile closed down in mountain view have I had such good pastrami. West coast that is.
      beer and pastrami, made for fun "events" later!

    • giberti

      with the abc around 12 percent perhaps you are half in the bag by the second one

      There are some great lower ABV beers, but you have to look a little harder to find them. Lots of sours are down in the 7% and below range, some solid IPAs, some great stouts and of course lagers. Avoid anything labeled double, triple, quad, imperial and barrel aged and you should be okay. Still all about 2x the ABV of a Bud, but about 1000x more taste so worthwhile IMO.

      🍺

    • Chris

      πŸ‘†That's amazing. 😳 The photo essays I do most weekends for Cake are taking me into incredible alternative universes I could never fully imagine. Sneakers, comics, protests, tattoos, coffee...with their completely different cultures & language & heroes.

      I have so many friends who go to brewery tours on weekends and make their own beers, it's gonna make this weekend's craft beer festival fascinating for me. Um, how does one taste so many beers and not get drunk?

    • PJ

      I don't mind high ABV beers just don't like IPAs and certainly not double/triple IPAs haha.

      I used to drink quite a few stouts but I've kind of stuck with something cheap or something sour for the last few years.

      But it's always amazing to see the bartender's face when I walk into a brewpub and ask for what ever is closest to bud light... kind of makes my night!

    • giberti

      Um, how does one taste so many beers and not get drunk?

      Small sips and if you don't love it - spit it out! They usually have water on hand.

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