Consider me skewed, y’all (if that didn’t give it away already) but I’m Texan so one of my responses should not come as a surprise to you at all.
First American President? Well then, this would be Yuengling. The oldest operating brewing company in America (circa 1829) so this is practically, and still remains, the first and oldest craft brew in the good ol’ US of A. Whenever I travel outside of Texas and see this available, no matter what else is on tap, THIS is my first beer. Because ‘Merica! 🦅🇺🇸
I mean…if any one of these four guys represents Texas spirit to me, it’s ol’ Teddy. Ironic that he’s a New Yorker, right? Remember that comment I made? Well then this should be no surprise.
Shiner Bock. This was my first “craft beer”. Being a Texan, this is STILL the quintessential Texas beer. Ruby Red? Prickly Pear? Cheer? I don’t care what new hotness is out there, Shiner will always be something I can drink.
I have no cool simile here. Instead, number 3 is New Belgium Fat Tire. I turned 21 in 2006 while I was in college in Fort Collins. Yeah…NBBC and Odell in my backyard? I acclimated to craft beer REAL QUICK.
My first step into craft outside of my local scene as a young craft beer drinker was Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale. To this day, that is my benchmark for ALL American Pale Ales and IPAs. This beer is one of the few that stands the test of time. Not many open up into different flavor profiles as you drink them quite like this one does
My list of classic American craft beers is pretty extensive, but there are a few that stand out above the rest. My craft beer journey started with Sierra Nevada, and their Torpedo IPA will always be one of my favorites. It’s got that fantastic hop bite while still having a beautiful balance of citrus and pine notes. Another classic would be Stone IPA. I grew up in SoCal and this beer is iconic in its traditional west coast flavors. Finally, one of my absolute favorite beers of all time, Russian River’s Pliny the Elder. This beer literally brought tears to my eyes when I drank it for the first time. The dry hopping in this beer is nothing short of perfection.
What beers are on my Mt Rushmore of beers? As those who are on the actual Mt. Rushmore have had an impact on history, I wanted to highlight beers that have had an impact of my history and shaped me into the beer lover that I am today. I used to collect beer labels when I first started drinking craft beer (this was before Untapped) and the beer that start is all was Victory’s Golden Monkey. I had no idea what a “Belgian Tripel” was but I was going to try it because I liked the label art. I should tell you, I had a rule for collecting my labels. I had to finish the whole beer in order to keep the label. That first tripel was a labor of love, nowadays it’s just love. Second would be Hell or High Watermelon, by 21st Amendment (and no, my handle isn’t because of this brewery but I do love their beers). It was the first time I had bought a beer because of the can art. Not only did this beer have incredible can art but I was amazed by how unique, different and well-crafted a beer could be that was not a “traditional style” beer. Third? I would have to say that that honor would have to go to DC Brau’s Corruption. It’s not because I work there (and I love working there), but because of what DC Brau has meant to the city of DC. They have been trailblazers that have helped usher in the craft beer scene that we have now today. I wasn’t much of a craft beer drinker when I moved away from DC after college, but I was when I came back, I saw DC Brau Corruption on tap EVERYWHERE and thought that they had always been a part of the DC beer scene. Little did I know that they had just started a few years before I moved back. To me, they are DC’s beer. Lastly, I would have to say the Raspberry Stout from Hardywood. Hardywood was the first brewery that I had ever gone to visit for the sake of visiting. I remember standing outside playing cornhole with my friends and watching a line form for what I found out, was the gingerbread stout release (I had no idea that beer releases were a thing) and remember wondering “why are they waiting in line for beer?” I took a sip of my raspberry stout as I watched them wait and went “ah, yes…now I get it.” No, none of these beers are flashy or “whalez”, but they are great beers that have each written a chapter in my personal beer history. Each had such a lasting impact that they deserve a place of honor in my Mt. Rushmore of beers.
Wow this was a tough one but I’ll have to say Bourbon County from Goose Island, Stone IPA from Stone Brewing, Dale’s Pale Ale from Oskar Blues & Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale. Adding Bourbon County ahead of other classic’s was a difficult decision but if you know the history behind this beer then I hope you’ll understand why I’ve picked it.
I would definitely consider Sam Adams to be an American staple for craft beers around the country. But more locally to New Hampshire where I have grown up and lived my whole life I would say Smuttynose old brown dog ale is what comes to mind. This is def the classic example of the American brown ale and has been around for at least 20 years.