Inevitably, when I'm teaching a beer class, giving a seminar, or consulting, I will be asked, "What's your favorite beer?" It seems simple enough, a fair question. It is, however, a very difficult one for me to answer. One that I always try to dodge, because I have tasted so many good beers and beer styles vary so much that trying to compare them is like trying to compare apples and barrel-aged oranges fermented with coriander.
Through my protests, there is always a persistant smarty-pants who asks the irresistible question we've all heard a million times. "Christina...if you were stranded on a desert island and could only take five beers with you, what would they be?"
So, after amendments allowing me to have electricity enough to supply a five-handled keg-o-rator, a magical lifetime supply of my five beer choices, and the proper glassware on this island, I begrudgingly answer: prefacing, of course, with what I will say to you now.
This list is by no means binding. It could change at any time (although I doubt Craftsman could ever be off the list.) If, at any time, I am faced with a real-life-desert-island-beer-picking scenario, I reserve the right to change or modify this list in any way I see fit.
Here we go. If I were stranded on a desert island, and I could only take any FIVE beers with me... today they would be:
Craftsman Smoked Black Lager
Bear Republic Racer 5 India Pale Ale
Westmalle Trappist Tripel
Rochefort Trappists 10
Lost Coast Great White
Ommegang Biere de Mars
Three Floyds Alpha King Pale Ale
Deschutes Black Butte Porter
(*The mixing possibilities of these beers are endless - but that's a controversial topic for another blog.)
The Second Question:
The follow-up question always is, "Where do we get these beers?" I'll give you the short list for Los Angeles. This is BY NO MEANS all inclusive, but I frequent these places to get the good stuff:
Father's Office - Where it all began for me. The staff are experts.
The Otheroom - Where it continued. HUGE list.
Bottle Rock - Great wine bar beer list. All bottles so far.
The Library Bar - Tucked away downtown. Awesome and chill. Draughts and Bottles.
Lucky Baldwins - Don't miss one of their Belgian Ale Fesivals.
3rd Stop - I even respect their Pabst Blue Ribbon tap.
Violet - Chef Jared Simons rocks.
Wine Expo - The best place to buy beer on the west side. The staff is very knowledgeable.
Wine House - Who knew?
Wally's Wine & Spirits - Zagat's #1 Wine Shop in Los Angeles
Whole Foods (my neighborhood store has a great beer selection)