Beer Wednesday: Our benchmarks

These beers are all at least OK and possibly good depending on your tastes and preferences. If you care about any of our other posts regarding beer, such as the Ballast Point - Victory at Sea or the Stone Ruination IPA, then you have surely tried some of these beers as you have explored the spectrum to identify your beer tastes. If you consider yourself a beer drinker, but don't care about those posts and have never tried any of the above beers, then you surely drink weak macro brews whose only purpose is to deliver alcohol from an aluminum can to your blood stream. We'll give these a 10 on the chugability scale and a 1 on the taste scale. It would be an insult to good beer to even consider rating these on any other scale.

As for the beers pictured...a few initial thoughts before opening it up to the floor for multiple opinions. (If there is any defining characteristic here at FIWK, it's multiple opinions.)

-Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is my go to beer in a restaurant without a great beer selection. Decent hops and taste as reflected in its 5.6% ABV. For me, the hoppier the better and in the absence of an IPA, this does just fine.
-Hefeweizen, both Widmer and Pyramid, is my other go to if I'm in a different mood. Unfiltered wheat beers provide a great taste unlike most ales or lagers. Wheats tend to be fairly sweet and many times you will see breweries add a fruit flavor to a wheat beer, such as Sam Adam Cherry Wheat.

What is your go to beer?

-Killian's Irish Red is the standard red to which all other reds are compared. A good solid beer with few weaknesses (so liked by many) but without any component that stands out.
-Foster's must be accompanied by an Australian accent when drinking it at a party.
-Newcastle is the standard nut brown ale. A favorite of several people I know is a VERY smooth drink to go along with a great taste, which many times seems paradoxical when drinking beer. Beers tend to be smooth (easy to drink) or have a lot of flavor and complexity. Newcastle solves the paradox.
-Red Stripe...Hooray Beer! This is the attitude you need to enjoy this fun Jamaican beer.
-Guinness is the standard of standards. Every time someone tries a new stout or porter, they immediately compare it to Guinness. Pretty high on the chugability scale which is important for Irish Car Bombs. Very smooth and flavorful, it also has a widget at the bottom that helps the carbonation and the beautiful head. Seriously, who can't have fun with a beer that has a widget at the bottom?
-Heineken is what a lager is supposed to taste like. Doesn't "lager" just sound like a Dutch word?
-Corona was the only beer served at our wedding because while it is no one favorite beer, no one won't drink Corona, especially when you have the limes to go with them. When you're in Vegas and the only beers they have are Bud, Coors, Miller and Corona, you go with the Corona because it will be easy to drink, have a nice sweet and light flavor to it and you can finish it before the cocktail waitress comes around again.
-Bass is to the ale, like Heineken is the the lager...sort of. It's an ale that is never going to confuse you and make you think it's something else. It's a normal ale in a world where, in general (IMO) ales tend to be better than lagers.


  1. Thankfully I live in San Francisco because I think 90% of the bars in the Yay have New Belgium's Fat Tire, which is my go-to beer. As I was telling Royce, my taste buds are rather stunted, so I have no clue why I love it so much, but I do. If a drinking establishment doesn't have a Fat Tire, I'll grab either a Newcastle, Heineken, or Guinness (Black & Tan if they have Bass as well)

  2. You develop your taste buds by comparing Fat Tire to other beers. What do you like about Fat Tire that isn't quite present in Newcastle?

  3. Did you not read the part about my taste buds not working? I can't really tell you if things are bitter, sweet, sour, etc.

    Sad, I know...

  4. Ok...let's get really simple talking to a kindergartner...why do you like Fat Tire more than Newcastle? Is it cheaper? Gets you drunk easier? Easier to drink? Easier to drink many?

  5. I'm guessing his answer is "because it tastes better" - let's see if I'm right...

  6. Aww thanks Scott, I appreciate that. Also I'm sorry that Aaron busted out the "let me talk to you like you're five" routine on you.

    Anyway I love everything about this post, it's immediately one of my favorite on FIWK.

    My own list of quaffable, available beers is very similar. However it's shorter - I would exclude Foster's (which sucks), Red Stripe and Bass (meh), and Widmer's (replaced by Blue Moon).

    I think the three key mass market beers for deliciousness, for me, are Newcastle, Corona, and Sierra Nevada. They represent three different styles depending on your mood/food, and most people like at least two of the three. I think a close secondary level is Heineken, Guinness, and Pyramid; everyone knows them and has an opinion on them. The tertiary level is Killian's, Blue Moon, and Fat Tire, which I don't think as many people have had, but each of those brings a mass-market deliciousness to a particular style.

    My own personal list? If there's nothing unique and interesting that catches my eye, I typically go for something by Alaskan Brewing when available. Their Amber Ale, for instance, is to me a better Newcastle. It has more smoothness AND more flavor, although the flavor is less of the sweet and nutty Newcastle nut brown style and a little more toasted, malty, and rich. Which I like.

  7. Meant to ask - have any of you ever had any of Alaskan's beers?

  8. Hahaha - good Office reference (don't follow the show, but that link sure was funny), and thanks for the support!

  9. Unfortunately, I have not categorized, classified and recorded every beer I have tried. I love walking into BevMo, go down the beer section, and pick a 12 pack from a brewing company I have never heard of that has2-4 different beers from said brewing company within the same 12 pack. When it comes to beer...I love variety packs.

    I remember liking a Big Sky brewing company from Montana.

  10. Great circular reference Scott. (And yes I realize it's not truly a circular reference because that would force being led back to itself, but it does start a kind of circular process.)

    and FYI...from the beers above, here's my preference in order: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, Corona, Bass, Killian's, Heineken, Red Stripe, Guinness, Newcastle, Foster's

  11. Pyramid Hefeweizen? Widmer's?

    Totally agree with you about getting 2-4 different beers from one brewery... actually that's the reason I love Alaskan - their Amber, White, and Stout are each some of the best beers in those styles I've had. That makes me a fan of "their work." I can't wait to try their Smoked Porter, Baltic Porter, and Barleywine Ale.

  12. I'll take a Pyramid or a Widmer Hefeweizen. I've never seen any place carry both (it's the beer version of the Pepsi-Coke rivalry).

    But I used Widmer as my stereotypical Hefeweizen, because Pyramid has done an decent job making me aware of other beers from the same brewery, so I consider Pyramid to be similar to Red Hook and Sam Adams. Popular (possibly mass produced) brewing companies with a variety of beers even though they are mostly know for one standard variety. Unlike Widmer, where right now I have no idea if they make any other varieties (although I would guess they do).