Beer snobs around the world understand how special beer really is. Beer isn’t just beer. It represents a story. A story of how it came about, often times filled with rich history. It represents a careful and ingenious process of fruition—a craft any brewer or brewery prides itself on. It represents great appreciation for flavor combinations and palate pleasers—tasting is treated as an art that only the finest participate in. Beer is special, and with so many wonderful brews out there, it can be hard to choose favorites. At the very least, here are five specialty beers worth getting to know.
Guinness Nitro IPA
Guinness Nitro IPA is new to market and possibly the most innovative beer under the brewery staple. It’s an English-Style IPA, characterized by the balanced blend of hops and roasted barley with citrus accents, but integrates Guinness’ famously smooth creamy texture—giving drinkers a different experience than they normally encounter with IPAs (English- or American-style). This unique finish is achieved through Guinness’ pioneered nitrogenation process that causes carbonation bubbles to be smaller and denser, thus creating signature smoothness.
2. 3 Floyds Zombie Dust
A lot of times pale ales are easily forgotten—lost in a sea filled with thousands of average pale ales. 3 Floyds Brewing Co.’s Zombie Dust Pale Ale isn’t one of those lost souls. As soon as this one touches the lips of any half-decent beer aficionado it leaves a solid impression, one that makes people go the distance to find it. The beer is intensely hoppy yet not hoppy in a heavy capacity—almost as if the “dust” in the name speaks true to how the hops grace imbibers with a friendly but light presence. Its tropical fruitiness containing a citrus and mango flair is just the right amount when first sipped and the follow up bitterness gives it balance while the finishing creamy mouth feel provides a triumphant grand finale.
3. Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin
Ballast Point is a well-respected brewery among IPA drinkers. Its popular Sculpin IPA has a spin off and that’s the Habanero Sculpin—perhaps the San Diego-based brewer got some inspiration from its geographically close friends south of the border. It’s an IPA with bright citrusy notes plus the floral heat of habaneros, extracted from real habanero peppers. The kick of spicy hotness naturally pairs well with island favorites such as Jamaican jerk chicken, tropical bread pudding and coconut Basmati rice. Even if a beer connoisseur doesn’t prefer India Pale Ales, this is one to make an exception for since the special habanero touch is not found in beers just anywhere.
4. Allagash White
Allagash White is inspired by traditional Belgian wheat beer. It’s hard to stop drinking these at the bar or at the local artisan pizza place. Brewed with a generous portion of wheat, Allagash White is spiced with coriander and Curaçao orange peel along with a secret spice from Allagash Brewing Company—it’s refreshing and different. The brew gives off an air of class but can hang among the commercial favorites—one that almost all can agree is easy to drink but pulls more gravity due to the agreeable taste bud satisfaction it brings.
5. Left Hand Milk Stout
For stout fans, Left Hand Brewing Company’s Milk Stout is up in the top ranks. This dark, creamy sweet stout deserves the milky reputation as roasted malt and coffee flavors build its foundation. Fittingly enough, it compliments rich sugary foods like cake, and is a perfect partner in crime for barbeque.
Anyone seasoned in the world of beer should know this handful of excellent craft brews. Powerful in presence with distinct flavors and finishes, they are among the best and taking note of their existence is a must.