This post is not getting resurrected because it is exceptionally written, but because the question still intrigues me. I’m not sure my thoughts have progressed from March 22nd, 2010, but I still think the question is worth asking.
As the thermometer has slowly creeped up through March, I’ve noticed that my beer consumption has been increasing more exponentially (and if I was a math whiz, I’m sure I could come up with some graph to prove it). My theory behind this is that with the warmer weather comes beers that aren’t as heavy as imperial stouts and barleywines, so it is easier to have two beers in a sitting. Or one really large one, like the Gouden Carolus Easter Beer or a corked bottle of Unibroue La Fin du Monde. While this is technically a tripel, it tastes like an amalgam of styles – part dry and spicy tripel, part sweet and yeasty weiss. The beginning green apple and citrus flavours don’t last long until a tidal wave of spices take over (clove, coriander, yeast). Add in a lot of hops to dry out the finish and you have a modern classic. Lots of tiny carbonation bubbles and some warming alcohol add to the overall effect of the beer. Perfect all year round.
A question to all the beer geeks out there: what are your criteria for a “modern classic” beer? For me, it has to be a craft beer made post-1960 (the bellwether being Anchor Steam). It should also represent a significant moment in the craft beer scene (like the Samuel Adams Lager. Ed. note: Really? Not the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale?). And obviously is has to be an exceptional beer. From the Unibroue stable of beers, I think La Fin du Monde and Maudite are a package deal of modern classics. They fit my requirements outlined, but they have also altered the business relationship between craft brewers and the macro conglomerates. Being owned by Sapporo has helped Unibroue with international distribution and they are still making the same amazing beers.
Do you have different standards? What are your modern classics? The only criteria I might argue for is that the beer should be widely available, but I would be willing to listen to someone argue that a particular beer is the Velvet Underground of the beer world.