Still looking for that perfect Father’s Day gift? Randy Mosher picks his top beer selections for a custom six-pack in this excerpt from Beer for All Seasons.
Dads come in all sizes, shapes, and tastes. This list suits a father who is curious about the passion for beer that’s taking over his son’s or daughter’s life and wants a little taste.
A Really Fine Pilsner
If you’re in North America, skip the imports — they’re all stale by the time you get them. Instead, pick a home-grown version such as Victory Prima Pils, Lagunitas Pils, or Firestone Walker Pivo Hoppy Pils. Each offers pure golden malt and fresh Euro-hop character.
An English Pale Ale or ESB
These are just different names for the same thing, but if you’re getting an American-brewed version, an ESB is likely to be a bit less hoppy. Try Fuller’s ESB, Marston’s Pedigree, Left Hand Sawtooth, Firestone Walker DBA (Double Barrel Ale), or Southern Tier Harvest Ale, but there are many, many other fine choices.
This creamy, lightly spiced wheat brew originating in Belgium is as different as it is easy to love. My current favorite Belgian wit is St. Bernardus, formulated with the aid of witbier legend Pierre Celis. Or try Allagash for a great American version that sticks pretty close to the original.
Belgian Strong Golden Ale or Tripel
While the style guidelines tease these strong yet easy-drinking wonders apart, there is barely a hair’s breadth of difference between the two styles (tripel allows a bit more color and complexity). Duvel is the widely imitated classic, and still one of the best. Many choices: Victory Golden Monkey, North Coast PranQster, Westmalle Tripel, Delirium Tremens, and more. Be sure to toss in the special glass if there is one.
There are many possible interpretations of this broad style. English versions tend to be light on the palate and barely hopped, with a nice toasty nose, like a slice of bread fresh from the toaster. American interpretations run the gamut from light and toasty to deeply toasty-roasty, and they may be pretty hoppy too. Try Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, Avery Ellie’s Brown, Bell’s Brown, Brooklyn Brown, Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale, and others.
American Amber Ale
These are a bit of a throwback to the early days of craft brewing. As “Buffalo” Bill Owens put it: “We had a dark and a light, but what were we gonna call the one in the middle? Amber.” The style tends to be a bit rich and caramelly, with a touch of hops for balance. Try Bell’s Amber, Anderson Valley Boont Amber, Full Sail Amber, or, for just a touch of Belgian character, New Belgium Fat Tire.