The American Homebrewers Association’s annual list of the “Best Commercial Beers in America” created some buzz last week. The list is compiled by polling readers of the AHA’s magazine Zymurgy.
Apparently, homebrewers really like hops. The top five choices are all on the bitter side. For the fifth year in a row, Russian River’s delicious IIPA Pliny the Elder took the top spot. Pliny was followed by Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Bell’s Hopslam Ale and Ballast Point Sculpin IPA. Not a bad top five. I like the list because it’s comprised of beers available commercially, so you don’t find too many on the list that are ridiculously hard to come by.
Sadly, no Wisconsin beers made the list. See the entire top 50 list and start the debate on topics such as why Pliny the Younger is ranked 39th (lack of availability?) or why Odell IPA (one of my favorites) is also near the bottom. Talk amongst yourselves.
Rock ’n’ Roll Party in the Street
The folks at Burnhearts (2599 S. Logan Ave.) are excellent event planners. Find out for yourself at the Burnhearts/Pabst 6th Annual Street Party on Saturday, June 29 from noon to 8 p.m. Pabst and Schlitz will be flowing, and there will be food from Honeypie and Classic Slice. You can also stroll Potter Street and check out some art and listen to music by bands like the highly underrated The Championship. The fun helps raise money for the Bay View Neighborhood Association.
Barley Pop of the Week
Sadly, Solemn Oath Brewery doesn’t distribute anywhere but Chicago. But, I strongly suggest trying their stuff if you can find it in the Windy City. I was fortunate enough to come across their Whisper Kisses Farmhouse Ale last weekend. It was a nice mix of fruit flavor with the dryness of a saison, but it also had a pronounced hop bite. I really think that Solemn Oath is up to big things, and their taproom is on my list of places to visit (unfortunately the taproom is way down in Naperville).
Summerfest starts this week. A good time to revisit last year’s Summerfest Beer Tips.
Tuesday, June 25: Tyranena is the brewery of the month at Whole Foods (2305 N. Prospect Ave.). Sample a few beers and pair them with cheese from 6 to 7 p.m. Register by calling 414-223-1500.
Friday, June 28: Lakefront brings the 25th Anniversary Belgian Apricot Wheat, My Turn Chris Doppelbock and Wisconsinite to Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.) from 3 to 6 p.m. Lagunitas will be handing out samples from 4 to 7 p.m.
Friday, June 28: Sample Horny Goat brews from 4 to 6 p.m. at Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow Ave.).
Saturday, June 29: Lagunitas samples from noon to 3 p.m. and Lakefront tasting from 3 to 6 p.m. at Discount Liquor Waukesha.
Saturday, June 29: Horny Goat hands out samples at Discount Liquor Milwaukee from 2 to 4 p.m.
Saturday, June 29: Just in time for the summer heat. Sample wheat beers at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) from 1 to 4 p.m.