Kyle Kastranec lit up Beer Twitter last week when he blogged the question, “What would be on your Mount Crushmore?” Riffing on the idea a bit, this week we ask the Fervent Few which beers they’d like to see inspire the next generation of beer drinkers. Great beers come and go, but these are the classics we want to see stick around forever.
Zack Rothman: “There are a few beers I find to be historically significant and beers that I feel each generation should experience. Harpoon IPA defined a New England IPA before the haze and the juice. Samuel Adams Boston Lager started the modern craft beer revolution with a humble amber Lager to compete with the light stuff from the big guys. Notch Session Pils blazed a trail for session beer. Craft beer drinkers need to be reminded of their history and to appreciate balance and subtlety in the beers they drink.”
Richard Maletto: “I just hope sours never disappear. And they are hard to immolate. I mean, my favorite all time is New Glarus Wild Sour Ale, which will never be produced again. But I’m bummed I never knew such funk existed and I hope it stays. If I had to pick just one, man, I don’t know if I could. The Bruery Terreux has some of my all-time faves. Sour on the Rye, Tart of Darkness, Reueze.”
Brandon Morreale: “I think about beers that were around before me and have already stood the test of time. It's a boring list, probably: Allagash White, Pliny the Elder, Bourbon County, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Two Hearted, Westy, Old Rasputin.”
Elan Levin: “This is going to come as a surprise to a lot of you, but I really like Lambic. Jean Van Roy has been pretty outspoken about hardship he has experienced due to less-predictable temperatures for his brewing process, poor harvests for certain ingredients, and increased pressure on production. In most industries, when demand outstrips supply it means an entry point for ‘competitors,’ but not all Lambic is created equal, and in this legacy brewing process there is real risk of market dilution by inferior products. Boon, Drie Fontenein, Cantillon, Tilquin (shout out to my fave) will be drowned out by something more adapted to a changing climate.
We all live with the realities of ice caps melting, sea levels rising, polar bears starving, and with much less seriousness, a dwindling brewing season for some of our favorite beers. Tough times.
I just want to be able to crack a super old St Gil with my kids along a fresh Quetsche, is that so much to ask?”
Aleksi Friman: “London Pride. Because I want kids to know I'll always be there to help them. Just like London Pride never lets me down, they can always count on me. And when I eventually disappoint them, they still have London Pride.”
Michael Kiser: “Saison Dupont. This was the beer that inspired everything I do now. After my first taste at Map Room, I went to West Lakeview Liquors, bought everything I could find with the word ‘Saison,’ on it, and started writing. It’s also the inspiration behind our Coming to America series, which is basically where I express my anxiety that in the rush to drink local, we’re leaving behind the beers that set the stage, and our palates. I judge every other Saison—and most beers—by Dupont. And it’s done the same for generations of brewers. What does it mean that a young brewer’s impression of Saison is now being set by a local, American example? Well, too often it probably means they’re drinking a Saison that’s too clean and cautious. They shovel yeast by the bucketful out of an open vat at Dupont. It’s essentially a wild melange, even if it is managed to a degree. And many breweries in the States are afraid to let the beer free-rise during fermentation—and it’s in that vigorous, hot fermentation cycle where so many of the flavor and aroma compounds are being created, and others blown off. If it’s a commercial Dupont yeast strain and controlled fermentation temperature, it’s likely an overly estery, sweet-on-the-nose profile that’s too clean and silky—light years away from the grassy, dry, swirling bubblegum-and-herbaceous nose, and the prickly, slightly astringent finish of a Dupont. A lot of tiny artisanal American brewers give me hope for the future of the style. But if sales decline to the point that Dupont goes away, it’ll be the loss of a universal principle.”
Linus Hall: “I hope the next generation of beer drinker that I try to impress with Orval, Dupont, Anchor Steam, Allagash, or Alaskan Smoked Porter says, ‘That’s great! Never had those beers before, fantastic! Hey, if you like those, try these beers.’ And that person from a new generation will open my eyes to a whole new world of beers I haven’t tried yet. Yeah, that would be cool.”
Nick Naretto: “Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Sam Adams Octoberfest. Southern Tier 2XIPA. East End Monkey Boy. These beers are like old friends. Sometimes your time with them comes and goes, but you know they are always there when you need them. A lot of this has to do with the memories formed while drinking them and they probably played a bigger role in those moments than I ever realized. They have guided me and supported me over the years and I hope they do the same for generations to come.”
Quinn Thompson: “Maybe not a sexy answer, but I'm going with Summit Extra Pale Ale. When I started drinking, it was the only beer you could consistently find on tap that actually had pleasant flavor while all of my friends were drinking the cheapest and lightest beer they could find. Now, in an age of thousands of unknown beers and brands, it's still often there as a beacon of quality and consistency—and a nice break from the assault of hops found everywhere these days.”
Mat Willey: “New Belgium Le Terroir: If you close your eyes and inhale deeply anywhere within 10 feet of a tulip filled with Le Terroir, you’re immediately transported to a peach orchard that somehow sprung up in the middle of a 100-year-old woodworking shop. The herculean efforts by the pioneers at New Belgium to continually push sour ales forward deserve to stand the test of time. To me, Le Terroir is the best expression of their iron-clad commitment to that endeavor.
Sierra Nevada Pale: I’m an unabashed Ken Grossman fanboy and it doesn’t hurt that this bitter little ditty changed craft beer forever. If SNP isn’t one of the first beers my kid sneaks from the fridge, I’ve failed as a father.
Bell’s Expedition Stout: Quite possibly a perfect Russian Imperial Stout. It’s great fresh. It ages well. It’s not flashy and it never disappoints. Expedition Stout is basically the Margo Martindale of the craft beer world. In a Kardashian-obsessed society, we need more Margos in the future. Not less.
West Coast IPAs: A cop out? Probably so. But, if these newfangled juice bombs with no bitterness completely crowd out the classic West Coast IPA and our children spend their lives only drinking beer that could be served in a sippy cup, I’ll definitely be rendered a sad old man yelling at clouds. Which, in all fairness, is probably going to happen anyway. But, a world without West Coast IPAs would definitely hasten my decline.”
Jaron Wright: “Anchor Liberty Ale (a reminder of what used to be too hoppy), Lagunitas IPA (the beer that started it for me), Rodenbach (one of the cooler production facilities I have ever seen), and Rainer (the ultimate crusher). All are from areas I currently live, have visited, or have a second 'home'.”
Jim Plachy: “If I had to pick just one it would be Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout. It was the first time I ‘chased’ a beer. It took me a couple months to find it, and when I finally did, it was at a restaurant where we split the $30 bottle (that seemed so expensive at the time) three ways. The flavor split my head wide open. I couldn’t believe this was beer. I still think Bourbon County is the most complex and challenging of the Barrel-Aged Stouts, and I love what coffee does to it. With every brewery barrel aging Stouts and adding coffee to their beers, I hope this one is around for new drinkers to discover and let it weave its way into great moments in their lives, like it does mine.”
Chris Koentz: “Boulevard Saison Brett. It's an amazing beer that needs nothing more than a simple malt bill and a healthy dose of funk. It's a beer I try to introduce to everyone. I hope one day my son and I will be able to share it on a fading summer afternoon.”
Doreen Joy Barber: “Lambics were a key style on my beer journey. I remember drinking my first sours at Redlight Redlight back when they were at their original location in Winter Park and it was an absolute game changer.
I’d also like for any nippers I may be associated with (my own or others) to grow up and enjoy a nice, well-kept English Best Bitter on cask. The lack of cask-keeping knowledge, and the dearth of care at times exhibited from pub owners, managers, and staff causes a lot of heartbreak over here in Britain from brewers, drinkers, and other pub owners. It’s interesting for me that this is something this country is known for—a sort of tangible cultural heritage that is tremendously undervalued.
But if you’ve ever had what you know to be a lovely beer taste faintly of vinegar because the cask has been on for a week, it’s no damn wonder so many breweries are opting to not brew into cask any more.”
William Weber: “My first child will be born within just a few weeks, so what do I hope will be available 21 years and a month from now? Sierra Nevada Bigfoot for sure, so we can share an epic vertical that won't break the bank.”
Andrew Skelton: “Allagash White, Bell's Two Hearted, and Anchor Steam. All three of those beers were instrumental in me developing a passion for delicious beer, and I hope they will be around for generations to come.”
Suzanne Schalow: “Rob Tod, Jason Perkins, and the entire crew at Allagash have helped shape an appreciation and understanding of Belgian Beers in the U.S. Allagash White is a starter for many, and here’s hoping they will be around for many generations to come. Looking forward to seeing how their brewery and industry leadership help shape U.S. brewers making these styles tomorrow. Firestone Walker Union Jack makes the world a better place!”
Nick Yoder: “As local becomes more of a driving force, I'd hate to see imports like Urquell, Orval, St. Bernardus Abt 12, and Saison Dupont disappear. I would be sad if these classic styles were replaced by American interpretations and we lost the diversity of flavor only developed through traditions in other parts of the globe.”
Which beers do you hope to pass on to future generations of drinkers? Let us know by joining the Fervent Few and hopping into our forum of beer professionals, beer fans, and supporters of great content. We’re always looking for more great people to join the discussion!