Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Style: American IPA
ABV: 6.2 percent
When you work around craft beer, the most common question people ask is, "So, what's your favorite beer?" I'm never able to answer -- I freeze up like I've been stumped at the spelling bee and usually mumble something unintelligible about imperial stouts. To me, it's an impossible question. There are more than 2,700 breweries operating in the U.S. alone, many cranking out dozens of different brands. How can I pick just one?
My buddy Patrick has a better answer. His favorite beer of all time, he says, was the New Belgium Fat Tire he pulled from the still-moving bottling line during a tour of NB's packaging facility. He recalls in detail the moisture-beaded bottle; the cap, placed just seconds before, jumping off the glass lip with a combo pop-hiss; the flavors of the liquid clean and pure as diamonds. I was next to him that day and can testify that no Fat Tire since has tasted as sweet and crisp. It was sublime.
Point being: Where you drink a beer matters. Freshness and atmosphere can impact flavor, or your perception of it, as much as any other outside force. Freshness and atmosphere, however, are controllable.More »