I have always enjoyed the myriad of beer options available in Portland, but until now have never really formalized a list of my absolute favorites. Below is that list, and I feel like it’s constantly changing. I think beer is a lot like music—everyone is entitled to their own opinion and likes what they like, but someone has to have better taste than others, right? Just kidding, but below are my favorite beers of all time, ranked from 10 down to the big dog.
Curious to hear if you agree/completely disagree with the list I’ve come up with, and what are/aren’t your favorites as well.
And without further ado..
#10: Mac and Jacks African Amber: American Amber-
When I think “best enjoyed at a sporting event or live concert type beer”, this is my go to. Super tasty malts and grain flavors make this beer stand out from all the other ambers I’ve tried, along with an incredibly delicious aftertaste.
#9: Newcastle Brown: English Brown Ale-
How did this beer make the list you ask? This was the first beer I ever REALLY liked. Again—I typically go for the smooth and sweeter beers, and this beer especially fits that profile. Easy to drink and found everywhere, and can be enjoyed in a summer or winter setting.
#8: Widmer 2010 Brrrbon: Winter Warmer-
Good thing this beer is super expensive and not readily available, or I’d drink it far too often. It’s basically candy beer with high alcohol content. It doesn’t even technically taste like a beer since the bourbon taste is so high, but I don’t consider that a bad thing. At all.
#7: Russian River Pliny the Elder: Imperial IPA-
One of the most famous and hardest to find IPAs, this beer has the biggest citrus profile I’ve ever found in an IPA, but it’s incredible at how well balanced it is with the hop profile mixed in. I can see why people would rank this the #1 beer in the world.
#6: Deschutes The Abyss: American Imperial Stout-
Probably the most complex and mysterious beer on the list. I’ve enjoyed this beer at the time of purchase, after a 6 month aging, and at 1 year. All of them tasted different, but were amazing for different reasons. My personal favorite was aging the beer for 6 months, as it was the perfect blend of sweet, sugarary chocolate and black licorice. It’s basically a beer milkshake of everything you’d want in a stout as far as consistency goes.
#5: Troegs Nugget Nectar: American Amber/Red-
Umm.. Had this beer for the first time a few weeks ago, and this beer alone makes me want to move to the East Coast. It’s unlike any beer you’ve ever had. It’s like if an IPA and Amber had a baby, then threw in some mysterious spices for good measure.
#4: Oskar Blues Ten Fidy: Russian Imperial Stout-
My favorite stout, by a mile. What makes it so unique is how thick it is. Pours as thick and as dark as motor oil, and lives up to its namesake by delivering 10.5% alcohol content. I’ve found it’s best enjoyed after aging for 6 months, as it releases intense chocolate, molasses, mocha, and brown sugar flavors.
#3: Green Flash Imperial IPA: Imperial IPA-
The ultimate IPA for hop heads. When I think hoppy beers, I think Green Flash Imperial. Basically Pine Needles in a bottle with 9% alcohol content. Sooooo good.
#2: Lagunitas Maximus: Imperial IPA-
This beer has quickly climbed my list of favorites, and rightfully so due to its refreshing flavor. It’s everything an Imperial IPA should be—hoppy, malty, right amount of carbonation and lacing, but what really puts this beer over the top is the citrus notes to balance the hops. Extremely easy to drink and smooth, and pairs with almost anything. Special beer, but easy to find!
#1: Oskar Blues Gordon/G’Knight: Imperial Red-
A buddy of mine introduced me to this beer in 2009, and I’ve never looked back. Have never found anyone that didn’t like it, regardless of what style you like. Best way to describe it: a perfectly balanced red IPA with an insane hop and malt profile that drinks smoother and creamier than any other beer on the planet. It’s also a heavy hitter at 8%.
Victory Hop Wallop: Imperial/Double IPA-
I’ve never had a bad beer by Victory, but this one is their best. Very well balanced IPA that is not too bitter, not too light.
Laurelwood Workhorse IPA: American IPA-
Best Oregon IPA, in my opinion. Great hops, but great malts make this beer extremely enjoyable. They use hops no one else does but recently ran out, thus they aren’t producing the beer at the moment. Hopefully it’ll be back soon!
Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale: Pumpkin Ale-
Tried a few pumpkin beers in 2011, but this one took the, well, “pumpkin”. Tastes just like pumpkin pie. No joke.
Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale: American Amber-
This amber narrowly missed the top 10. Give it a try and you’ll see why.
Victory Storm King: Russian Imperial Stout-
One of the better stouts I’ve had in the last year. Great variance of flavors, but more carbonated that I would like.
Hale’s Cream Stout (on Nitro)- Imperial Stout-
Creamy by definition, this beer doesn’t taste like a true stout, but that’s not a bad thing at all. Lots of banana, chocolate, but also minor bitterness make for a really interesting experience.
Worst Beers Ever:
Keystone Light: I can’t say it’s the worst as it has zero flavor, but that also means it can’t be the best. Thus, it’s the best/worst beer ever.
Trader Joe’s Bavarian Style Hefeweizen: Really hard to stomach. Found it tasted better at room temperature, but this was way too sour/bitter for my taste.
Gubna: The most over the top beer I’ve ever had. Tried it 3 times with friends, poured 75% down the drain each tasting. Way too much alcohol, hops, and metallic taste make it extremely unbalanced. Shame on you Oskar Blues.
Steel Reserve: This beer is by far the worst that’s ever touched my taste buds. Don’t need to say much here—if you’re drinking this, it’s not for the flavor.