Dogfish Head Punkin Ale The fall season brings so much to enjoy—excitement over the impending Halloween holiday, cooler weather for us Las Vegans and, most important, an abundance of seasonal brews.
Pumpkin ale is just one of the seasonal varieties offered each autumn, and by the looks of the shelves this year, microbreweries and large beer companies have discovered the harmony of hops, barley and this favorite squash.
My pumpkin beer of choice is Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale. The brewers who brought you Raison D’Être (“reason to be” in French) have crafted something just as good here: Brewed with pumpkin meat, spices and organic brown sugar, this full-bodied brown ale is the perfect, often difficult to achieve, balance of beer and fruit. —Mark Adams
Deschutes’ Mirror Mirror Barleywine I should start by saying I am not currently drinking this, primarily because I cannot find it. A buddy and I stumbled upon this heavenly beverage more than a year ago while on a beer hunt at Lee’s Discount Liquor. Not having had many barleywines in my life, I was intrigued. After sampling it and its 11-percent kick, I felt like my taste in beer had completely changed. Now I’m just pissed off. No local stores have it in stock, and I’m still talking about it to anyone who will listen. Turns out, it’s had an extremely limited release, and the next batch won’t be available until early 2011, so if you see it on the shelves, remember—save me a bottle! —Ken Miller
- 12-pack pairings
- At Weekly, we’re all about cheap. Oh, sure, some might be into a fine vintage or high-end tequila, but give us a suitcase of Lucky Lager anytime. And just as some would pair a fine vintage with, say, a chateaubriand, these beers have their food buddies as well.
- • Miller Lite + Chicken wings, preferably hot, with some steak fries
- • PBR + Vegan pizza, side of hummus (maybe some baba ghanoush)
- • Bud + A Filet-O-Fish, extra tartar sauce
- • Michelob Light + Hamburger Helper
- • Busch + That three-day-old mystery sandwich in the back of your fridge
- • Rolling Rock + Spam
- • Keystone + Cap’n Crunch
Stone’s Ruination IPA On a visit to Cincinnati last weekend, I found myself in a giant beer warehouse, packed with brands from around the world. I scanned row upon row until it finally sunk in: No Stone. And just as the label for the Escondido, California, brewery’s hoppiest India Pale Ale promises, I’ve been ruined for most everything but Ruination for months.
“So called because of the immediate ruinous affect on your palate,” the bottle warns. “The moment after the first swallow, all other food and drink items suddenly become substantially more bland.”
Stone’s original IPA has the hops to hang in my fridge, too. But when I need that extra surge of beautiful bitterness, only the Ruination will do. Just one more reason to live near the West Coast. —Spencer Patterson
Coors Light To beer snobs, there’s no such thing as a Silver Bullet. Might as well not exist. Well, I’m here to defend Coors Light—the beer of my youth. At the softball fields where I spent many a summer evening watching my old man, it was always the beverage of choice. After the games, I’d sneak a few pulls from his can, and the taste still brings me back.
Now I drink Coors Light for the same reason he probably did: Price. With state unemployment topping 14 percent and 401(k)s in the tank, it is a relief to know that 20 bucks buys you a case the size of a small A/C unit. Pairs well with more Coors Light. —John P. McDonnall
Black Velvet I like to eat my beer with a fork. As someone who rarely drinks beer, if I’m going to, it needs to be a real beer—the dark, dry Irish stout Guinness. On the contrary, I’m also a fan of cider and generally prefer it to beer. Hence my ultimate choice, the Black Velvet at Yard House, which combines Wyder’s Pear Cider and Guinness Stout for a layered blend that’s the best of both worlds. —Deanna Rilling