The Christmas season is coming and you probably have beer lovers on your list. If you are a kind and generous soul, you would probably like to please the beer palates on your list. If you’re in the 99%, you probably want to do it without breaking the bank. You don’t want to risk it all on one beer. This post will give you 6 beers. If you buy a sixpack of each, you can shuffle them into sixpacks of variety and delight.
All these beers are available by the sixpack, and they are chosen to cross a broad spectrum of flavors. All of them are great beers; a beer snob will be impressed with your good taste, while a more novice beer drinker will be educated by the sampling. All can be bought here in Kansas City, probably at Gomer’s or Royal or Lukas. Finally, each of these beers comes in sixpacks. That ruled out many great beer in champagne style bottles or 4 packs, but my goal here is to make this easy on you.
I don’t necessarily recommend just picking out 6 beers from the “build your own 6 pack” station that you might find at some liquor stores. Too often, that is where old, out-of-date bottles go to spoil.
Oh, yeah, and they’re all imports. America makes the best beer in the world these days, but Christmas is about tradition, so the latest and greatest hop bomb from the Northwest just didn’t feel right. Dickens probably tasted each of these beers.
1. Warsteiner Lager. This is just a great example of the German pilsner style. It’s dry and crisp. It goes with all foods, and it’s one of the classic beers of Europe. Warsteiner is also popular enough in America that you won’t get stuck with a sixpack which has been rotting on a shelf for 2 or 3 years.
2. Bass Ale. I have been reading about India Pale Ale lately, and have renewed my appreciation for Bass Ale. It is a beautiful color, with a minerally dryness and a complex English yeast character. Its red triangle was England’s first trademark, and it appears in a painting by Renoir. Tasting it, you will notice a woody, herbal note to the hop flavor. Also, the hops are enhanced by the water characteristic of where it is brewed. If you have a sensitive palate, you might detect a bit of butterscotch in the flavor. You can’t get more classic than Bass ale.
3. Einbecker Ur Bock Dunkel. Smooth German malt, fills your glass with a caramelly goodness balanced with just enough German hops to prevent it from tasting like candy. There’s something rich and elemental about this beer.
4. Spaten Oktoberfest. More German malt, this time in a festival beer with a bit more hops and a bit lighter mouthfeel than the Dunkel.
5. Guinness Draft. The classic Irish beer now comes with nitrogen “widgets” in the can or bottle to give that creamy head. There are plenty of people who argue that Guinness should only be enjoyed on tap in Ireland, and I agree that is best, but it’s pretty darned good at home, too. (There are several versions of Guinness, and if you can find the Foreign Extra Stout, get that instead. It doesn’t have the nitrogen gimmick, but it is a wonderful bottle of beer.)
6. Fuller’s London Porter. Dark brown, rich, creamy and complex, don’t serve this one ice cold. Pour it at a chilly cellar temp and you’ll be rewarded with the complexity of dark fruit and molasses flavors. It’s a rich, winter beer, and you can bet that the recipient of your beer sampler six pack will be toasting you fondly when he or she drinks it.