I was thinking (naturally) about beer yesterday afternoon, and came up with a question for myself – What’s the one brewery I cannot live without? After giving it some thought, I was genuinely surprised by the outcome.
At first I thought of the tent pole breweries, the ones that make a wide variety of interesting and excellent beers. These are places like Samuel Adams, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, etc. The big dogs who delight beer geeks and noobs alike.
As it turns out, these guys can all burn to the ground (which kind of happened to New Belgium this weekend), and I’d be heartbroken to see them go, but I’d still be saving the water in my fire hose for someone else.
Then I thought about the Wild Child brewers, the ones who make the crazy beers that fuel the imagination of the entire industry. Places like Dogfish Head, the Bruery, and all the other folks who go to the farmers market and see an endless supply of possibilities for new beers. Zucchini Lager? Why not?!
While I appreciate what these mad scientists do, there are enough people thinking outside the bottle to fill the void if any one of them happens to go away. Again, I’d be sad, but life would go on if one of these innovators faltered.
Then I thought about particular beers that I can’t live without, the ones that satisfy me like no others can. Thinking about it this way made answering the question easy.
The one brewer I cannot live without is New Holland, because they make a beer that I don’t want to live without, my beloved Dragons Milk, a peppery and rich Bourbon barrel aged stout.
I apologize for bringing up this beer again, but I have yet to find a brew that can match it, and I sample lots of barrel aged stouts. From its creamy mouthfeel, to its rich notes of caramel and chocolate, to the big bite of Bourbon in the back, this beer checks all of my boxes like no other can.
And believe me, I’ve been searching for alternatives, but until Bourbon County Brand Stout comes my way or Schlafly manages to get off their asses and get some of their Reserve Imperial Stout on the shelves, Dragons Milk remains the king of the mountain.
Meanwhile, there are several IPA’s I feel are pretty much interchangeable (although few nail it like Firestone Walker Union Jack) and many Browns, and Reds, and Saisons, and Pilsners, and Lagers that are fairly fungible, too. But so far, there’s only one Dragons Milk.
The funny thing is, the rest of the New Holland beers could be pulled off the market and I wouldn’t mind. I don’t really care for The Poet, or Mad Hatter or Night Tripper, and I think Charkoota Rye is an abomination of nature. Actually, I think they should do what The Alchemist does with Heady Topper and just focus on brewing one amazing beer. More Dragons Milk for everyone!
So that’s where I wound up – how about you? Tell us below what’s the one brewery you couldn’t live without and let us know why.