My Beer Country Olympics

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I know styles, guidelines, and personal taste can vary greatly and the envelope pushed. While nothing to me is set in stone and subject to change I got to thinking hanging out with my neighbors, what countries may the best beer and more importantly why? So here's an unabridged version of my reasoning and personal taste allowing some of you to get to know me even better before attending my first meeting.

Bronze: Call it a cop out, but I give a 2 way tie to 2 countries: our own US of A and our historical cohort, Great Britain. First Great Britain has many style accolades; stouts, ports, brown ale and a couple of premier flexible hop varieties that German law may not consider "noble". It could be argued that our colonial nemesis invented the "imperial" designation with the later "double" moniker. Then consider the porter got a twisted sister in the form of a lager enroute to the Russian Czar as it traveled through the Baltic states. The IPA was also born from our friends in the UK. The isle also has it's maltly contributions in the form of the Scottish/Schilling families. ~~ Our own USA prides itself on taking an idea like the IPA and just going extreme and with some innovative breeding of European and native varities in the NW, that gives good reason. The list of our hop varieties goes on, but consider some original unique styles as well from the lager kingdom. The major breweries revolutionized refrigeration, bottling, and kegging after surviving prohibition. The US may very well step up a notch considering the microbrewery and homebrewing renassaince pushing the envelope can only result in innovation especially right here in Colorado.

Silver: This country needs not an introduction when the term "Reinheitsgebot" is uttered. Germany has almost too many brewing accolades to its credit and after 2 world wars almost extinct styles like Kolsch are making a huge comeback despite the lack of commercial availability. Germany holds the keys to the noble hop kingdom and the strictest purity law. Styles contributed to the world includes an impressive resume: marzen, the bock family, the dunkle family, roggenbier, and while I'm a romantic and think the Czechs did it better, we'll give the German Pilsener it's due credit. Look at all these styles and we have to mention the myriad of decoction methods of mashing. German contribution to brewing commands respect and I suspect would make it on most people's top 3 list....There is however another Skywalker.

Gold: Some would say this a bit of a stretch awarding this country the top prize. Like it light? You have Witbier! Like it sour? You have Flanders/ Oud Bruin! Like it malty like our ancient monk bretheren? You have dubbels and trippels! Spicey and peppery? Saisons is an option. Really strong? Your quads and grand cru/golden. Feeling kinda fruity today? Lambic variants with your fruit of choice is what this country fires back with. I'd like to think that the lambic barrels came from French oak, speaking of which biere de garde anyone? Belgian brewers also have cultivated some of the most unique (maybe accidentally at times) and innovative yeast strains and that IMHO is Belgium's brewing stronghold. Now package it with the most unique foil, wax, corks, and baskets imaginable and you're a kid over 21 on a Christmas morn.

Note: Yes there are other countries that I think have made their mark on brewing.... but not like these 4. These 4 are crazy over the top off the hook.
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  1. Ken's Avatar
    Nice and long winded, I am the same way!
  2. Ruben's Avatar
    Nice, I see what you mean. You have good thoughts on beer. I Love the post.