Beer has been affected by many different regions of the world. Germany and what is now the Czech Republic gave us lagers and pilsners, which have now dominated the beer landscape. England is the home of traditional ales, the most famous creations being the porter, stout and IPA. Belgian styles have never been as ubiquitous as the ones just mentioned, but it is impossible not to mention them whenever one is talking of the major beer nations. However, the current beer powerhouse has to be the United States, from the prospective of both the heavyweights (Bud, Coors, et al) to the genre-bending micros (Dogfish Head, Stone, Rogue, for example). The influence of the States is immeasurable, but it is safe to call it the most exciting brewing nation right now and the one probably making the best beer. (This is by no means scientific or without holes, but the Ratebeer Top 50 reveals domination by American breweries.)
For me, this creates a uniquely high level of expectation when trying American beers that everything will be bigger, better, bolder. When enjoying a bottle of the Southern Tier 2xIPA my first thought, “Well, this is good but it doesn’t compare to the Black Oak 10 Bitter Years.” The beers are fairly similar in flavour profiles, with the 2xIPA offering a little more resin and bitterness, but not oakiness. (There might have been a cat pee aroma, but I’m looking after my parents cat so it could have been actual cat pee I was smelling. Gross, I know.) It was a pretty good epiphany moment – our Ontario brewers can make some seriously kick-ass beers. They aren’t on the same level as a lot of American micros right now, but it feels like we’re on the cusp of something.
Today: 355mL. Year-to-date: 146.72L.