It’s impossible to try all the craft beer on the market, and taking a chance on an unknown label can be a crapshoot. To help you out on your next trip to the beer store, we asked Steamworks Brewing Co.’s head brewer, Ken Martin, what he currently has packed in his sixer. From regional IPAs to a cask-aged Flemish Red, Martin’s sixer is as diverse as it is delicious. We’ve enjoyed quite a few pints from the Steamworks taps, and one thing is certain: We trust his taste.
Longfin LagerBallast Point Brewing, San Diego, CA“This is a classic German Helles-style lager. The light malt flavor and aroma is derived from the generous proportion of Pilsner malt that is perfectly balanced by a subtle noble hop (bitter tang) character. It’s a great easy-drinking, light lager.”
Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse DunkelSpaten-Franziskaner-Brau, Germany“This is also a classic style. The Bavarian dark wheat is a predominently yeast-driven beer. This particular strain of yeast, along with warm fermentation temperatures, allow for the esters (fruity) and phenols (spicy) to come out, resulting in a beer with flavors and aromas of banana and clove. The accompanying dark bready malt character makes it a perfect balance.”
Bitch Creek American Brown AleGrand Teton Brewing Co., Victor, ID“This is where I got my start in the brewing industry. We launched this beer during that time, so it has some sentimental value for me, but for all other beer drinkers, it provides a complex malt bill with flavors like toasted bread, with a pronounced American hop flavor and aroma.”
Fishwater Double IPATelluride Brewing Co., Telluride “This delicious hop bomb tastes and smells like fresh picked American hop varietals, adding pronounced notes of citrus fruit and piney essence. It’s nicely balanced with a strong malt backbone and at 8.5 percent, the beer gives a warming effect to its enjoy-er.”
Duchesse de BourgogneBrouwerij Verhaeghe, Belgium“This unique beer is a Flemish Red from the Flanders region of Belgium. The process involves blending young beer with beer aged in oak casks, which gives this mahogany-hued ale a blend of tart lactic acidity with a touch of an acetic (the bacteria used in vinegar production) character. While this description may turn some folks off, I urge you to give it a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
Chocolate Rain The Bruery, Placentia, CA “This bourbon barrel-aged Imperial stout is an overindulgence by any measure. First of all, its ABV weighs in at over 19 percent. That tells you that it’s a huge beer. With the addition of vanilla beans and cacao nibs blending with the chocolate, roasted, and caramel malt qualities, this is more of a meal than a beer.”