Foreword From Al Gutierrez

The purpose of us assembling this guide of reviews was simple. We were tired of the usual suspects, Bud, Miller, Coors, Corona, etceteras. We decided there had to be a better way. Make no mistake, we are not here to tell you how to pour the beer, which type of glass to use, or what temperature you should drink it at. No. The purpose was to share our vast knowledge of a sundry array of beers and ales currently marketed in the U.S. We give you our take on what each beer tastes like.

Of course, we gave each one a grade to indicate how much we enjoyed it. But we also rated beers and ales according to what the brewer claimed on the label to be crafting. For example, if a beer claims to have a bitter lemon flavor and it delivers, it may score an additional half-point for truth in advertising. We then take into consideration body, character, nose, and appearance.

Another point we would like to make is more expensive imports may not always be better than cheap domestic product. We leave that pompous attitude to the so-called beer experts and wine connoisseurs.

Which brings me to a pet peeve of ours. Why is it so acceptable to match wine with food at restaurants as opposed to beer? Can you honestly say when you go to one of New York City’s finer steak houses like Peter Lugar, Ben Benson’s, or Spark’s, that red wine really tastes better or is more appropriate than Guinness Stout or a good German Weiss beer? If that’s the case, why do most of us open up a can or bottle of our favorite brew at barbecues? Is there a bourgeois mentality at work here? Why couldn’t you substitute a fine chocolate stout for port wine following dinner? Why not try a Lindeman’s Framboise before a meal instead of sherry?

The bottom line is we don’t believe in rules! You should drink what you want, when you want, and with anything your little heart desires. The only thing we do suggest is you try the beers and ales we rated 5 stars. We truly feel these are at the pinnacle of brewing mastery. We tried to weed out low quality beers and ales that are not worth brewing by assigning them with 2 stars or less.

Are we 100% correct in each case? Of course not. However, we tried so many brews we do feel confident in our selections. We have a better appreciation of what may qualify as a high quality brew and what does not. We’ve come a long way from the days when your choice was a tall neck Bud or an ice cold Michelob. For those living on the edge during the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, the choice of Heineken, Lowenbrau, or Becks were all you had for import selection.

Nevertheless, boring Corona has replaced fine Heineken as the number one import. And how many places even carry Amstel Light as an alternative import choice anymore?

The domestic front has changed even more drastically. Try to find a bottle of Michelob at your favorite bar. These days it seems the “in” beer is any style of Samuel Adams. A few years ago, it may have been J.W. Dundee’s Honey Brown (o.k. if you want a quick beer, but wears on you after the first one).

The game is definitely on as indicated by the 3,500 or more beers and ales we’ve reviewed herein. We were amazed at some of the styles we came across. We had everything from chili pepper beers to white chocolate ales to stout made with Starbuck’s coffee and Belgian ales made with all types of fruit.

Since some of these brews are quite expensive, we feel this guide is a must to help you navigate your way through the minefield of product currently out there. Keep in mind, we were not able to get our hands on every beer out there, so if you’d like us to try one we didn’t review, just send it to us.

Enjoy!

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