Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Clean Plate Charlie
will select one craft or import beer and give you the lowdown on it:
How does it taste? What should you drink it with? Where can you find
it? But mostly, it's all about the love of the brew. If you have a beer
you'd like featured in Beer of the Week, let us know via a comment.
There's a term among car geeks known as the "everyday driver." A Dodge Viper or a Ferrari is not an everyday driver (even though you may want to drive one every day). Instead, an everyday driver is a car that fits your needs and fulfills your desire to drive at the same time. It should be both comfortable and accessible. It should be easy to get in and out of and stylish enough to make you want to. It should have enough power, agility, and safety features to allow it to adapt to any road situation. Most of all, it should be fun to drive.
Beer is the same way. There are beers you want to savor slowly, such as rare Belgians and complex Stouts. Then there are "everyday drinkers" -- beers that you want to keep on hand at all times, to drink on a daily basis or whenever you feel the need for a brew. Like an everyday driver, they should be stylish (read: flavorful) and accessible (read: cheap). They should also be sessionable, which means low enough in alcohol content that you can sit down and have a few without getting crocked. But most of all, they should be fun to drink.
Without further ado, here are my top five everyday drinkers.
Lefthand Sawtooth Ale: Smooth and hoppy with an almost creamy vanilla character, Lefthand Sawtooth is an easy-drinking beer with the depth to back it up. At 4.75 percent alcohol, you can drink a few of these at a time, but it's not so light that you won't feel it. Lefthand hails from Longmont, Colorado, and is one of my favorite brewers. For a more serious session, try their Milk Stout.
Brooklyn Lager: You could blindfold me and plug my nose with a hairpin and I could still spot a Brooklyn Lager on one sip alone. A mix of American malts and hops with British and German tradition, this is a truly distinctive beer that bridges the gap between easy-drinking lager and flavorful American craft brew. Best of all, it's cheap and widely available in South Florida (most grocery stores carry it now). It's guaranteed to impress even your most beerphobic friends. For a slightly richer and more chocolatey body with the same drinkable character, go for the Brooklyn Brown.
Bell's Two-Hearted Ale: Many ultra-hopped IPAs often forgo one important attribute: balance. I love a Dogfish 90 Minute, for example, but I'm not going to drink three or four in a night. That's where Bell's Two-Hearted comes in. Its resinous hop notes are balanced by a rich, yeasty body with plenty of heft, but not so much that it fills you up outright. Like Brooklyn, Bell's has found its way into most grocery stores and liquor havens like ABCs. It's a downright drinkable IPA that you'll want to revisit again and again.
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Red Hook Long Hammer IPA: Long Hammer is an oldie but a goodie. This hop-forward beer has been available in Florida for years and has earned a semi-permanent spot in my fridge. I love the way Long Hammer tastes in a cooler too. I can put a six-pack on ice and start grilling outside around noon and know that I can keep pulling on those citrusy brews until sundown. It's a great summer IPA in that it's not just a great grilling companion but also tastes great in chili or to cook sausages in.
Negra Modelo: What can I say -- Negra Modelo is my guilty pleasure. It's a dark beer, sure, but it's more like German-style bock or dark lager than a heavily malted beast. I can drink Modelo on sunny summer days or huddled on the couch watching movies. It's great with food (especially Mexican food -- it is Mexico's number-one dark beer) or to drink on its own. Plus it has that fancy foil coating over the cap. Now that's class. Negra Modela is also great to drink out of a mug, frosty or otherwise. And there just aren't that many occasions to drink beers out of a mug for me anymore. God bless Modelo!
How about you? What are your favorite everday drinkers? Tell us in the comments field below.