There are certain beers that can transcend all boundaries of taste and preference. These ales are few and far between, but if you are lucky enough to find one, you will be rewarded with an unforgettable culinary treat. What follows is a list of 10 ales that we feel will provide beer lovers a level of satisfaction only associated with a world-class, “transcendant” brew. Enjoy!
1. Westvleteren 12 (Belgian).
We kick off the list with perhaps the most acclaimed beer in history. Brewed by Belgian Trappist monks since 1838, Westvleteren 12 sets the bar for quality and taste. If you are fortunate enough to try a glass of 12, you will be greeted by a, “nutty, yeasty aroma and taste,” with, “hints of coconut and caramel,” according to Westvleteren’s brewers. Because the beer is rarely distributed outside of Belgium, the beer is both expensive and hard to find, but specialty shops may carry the beer seasonally.
2. Russian River “Pliny the Younger” (IPA).
With a 100/100 rating in all categories from RateBeer, Russian River’s flagship triple IPA boasts strong, hoppy overtones with notes of citrus and a smooth finish. The beautiful orange color of the beer adds to its legendary reputation as one of the rarest and most sought after beers in the world. It’s only available for two weeks from the first Friday in February, so get ready to jump on the opportunity when you can!
3. Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA.
Known for their continuous hopping process, Dogfish Head is world renowned for their amazing IPAs. Their 90 minute Ale is perhaps the most universally lauded of the bunch, and it certainly lives up to its lofty reputation. Balancing a whopping 10% ABV with a sweet, fruity palate, Dogfish Head’s 90 minute IPA is sure to please almost all IPA lovers (maybe a few skeptics, too!).
4. Stone Russian Imperial Stout.
One of the more ubiquitous companies on this list, Stone Brewing has been a well-known staple in the beer community. While Stone’s Russian Imperial isn’t for those on a diet, boasting a whopping 315 calories per serving, this flagship brew lets you savor every drop, and offers hints of berries, coffee, and anise. Better yet, you can find it at almost any retailer!
5. Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA. We couldn’t leave Firestone Walker’s most popular brew off of this list, simply because it’s one of the best brews that you can find. Offering a plethora of bold, citrusy flavor, combined with a sweet, mellow finish, Union Jack strikes a rare balance between drinkability and richness. With a 99/100 rating from RateBeer, 2 awards from the Great American Beer Festival, Union Jack is a can’t miss.
6. Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a good doppelbock. Aged for over 6 months, Celebrator offers a rich, aromatic palate with hints of chocolate and a malty, sweet finish. Celebrator’s bold, caramel color is also aesthetically pleasing, and is sure to entice beer drinkers of all preference. As an added bonus, anyone who buys a bottle of Celebrator gets a small plastic toy to go with it!
7. Mack and Jack’s African Amber.
Yes, this beer is a household name for most beer drinkers, but we’re going to include it on this list anyways. Why? Not only is Mack and Jack’s Amber one of the best “social beers” out there (it’s an excellent beer for a reasonable price), but it also boasts a floral palate with rich, hoppy overtones and a light, malty finish. This beer is ideal for those who prefer a lighter beer that doesn’t skimp on taste.
8. Trappistes Rochefort 10 (Belgian).
Trappist monks in Rochefort have been brewing since 1595, and continue to produce beer that’s reflective of their rich history. Like Westvleteren 12, this beer boasts a near perfect taste and aroma, and is suitable for anyone who desires a good “sipping” beer. With a pitch black color balanced with notes of cheese, apple, and cinnamon, Rochefort 10 is yet another Belgian ale that has impressed beer aficionados from around the world.
9. Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA.
Consistently a favorite among parties and social events, Torpedo offers an amazing taste to match its popularity. With hints of citrus and tropical fruit, combined with a light and colorful body, Torpedo gives everyone the taste and drinkability they crave to kick off their night.
10. 3 Fonteinen Zenne y Frontera.
This list simply wouldn’t be complete without a lambic (“fruit beer”), and it’s only suitable to include 3 Fonteinen to round out the list. Unparalleled in its acclaim, 3 Fonteinen is aged for nearly a year in Cherry casks, which give the brew a bouquet rich in fruity and nutty overtones, and a sour yet balanced finish. Check this beer out if you’re interested in something a little different!
Hopefully, this list will give you the inspiration you need to select the beer of your dreams. No matter what type of beer you prefer, you should give these Ales a try, because they have proven to connoisseurs around the world that they are the best of the best. Happy hunting!