Ultimate 6er | Comfort Beers
It’s time we all took a seat and enjoyed a comfort beer, don’t you think? We are in the midst of a year dominated by natural disasters, shootings, political turmoil, fake news, nuclear war fears, a cold-war resurgence and societal fractures. But, there’s something about sinking into one’s favorite chair and opening a beer that calms the nerves. Here are six uncomplicated, security-blanket beers that help bring joy even as we are enduring unfathomable tension.
Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing
ABV: 5.6% | IBU: 38
The iconic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is almost guaranteed to provide delight to craft beer fans. It’s not a beer that inspires one to wait in line for hours to grab a can or bottle; it’s just a beer you open, pour (or not) and enjoy.
Pale Ale relies on whole-cone hops that present an aroma full of pine and citrus scents, and the beer exudes classic, West-Coast (if not Pacific Northwest) hoppy flavor.
Suggestion: Enjoy it with a burger. Keep it simple.
Milk Stout (Nitro, if you prefer) | Left Hand Brewing
ABV: 6% | IBU: 25
As a kid, a nice cold glass of milk — maybe with a snack — often induced a smile. As an adult, sometimes a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate does the trick. What better way to combine that kid-like feeling with a grown-up longing for comfort than a Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout.
Creamy, dark and tasty, the milk stout is comprised of roasted malt, coffee, and subtle caramel notes that equate to a downright quaffable stout. If you desire it extra smooth; go nitro — that’s your call.
Suggestion: Enjoy it with a cookie.
White | Allagash Brewing
The personification of comfort may exist with the Allagash interpretation of the classic Belgian Wit (wheat). Since 1995, the world has changed substantially, beer trends have come and gone and brewery numbers have exploded. Though it all, Allagash White has always been there.
The beer simultaneously appears hazy and bright, while the bready, wheat character and citrus-orange flavor accompany the coriander and spice notes, all adding up to an ultra-refreshing drink.
Suggestion: Enjoy it with a chicken and a Belgian waffle meal (with Belgian fries, of course). That’s not a typical pairing, but this is an unusual year.
Amber (Alt-Style Ale) | Alaskan Brewing
The term “alt” in German means “old,” which points to the slow fermentation process found in the cold German, or Alaskan in this case, weather. Nothing hurried here. It’s slow. It’s good. It’s a reminder of what craft beer was like before the quest for “what’s new” dominated the scene.
Alaskan Amber is a malt lover’s dream and it’s as smooth as can be, probably because of the use of water found from both within the 1,500 square-mile Juneau Ice Field and the copious Juneau rain. Throw in a gentle blend of European and Pacific Northwest hops and you end up with an easy-drinking, superbly balanced, good-ole-fashioned, delicious, amber comfort beer.
Suggestion: Have it with a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
Black Butte Porter | Deschutes Brewery
ABV: 5.2% | IBU: 30
Simply put. It’s just a damn fine porter, and that’s why it’s been around for so long (and why it’s the inspiration for the brewery’s anniversary beers). Light bodied for a porter, but Black Butte enjoys a velvety smooth, creamy mouthfeel that’s sublime.
Notes of chocolate, coffee and a bit of roastiness offer a warm-blanket and pajamas type of comfort. And, the use of Cascade, Bravo and Tettnang hops provide a pleasant hops presence — it is the Pacific Northwest, after all.
Suggestion: The beer is perfect for a piping hot bowl of chili or sloppy joe. Or, if you want, grab a two-pack of cupcakes near the checkout and have at it.
Prima Pils | Victory Brewing
The cure for specialty-beer fatigue can be easily remedied by a traditional, yet modern pilsner. Victory’s version — simple, yet exquisite — has been a popular choice since the late ’90s.
Like a good Southern stick-to-your-bones meal, the biscuit-sweet nature plays on the familiar while earthy-spiciness and floral, bitter hops satisfy typical modern craft-beer aficionados. The superb taste enhances the easy-drinking character of this light-bodied pils. Full-flavored, well-balanced and perfect for a drinker that wants nothing more than to just sit down and have a beer. It’s the type of drink that usually concludes with, “Ahhh.”
Suggestion: It’s a pilsner, so you can obviously have it with sausage, a burger or any meat between bread. But, you know what’s better for someone needing something simple? A BLT or grilled cheese.
Do you have a favorite comfort beer? Let us know!