Ten beers that will make you a man -- if they don't kill you first
You're a man, so by definition, everything you do must be manly, right?
There are hundreds of beers out there to choose from, lining the liquor store shelves and bar taps like kids waiting to get picked for a game of recess football. But only a very few of these beers can change the game. The following are the beers that have the power to actually transform you from a boy into a man.
Fred Hair of the Dog Brewing, Portland, Oregon This is a beer so tough that they just called it Fred. Jacked up at 10 percent alcohol by volume and loaded with ten hops varieties, Fred's maker says he packed the entire world into this beer, not to mention 65 international bittering units (IBUs). And Fred's not the type of beer to just come when you call: you'll have to go get Fred, either by plane, train, car or on horseback -- if that's how you gallop. Why? Because Hair of the Dog Brewing is located under a bridge on a dead-end street on the shady side of Portland. Directions? I won't give them to you -- because you weren't going to ask anyway, were you?
Smoked Porter Alaskan Brewing, Juneau, Alaska Do your flannel shirts smell like woodsmoke even after she's washed them twice? Do you clean your fingernails with the point of a Swiss Army knife? (Do you clean your fingernails at all?) Are chainsaws for pussies who can't handle a saw and an ax? Yeah? Then maybe you're ready for an Alaskan Smoked Porter, a beer that is forged each year inside the smoke of a fire so huge it has to be doused with an entire iceberg.
Ten FIDY Oskar Blues, Longmont, Colorado This is a beer so big that Oskar Blues only sells it in four packs. They figure you can't handle six -- if you can handle even one. Dark, thick and pungeant, Ten FIDY pours more like 10w50 than 10w40 motor oil, and if you don't know the difference, then you don't drive a big enough rig to need this beer after work anyway, Granny.
120 Minute IPA Dogfish Head Brewing, Milton, Delaware Sixty minutes? That's not why she's with you. Ninety minutes? Only on a bad day. No, you're a 120-minute man, and that's why you need a beer that can last that long, too. One of the highest-alcohol IPAs made in the United States (18-20 percent ABV), 120 Minute also flirts with a hop count so high (120 IBUs) that it tests the human threshold for bittering sensitivity. So if you're limp afterward, you'll know why.
Mephistopheles' Stout Avery Brewing, Boulder, Colorado Is this a beer, or is it the godforsaken bastard of a bottle of pirate's rum and the devil himself? Actually, it's just beer, but if you try to drink it like one, it will raise you up and knock you to the ground faster than you can pray to God for foregiveness. To make it, Avery's brewers had to summon their evil powers of demonry. Otherwise they wouldn't have been able to shove this much black malt and hops into a tiny little 12-ounce container. At 15 percent alcohol by volume and 107 IBUs, you're bartender will try to serve it to you in a shot glass. Make sure to ask for the whole pint.
Raging Bitch Flying Dog Brewing, Frederick, Maryland Sure, you've partied. And, yeah, you might have been bounced from a bar or two -- but if you think you've got an anti-establishment streak, try this beer on for size. Not only does it unconventionally combine Belgian yeasts with American hops, but its bad name and worse attitude got it kicked out of the entire state of Michigan. And the in-your-face label on the bottle was designed by Ralph Steadman, the artist who partied with one of our favorite anti-establishmentarians, Hunter S. Thompson. Screw you, Michigan.
Consecration Russian River Brewing, Santa Rosa, California Your Facebook profile says you live on the wild side. So does your account on plentyoffish.com. Your Twitter handle is @wildman. Yeah, right. Wanna get really wild? Try a beer brewed with brettanomyces yeast or lactobacillus or pediococcus bacterias. Or try all three together, as Russian River did in its latest barrel-aged masterpiece. With these three ingredients, a brewer never knows what he's going to get, and Consecration is a beer so funky that it scares cheese. Your first glass will make you doubt your manhood. So will your second. By your third, you'll be wearing a happy, crusty smile.
Bourbon Barrel Quad Boulevard Brewing, Kansas City, Missouri Most guys can drink bourbon without a grimace when they have to. Only some guys grimace when they can't drink bourbon at all. But just a very few of the toughest guys can drink 750 milliliters of 12 percent ABV beer that's been aged so long in a bourbon barrel that their rank breath smells of whiskey afterward rather than beer. Bigger, darker, stronger, Boulevard's Bourbon Barrel Quad has more -- more of everything. It's not a dubbel or a trippel. It's a quad. And the beer wasn't just mostly aged in oak bourbon barrels for a few months, it was 100 percent aged in these barrels for eight months to three freakin' years. You'll breathe fire, amigo.
The Abyss Deschutes Brewing, Bend, Oregon The Abyss doesn't care. It just keeps winning medals and awards, but do you know what it does with all that hardware? The Abyss melts it down in the fires of hell, pounds it on a blazing anvil and recrafts it into the sledgehammer that it will hit you over the head with, Missy. At 11 percent ABV, this immeasurably dark beer tastes like molasses, wood, licorice and the soul of mankind. Deschutes claims on its website that the Abyss pairs well with caramelized onions and cream cheese on pepper crackers. Bullshit! The Abyss pairs better with the nine horsemen of the Apocalypse riding steeds made of granite. Enjoy.
Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Great Divide Brewing, Denver, Colorado Having trouble waking up this morning? Maybe you should have "got" last night when the gettin' was good. Well, everyone makes mistakes. It takes a man to make them right. Pop a bottle of Espresso Oak Aged Yeti to clear away those cobwebs. Then make a heaping mess of bacon and eggs for you and whoever ended up in your bed. The roasted-coffee flavors should ease your headache and the vanilla oak could settle your stomach. But if they don't, the 9.5 percent alcohol content will soothe the pain. Enjoy one with the sunrise.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.