Desert Island Beer

Having spent Thursday night at RFD and the Big Hunt, I can fully attest to the full splendor and variety of beer available.  When you can get everything from a Flemish sour, a cherry wheat, and a bacon beer, it’s hard to ever believe you would want to settle down on one beer alone. Pondering this question, therefore, represents a significant challenge for beer aficionados (some would use the word “snobs” here) who have grown so accustomed to the normal diversity of beer we’ve been presented with.

So, for the first Roundtable on J-Street, I posed the following question to all the authors:  If you were stranded on a (virtual) desert island for the rest of your life – that is to say could only drink one beer ever again – what would it be?  The answers vary widely from person to person, but all hold one similar justification; all the beers selected are described by the authors as diverse across season, mood, company, and purpose.  They are, in themselves, very diverse beers.  Each author’s responses are shown below.

X – Shipyard Export Ale

Shipyard’s flagship ale, this copper and full bodied ale has a solid maltiness, clean finish, and very subtle taste of hops.  It reaches my “desert island beer” for what many might actually term mediocre falvours and composition.  The maltiness is solid, without being distinctive.  It finishes crisply, but not perfectly; it leaves just a hint of hops as you finish.  None of these characteristics make a phenomenal beer, but they make a damn good one. With the mild characteristics, yet extremely well managed flavours, this is a beer for all seasons.  It’s kept me warm on many a cold Maine night, and I’ve enjoyed equally well on lazy summers spent lounging around a firepit.  I can’t imagine a better beer to spend the rest of my life with.

JTonzi – Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout

This extremely smooth beer is amazing.  With a strong aroma of coffee and chocolate, it prepares you for an intensely sweet flavor.  But this beer’s complexity really surprises and stimulates your taste buds.  It holds a strong malty flavor which is obviously expected, but it has a soft creamy mouthfeel, sweet mocha flavor, and just the right amount of hops to add that little bite at the end to truly round it out.
I’ll gladly drink this beer forever.

Pyzocha – Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel

I like Belgium beers and I like IPAs and this is a great combination of both of them in a Belgium Style IPA.  It is perfect for those hot summer days because it is light and refreshing but it can also keep you warm in the cold of winter with its 9% ABV.  While there are hops in the aroma and the taste they do not overwhelm the more subtle fruit flavors of the Belgium style.  It is this incredible balance of two of my favor styles that makes it my choice for a desert island beer.

Shintern1909 – Shinerbock

In all seriousness, I’m called Shintern for a reason. Sure, I have branched out to other beers over the years (Brooklyn Summer and Zeigenbock are tied for my second favorites), but I have loved Shiner Bock since my first taste. Despite its dark color, it is not a heavy beer, and it’s one of the most refreshing beers on a hot summer day. I can and have easily gone through several nights in a stretch where Shiner was the only beer; well, at least until RFD ran out of stock. Basically, It has been my go-to beer since, um… I started drinking.

Of course, I am biased since I grew up in Texas, but that is the other reason to choosing Shiner Bock — I have a glut of memories that are Shiner-related and will keep me sane until I create drinking buddy out of a volleyball: having a Shiner with my sister while watching UT football, an infamous house-party in college, floating down the river in Texas, my birthday parties in D.C. (only bars with Shiner), game nights in 2006 at Rhodeside, eating delicious BBQ, packing Shiners in my luggage to London, asking my mother to pack Shiners in her luggage to London, being branded “Shintern” by my D.C. friends, and the natural continuation of the following story. My father was indifferent to beer because he didn’t really like Pearl (another Texas beer, which I like, especially when it’s $1 at a bar), which was the only beer he knew while growing up because it was the only one my grandfather drank. Then my dad had a Miller Lite and fell in love. Now, I never really hated Miller Lite or beer, but with Shiner, it was love at first sip. The cycle continues – at least it would if I get off the damn island and someone creates a better beer than Shiner Bock (the latter is highly unlikely).

Samdinning- Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA

No beer leave’s me as consistently satisfied as Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA.  My inevitable reaction, from the first sip to the last, is disbelief that I don’t drink a beer this good more often.  Unlike many other delicious options that have a “wow” effect, Dogfish is a beer for all occasions.  In any one moment it may not be your first choice, but it’s beauty is that it spans seasons, moods, and beer cultures in such a way as to never disappoint.

That’s what we came up with, how about you?


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3 responses

  1. Shintern1909

    I hear Dr Boozenstein’s island drink (because it is not beer) is Smirnoff Ice, but he fails to realize that there wouldn’t be a bro there to ice.

    August 9, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    • drboozenstein

      A good cry is just as good as a good beer sometimes.

      August 14, 2010 at 8:56 am

  2. Berkshire Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest Lager –
    I’m sure many a time us beer nerds have pondered this question. I usually attack it as a long term endevor: while I love hoppy and smoked beers, the idea of drinking them for the rest of my forseeable life — or until Gilligan and the skipper (or preferably Ginger) find me– is a bit daunting. So I think something a bit more balanced is in order. Marzens immediately come to mind as a balanced style that I am a fan of. BBC version is able to fine that sweet spot of being balanced and still bold. It is much more robust than your typical American Oktoberfest and certainly bigger than the German pale versions they’ve been spitting out for years now in order to cater to our “Wasserbier” national tastes. It is incredibly smooth and crisp (hi, lagered nicely) and yet retains big biscuit and roasted caramel flavors. Incredible drinkablility, higher than normal ABV (no driving on deserted island right?), and my preference to malty session beers leads me to the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts for my desert island beverage of choice.

    August 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm

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