#26 New Belgium Ranger IPA

ranger

#26 New Belgium Ranger IPA

Type: India Pale Ale
Container: Bottle
ABV: 6.5%
Sticker Price: $8.99/6-pack of bottles

We are not big IPA fans in this house. However, I occasionally want something bitter and this does not disappoint. Delivering a train car of hops with a touch of sweetness makes this a refreshing kick in the caboose.

  • Rating (5=best): 4
  • Nose: Huge on citrusy hops. Pine, lemon and corriander notes. Over time, damp pine wood with a tiny bit of dank litterbox…
  • Flavor: Nice clean bitterness that isn’t too strong. Menthol-like tingle with subtle lemony sweetness. Burnt orange.
  • Finish: Bitterness lingers with grapefruit rind flavors. Quite dry.
  • Notes: While the nose got a bit funky over time, the flavor persisted and the finish lasts a while. Great example of an IPA.
  • Shilpi: “It smells good. It tastes bitter. I don’t like the IPAs!”
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#25 Modelo Especial

Modelo Especial

#25 Modelo Especial

Type: Pale Lager
Container: Bottle
ABV: 4.4%
Sticker Price: $6.99/6-pack of bottles

I love Mexican food. I don’t like most Mexican beer but I find it up and down the beer aisle here in southern California. With some homemade tortillas, grilled corn (Mexican-style with crema, cheese and lime) and some steak in adobo this paired beautifully. However, it isn’t so “especial” on its own.

  • Rating (5=best): 2.5
  • Nose: Corn, grain, clean grassy notes. Bread.
  • Flavor: Not overly sweet corn. Quite bubbly in an over-carbonated way: the bubbles almost burn the mouth. Slightest bit of malt, nearly no bitterness at all. Quite clean and washes out the mouth well.
  • Finish: Pleasantly dry but leaving a bit of wet cardboard flavor behind.
  • Notes: Very average. Simple to the point of boring. Great mouth-cleansing counterpoint with food but can’t stand on its own.
  • Shilpi: “Mildly lightly pleasing.”

#24 Guinness Draught

Guiness

#24 Guinness Draught

Type: Irish Dry Stout
Container: Bottle
ABV: 4.2%
Sticker Price: $7.99/6-pack of bottles

I love stouts and remember when I had my first Guinness: it was heavy and satisfying, like a warm blanket or a meat pie. This is nowhere near that experience. It shouldn’t even bear the name Guinness.

  • Rating (5=best): 2
  • Nose: Canned vegetables, metal.
  • Flavor: Watery, not much character.
  • Finish: Bitter, burnt grain like burned popcorn. Bit of cardboard. Pleasantly dry.
  • Notes: If I want a Guinness, I’ll get it from a tap.
  • Shilpi: “It’s very dark-tasting. It’s like Mordor.”

#23 Miller Fortune

fortune

#23 Miller Fortune

Type: Malt Liquor
Container: Bottle
ABV: 6.9%
Sticker Price: $6.99/6-pack of bottles

I’ve never had malt liquor. I thought this was a golden lager, as it is labeled. If this is what all malt liquors taste like, count me out.

  • Rating (5=best): 2
  • Nose: Wet cardboard, malty corn. Popcorn.
  • Flavor: Incredibly sweet. Caramel, roasted grain, white wine-like sweetness. Quite cloying and very one-note.
  • Finish: Tiny bit of bitterness on the finish. Can taste the alcohol as it goes down.
  • Notes: Way too much cloying sweetness. The alcohol content is all it has going for it. For that alone, I’ll drink something much tastier.
  • Shilpi: N/A

#22 Samuel Adams Rebel IPA

SamAdamsRebelIPA

#22 Samuel Adams Rebel IPA

Type: IPA
Container: Bottle
ABV: 6.5%
Sticker Price: $7.99/6-pack of bottles

I don’t love IPAs and tend toward the darker, malty brews. They do have their time and place. After a very hot and busy month, I wanted something refreshing and bright to cool me off and cool me down. This IPA was just the ticket.

  • Rating (5=best): 4
  • Nose: Metallic, pine, grapefruit, orange zest, tiny bit of sour bread.
  • Flavor: Bright and refreshing with plenty of hoppy bitterness that’s not overwhelming. Nice orange zest flavor.
  • Finish: Nice, long finish that isn’t too complex but filled with saliva-inducing hops. Not too dry with a bit of malty sweetness.
  • Notes: Surprisingly good. Very drinkable on a hot day. A great palate-cleanser with food but is interesting enough to drink alone.
  • Shilpi: “It’s an IPA so I don’t like it.”

#21 KCCO Black Lager

KCCO Black Lager

#21 KCCO Black Lager

Type: Black Lager
Container: Bottle
ABV: 5.1%
Sticker Price: $8.99/6-pack of bottles

I really enjoy the Chive. My wife and I look at their cat pictures every Saturday morning like it’s our religion. Being such a fan, I had to try the beer they put their name on. While it will get you through Humpday, it isn’t as tasty as some FLBP.

  • Rating (5=best): 3
  • Nose: Coffee, dark bread, grilled corn.
  • Flavor: Surprisingly light. Roasted malt, chocolate, yeasty. Sweet but not too sweet. Nice carbonation.
  • Finish: Refreshing for a darker beer but not very complex or long-lasting. Tiny bit of bitterness on the end.
  • Notes: Very enjoyable but not much to savor over. Refreshing and drinkable and more interesting than most pale lagers. I wouldn’t pay for it again but if it was at a party I would KCCO!
  • Shilpi: “It’s a full-bodied coffee beer. It’s really not my thing.”

p.s. Check out thechive.com if you’re looking to have some fun and unproductive time on the internets.

#20 Asahi Super Dry

Asahi Super Dry

#20 Asahi Super Dry

Type: Pale Lager
Container: Bottle
ABV: 5%
Sticker Price: $7.99/6-pack of bottles

I thought I hated beer until a British friend of mine brought this over to pair with some Thai green curry. The flavors of the Asahi and curry blended together in a way that surprised me. I’ve been drinking beer ever since. Revisiting this brew shows me how naive I was and how much my tastes have changed.

  • Rating (5=best): 2
  • Nose: Canned vegetables, corn.
  • Flavor: Pleasantly dry. Faint barley flavor with mouthwatering bitterness. Pretty boring.
  • Finish: Refreshing bitterness. Disappears quickly.
  • Notes: Refreshing and great with spicy or char-grilled food (Thai and Indian food especially) but not much on its own.
  • Shilpi: “It’s too bitter and flavorless for me.”