My Top 5 Favourite Beers

Well seeing as how my write-up on my top 5 LEAST favourite beers generated more hits and feedback than anything I had written previously (thanks for that) I thought it was only fitting to follow-up it up immediately with the other side of the story.  So I present to you my top 5 FAVOURITE beers.  Once again I encourage commentary and feedback.  Reach out to me on Twitter @towineman, comment right here on the Blog, or write to me at towineman@gmail.com.

Once again for clarification these are based on mainstream beers only.  Beers that are readily available on general list at either the Beer Store of the LCBO.  So again the beer you might have tried once as the guest tap at Bar Volo (http://blog.barvolo.com/) or C’est What (http://www.cestwhat.com/) doesn’t qualify.  Sorry @beerhunter4u I know that excludes a lot of your favourites.

So here we go… my top 5 favourite beers.

5. Guinness – http://www.guinness.com/en-ca/
Is this considered a cop out because it’s arguably the most popular beer in the world?    Regardless Guinness has to make the list.  Beyond their unmatched marketing savvy, Guinness is a wonderful beer. Many people get hung up on how dark it is in colour assuming then that it’s going to be a big heavy beer.  But it’s only 4.2%alc and it’s one of the smoothest beers around.  Plus I have had the good fortune of visiting the legendary Guinness brewery and once you have tasted a fresh pint poured for you, at the top of the Gravity Bar overloooking all of Dublin, you can’t help but place this beer on your list.

4. Sleeman Original – http://www.sleeman.ca/
Everyone has their “go to” beer.  Your first choice when you go to the Beer Store to get a standard 24.  It’s generally well priced and easy drinking.  This way you can afford to buy it repeatedly and can drink many of them in one sitting.  For me that beer is Sleeman Original.  Sure I graduated from the University of Guelph, the home of Sleeman.  Sure the brewery happened to be a frequent visit of mine and one of the best pre-drinking spots in all of Guelph.  But I stand by this beer through and through and I love it. Plus for $33.95 for 24, I challenge you to find a better deal.

3. Innis & Gunn Scotch Ale – http://www.innisandgunn.com/en/home/character.aspx
If you haven’t tried Innis & Gunn yet you are missing out.  Especially if you also enjoy Whiskey.  Innis & Gunn employs a very unique brewing process in that the beer is actually aged in used oak barrels.   American Bourbon barrels to be exact.  So the whiskey flavour is actually imparted subtly into the beer, giving a very unique and distinct flavour.  It might not be for everyone but this is certainly one of my personal favourites.

2. Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion – http://theflyingmonkeys.ca/
Did you know that Flying Monkeys Brewery was once Robert Simpson Brewery?  Talk about the successes of rebranding.  Flying Monkeys is now one of Ontario’s most successful craft brewery’s.  I love just about every one of their beers but my personal favourite is the Hoptical Illusion. Sure it’s loaded with hops and full of flavour but it’s not overwhelming so you can still enjoy a couple of these without overdoing it.  Plus it’s Ontario brewed and independently owned which I can’t lie certainly get’s it bonus points.

1. Muskoka Cottage Brewing, Mad Tom IPA – http://www.muskokabrewery.com/
At #1 we have an IPA.  By nature it is loaded with dry hops and this one doesn’t disappoint.      This is a big craft beer from a nice little micro brewery in the heart of Ontario’s luxurious Muskoka region.  For those that can’t stomach a big IPA try the Muskoka Lager or Cream Ale, both of which are great beers.  But for me it’s the IPA.  The reason it makes #1 on this list is if I am craving a beer, and I mean a beer that tastes like beer, I routinely find myself wanting the Mad Tom.  Personally I think that defines a #1 beer.

Honourable Mention:
– Lake of Bays Pale Ale
– Killkenny
– Dead Elephant
– Mickeys (yes because of the little games inside the caps)

- Mark
Follow me on Twitter: @towineman 

Top 5 Least Favourite Beers

Hey everyone likes a good countdown list right?  Well here is the first in a series of countdown lists for me.  I figured I would start off with a bit of a negative one and see if we can spark some debate.  So I present to you my top 5 least favourite beers.  Feel free to comment, argue, or just give your general thoughts right here on the blog, or reach out to me on Twitter @towineman or even send an e-mail to towineman@gmail.com.

First some clarity on this list.  I am basing this soley on mainstream beer you can buy on a regular basis available as a general list either at the beer store or the LCBO.  If I tried a local craft beer one time, and didn’t like it, that doesn’t matter… so that doesn’t make the list.  I have also factored out my general dislike for ciders and fruit flavoured beers including seasonal beers like Pumpkin Spice Ales.  Otherwise those would make up the entire list.  These are 5 everyday favourites of many people… just not me.

5. Stella Artois
How Stella became a premium brand is beyond me.  To this day I think people order it because it almost always comes in it’s own branded glass (and they are nice glasses).  Whereas if you order any other beer you have maybe a 25%-30% chance of it coming in it’s own glass.  I just find it to be watered down and overly steely, but certainly priced as though it shouldn’t be.

4. Keiths White
The only beer I can stomach that is served with an orange is Oberon, which is a very unique seasonal beer only served in Michigan for about a month a year.  Plus I am not a fan of overpowering wheat beers anyways.  So perhaps some bias on this selection.  Regardless I do not find this to be a good beer.   Once again I think people order it for the novelty of it and because it appears to be a fascinating colour.  But as we know from drinking true English Pale Ale’s or true IPA’s… colour is not everything.

3. Bud Light Lime
OK this is an exception to my ‘no fruity beer rule’ referenced in the intro.  I make the exception because this is a mainstream beer, marketed and pitched against all other beers.  However it doesn’t belong there.  I admit when Bud Light Lime first came out with the massive (and extremely smart) marketing blitz I got caught up in it.  For a couple of days I might have even been overheard saying I enjoyed a bottle or two.  The reality is it is not good.  It’s overpowering with lime flavour and amazingly underwhelming in beer flavour.

2. Budweiser
There had to be one bland, generic, corporate, everyday drinking beer on this list and for me that is Budweiser.  I know it has it’s place in the grand scheme of beer drinking, but in my opinion it is awful.  I will only drink Budweiser under two circumstances.  1. It is the only beer left where I happen to be, because someone else purchased it, and we have already drank all the other beer that was available. Or 2. I am at the Rogers Center watching my beloved Blue Jays.

1. Sam Adams Boston Lager
This one may come as a shock because Sam Adams is pretty well recognized as a quality premium beer with lots of flavour.  But I don’t get it.  I think it’s awful and unlike the rare circumstance where I will make an exception and drink Budweiser as referenced above, I can’t possibly think of a situation where I would enjoy a Sam Adams.

Honourable Mention:
– 666 Devils Pale Ale
– Busch Light
– Black Ice
– Carling
– Maudite

- Mark
Follow me on Twitter: @towineman