Most beer enthusiasts (myself very much included) are promiscuous drinkers, we are constant looking for new and exciting beers to try. There is nothing wrong with this, but sometimes you spend so much time trying new things that you forget about old standbys, beers that are consistently great and easy to find. I’ve started to notice many other beer writers reminding people to revisit established beers, and I have made a concerted effort mix in reviews of classics on Hoppy Boston. Local beer savant Norman Miller (@RealBeerNut) has modified his regular 6-pack of beer reviews column to always include one classic beer along with 5 new choices.
From this push has emerged the “house beer” trend, the idea that you should pick a few favorite beers to always have on hand as a complement to the exciting stuff you pick up on a trip to the bottle shop or a brewery. I love this idea, it keeps you in touch with some favorites and allows you to always have them around to offer to guests. One of my staple house beers is typically my homebrew, but I thought it would be a good exercise to identify some of the other beers that make a regular appearance in my beer fridge. Here are a few suggestions for house beer selection:
Beers that are widely available: Focus on things that you’ll find at most local stores, nothing that requires a drive or a wait in line.
Moderate to low alcohol: They don’t need to be session beers, but house beers should be beers that you can offer to a guest without having to carry them home afterwards.
Crowd pleasing with some style variety: you might love that beer aged in tequila barrels on ghost peppers with cold brewed coffee, but it might be a little out there for others. Also, I know it’s hard to believe, but some people like beers without huge doses of hops, so it’s good to keep some balanced beers in hand.
Here are my selections for year-round and seasonal house beers, let me know what you would add!
Notch Left of The Dial: Enough hops to please IPA lovers but enough balance to appeal to a wide crowd. Sessionable and delicious.
Allagash Saison: A world class saison from the masters of Belgian style ales. Tons of flavor, complex but still easy to drink.
Wormtown Be Hoppy: One of the best IPAs that you can find in stores on a regular basis, a touch boozy for this exercise but too good to pass on.
Also: Trillium Fort Point Pale Ale (not quite widely available yet), Notch Session Pils, Night Shift Santilli
Mystic Mary of the Gael: One of my favorite saisons, a solid dose of hops perfectly complements the house yeast. Grab a 750 mL bottle to share!
Also: Otter Creek Citra Mantra, Kent Falls Field Beer
Jack’s Abby Sunny Ridge: A delicious pilsner from the masters of lager beers, light and easy to drink but still full of flavor. I will drink a number of these on the porch this summer.
Also: Peak Organic Fresh Cut, White Birch Raspberry Berliner Weisse
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog: Rich and malty with enough body to hold up on a cool fall day.
Also: Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest, Jack’s Abby Copper Legend
Mayflower Porter: Could be a year round selection for me, full of dark malt flavor but still balanced and easy to drink.
Also: Geary’s London Porter, Night Shift Awake