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Those Ten Great American Beers in full

(In alphabetical order)

Part 3 of 3

Anchor Steam Beer is an American original. This style of beer, something of a hybrid between an Ale and a Lager, was developed during the California Gold Rush. Brewers were trying to make the newly fashionable Lager styles without access to the necessary cooling. They improvised by using very shallow fermentation vessels, in which a high proportion of the brew was exposed to the air. The result was a highly carbonic beer. When the casks were tapped, the emerging CO2 seemed like steam. Anchor Steam is firm, dry, lightly fruity, and very complex. The brewery's hefty Barley Wine inspired many other brewers to produce that style. Its extremely dry, Martini-like, Liberty Ale is not identified as an IPA, but seems to have inspired many examples of that style.

BridgePort India Pale Ale. The bridges of Portland, Oregon, pull together a city framed by the Columbia and Willamette rivers, both flowing from hop regions. BridgePort, founded in 1984 as Columbia River Brewing, is the oldest pub-micro in this great city of small beers. There are about 20 breweries in Greater Portland, more than in any other city worldwide. Portland and Seattle are rivals for the title of today's U.S. beer capital. The Northwest especially favors very hoppy styles like India Pale Ales This example has a lemony, grapefruity, resiny aroma; an oily palate, with suggestions of vanilla pod; and a rush of intense, minty, bitterness in the finish. No fewer than five hop varieties are used: Today's American IPAs are typically far hoppier than those produced in Britain. Pale Ales sent to the British Empire in India were given a heavy does of hops as a preservative on the long sea journey

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is the ultimate dessert beer. It has an astonishingly chocolatey taste, but contains none. Stouts gain their color and flavor from grains that have been highly roasted during the malting process. Brewers use the term "chocolate malt" to describe a variation in which carbonization is avoided. Traditional Stouts are fermented with ale (as opposed to lager) yeasts, which impart a fruitiness. This stout tastes like Sacher Torte, the dark chocolate and apricot cake of Vienna. The producing company was established in 1988, and built its own brewery, in a former matzo bakery, in Brooklyn, New York, in 1996. This beer is an American original.

Expedition Stout tastes like beef braised with prunes and Port wine. This immensely strong (12.55 abv) Stout is from the Kalamazoo Brewing Company, in the Michigan city of the same name. The world has very few breweries specializing in Stout. Most of those produce only one, though sometimes with many variations. This brewery, established in 1985 by former jazz disc-jockey Larry Bell, has been known to offer ten quite different Stouts at the same time.

Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold has a grainy dryness in addition to the big maltiness that characterizes all beers from this brewery, in Cleveland, Ohio. The Gold is one of the few lagers to model itself on the firm-bodied, minerally, local style of Dortmund. The brewery also has an amber-red, yet maltier, Vienna-style lager, named Eliot Ness, after the Cleveland gang-buster. There are bullet holes from his era in the brewery's restaurant, formerly the Market Tavern. The Great Lakes Brewery was founded in 1988.

La Folie is in a rare style that is given an intentional sourness by maturation in uncoated wood. The classic example is Rodenbach Grand Cru, made in Belgium. Rodenbach's former brewer, Peter Bouckaert, now works in Fort Collins, Colorado. At the New Belgium Brewing Company there, he produces La Folie It is a blend of two brews, matured in red wine casks and tuns for periods of between one and three years. Semi-wild yeasts are used. The blend has a further fermentation in the bottle, with a red-wine culture. La Folie has a dark pinkish-amber color; a sustained bead; a toffee-like start; then apple and passion-fruit notes. The label suggests that the beer be left to breathe for ten minutes. During that period, firmness and acidity seems to come to the fore. Quite sour in finish, but a beautifully balanced, food-friendly, beer.

New Glarus Belgian-style Red. New Glarus is a Swiss settlement in Wisconsin. Elsewhere in the state, the town of Brussels, in Door County, is known for its cherries. Brewer Dan Carey, who has worked extensively in Europe created his own counterpart to a Belgian cherry beer. It is based on raw and malted wheat and four types of barley malt , and is fermented with a mixed culture of ale yeast and other micro-organisms. The beer has an almost purple color; a textured body; a malty background; and a beautiful balance of almondy fruitiness and tartness. It has won several awards in Europe.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the most universally admired product among American lovers of speciality beers. In its emphasis on hop aroma; its floweriness; its clean, lean, malt background; and its digestibility and drinkability; it has set a style that is often described as American Pale Ale. The brewery was established on a shoestring in 1981 by partners with minimal experience in either brewing or business. It has been run in a quietly single-minded manner and became the biggest micro. Its Celebration Ale, Porter, Stout and Big Foot Barley Wine are all widely admired. The world classics are produced in the unlikely location of Chico, California.

St Victorious is a strong (7.4 per cent alcohol by volume), dark-brown lager. This style is known as a Double Bock, and is regarded in its native Munich as a warmer for winter or early spring. This example is creamy, nutty and Port-like. It is produced by Victory Brewing, of Downingtown, Pennsylvania. The brewery was established in 1995-6, in a former Pepperidge farm bakery. Founders Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet met at the age of ten, on a school bus. Their other products include an addictive ale called HopDevil and a Belgian-style spiced wheat beer. Whirlwind Wit.

Tupper's Hop Pocket Pils, for its dizzyingly heady bouquet. Also the more cedary, appetizing, Hop Pocket Ale. Creator Bob Tupper is a schoolteacher and beer enthusiast who hosts seminars and tastings in Washington. D.C., at a bar called The Brickskeller, which has more than a thousand bottled beers. A "pocket" is the sack in which hops traditionally pressed. The Hop Pocket beers are among a wide range produced at the Old Dominion micro-brewery, in the Virginia suburbs, near Dulles airport.

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Published: JULY 15, 2002
In: Beer Hunter Online

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