101 Must Taste Beers – The US Edition

By Iron Chef Leftovers

I was recently digging through some old papers and I came across a well-worn photocopy of an article that was in All About Beer Magazine, probably in 2003 (there is no date on the article) called “One Hundred and One Must –Taste Beers.” This list was a compilation of a request that the magazine sent out to a number of beer experts, so it was an interesting list – some are easily found and others are very regional. The writer of the article called this a beer “life list.” Only 41 of the 101 beers are American – the rest are from 11 countries. Of those remaining 59 beers, 21 are Belgian and 16 are German.  The list is not necessarily the 101 “best” beers, but really a list of things that you should drink because they are unique or the best example of a style of beer.

I am going to reprint the list in a couple of posts – one for the US, one for Germany and Belgium and one for everyone else, since I want to add some commentary around each section and that would make one massive post if I did not split it up.

Each country has 2 numbers – the first is the number of beers I have tried from that country and the other is the total number of beers on the list from that country. Needless to say, I have tried a lot of beer.

USA (33/41)

Beer Brewery
Liberty Ale Anchor Brewing (CA)
Alaskan Smoked Porter Alaskan Brewing (AK)
Belk’s ESB Anderson Valley Brewing (CA)
Avery IPA Avery Brewing (CO)
Hop Rod Rye Bear Republic Brewing (CA)
Monster Barleywine Brooklyn Brewing (NY)
Blonde Dopplebock Capital Brewery (WI)
Bohemian Pilsner Cleveland Chophouse (OH)
Traditional Lager Yuengling Brewing (PA)
Hampshire Special Ale Geary Brewing (ME)
Mirror Pond Pale Ale Deschutes Brewery (OR)
90-Minute IPA Dogfish Head (DE)
World Wide Stout Dogfish Head (DE)
Perseus Porter Elysian Brewing (WA)
Imperial Eclipse Stout Flossmoor Station Brewing (IL)
Crooked River ESB Frederick Brewing (MD)
Imperial Porter Full Sail Brewing (OR)
Elliot Ness Great Lakes Brewing (OH)
Gritty’s Best Bitter Gritty McDuff’s (ME)
Adam Hair of the Dog (OR)
Bells Two-Hearted Ale Kalamazoo Brewing (MI)
Live Oak Pilz Live Oak Brewing (TX)
Indica IPA Lost Coast Brewing (CA)
Steelhead Extra Pale Ale Mad River Brewing (CA)
Duck’s Breath Bitter McNeill’s Pub (VT)
Moylan’s Double IPA Moylan’s Brewing (CA)
La Folie New Belgium Brewing (CO)
Wisconsin Belgian Red New Glarus Brewing (WI)
Old Rasputin Imperial Stout North Coast Brewing (CA)
Red Seal Ale North Coast Brewing (CA)
Tupper’s Hop Pocket Ale Old Dominion Brewing (VA)
Stovepipe Porter Otter Creek Brewing (VT)
XXXXX Stout Pike Brewing (WA)
Cuvee de Tomme Pizza Port Brewing (CA)
Old Crustacean Barleywine Rogue Brewing (OR)
Pale Ale Sierra Nevada (CA)
Arrogant Bastard Ale Stone Brewing (CA)
Tabernash Weiss Tabernash Brewing (CO)
Hoppy Hour IPA The Mash House (NC)
Hop Devil Ale Victory Brewing (PA)
Raspberry Imperial Stout Weyerbacher Brewing (PA)

As far as I can tell, all of the breweries listed are still in business and I assume that they still probably make these beers. This list came out sometime before I moved to Seattle, and, at that time, I had only tried 15 of the US beers, since the list has a heavy West Coast presence and most of those beers were not available in Boston at the time (and some still are not). The GABF has also helped me try a number of the Midwestern beers that aren’t distributed to either coast.

It would be interesting to see how this list would change if it was done today, since brewing has changed so much in this country. I am sure that Pliny the Elder would be on here, and I can think of probably 10 or so more beers that could easily be on this list. For me, there are 2 beers I am surprised that I have not tried – the Pilsner from the Cleveland Chophouse and the Stout from Weyerbacher. The Weyerbacher brewery is 5 minutes from my parent’s house, and yet, I have never been there. I have been to Cleveland a number of times to visit my “brother from a different mother” and yet we have never been to the Chophouse. How have I managed that, especially since I have spent the cost of a plane ticket to have beer shipped from Scotland? Go figure.


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