Beer Hunter

#31: Find my Favorite Beer of All Time

Oh, the suffering I endure for this list!  Just kidding.  Beer hunting is pretty stellar stuff.

I got the idea for this entry on the life list because of a recent moment of beer-induced euphoria I experienced at a restaurant in Yountville.  Michael and I were on our honeymoon and we were determined to do nothing but sleep, tan, and eat expensive gourmet food, and, well, honeymoon stuff.

So. One of our meals was at Ad hoc.

It’s a popular down-home-cooking style place run by the people at the very chi-chi French Laundry.  It has a prefixed meal so everyone in the restaurant eats the same thing on any given night, but the menu changes nightly.

We asked the waiter to do all the appropriate wine and beverage pairings for us. They were pretty well suited until he suggested a beer with our dessert of Chocolate chip bread pudding and cinnamon apple butter.  “Seriously?” I thought.  Well, port sounded funny with bread pudding.  So did champagne.  So I gave in and decided, why not.

And then it happened.  My mind was blown.  Who knew beer and chocolate could have been even more delicious than wine and chocolate??  I never thought of myself as a beer person.  This beer was amazing.  What kind of beer was this? I asked.  I can’t remember for the life of me now… but it was a local oatmeal stout and had a picture of a kid on the label.

Now that my mind is open to beer, and I know that I really like it, I have been on a quest to find the perfect beer. I’m starting with other oatmeal beers like the one from Ad Hoc (I think) and here is my first stop on that quest:

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout. Can we say stupidly delicious? Pretty great stuff. Not bitter at all. Heavy, but not guiness heavy.  Kinda sweet, but not too sweet. It’s almost like if you could have an alcoholic dark chocolate milk shake. That’s what it’s like. So for now, this is the top of the list.

However, I feel like this Samuel Smith choice barely begins to scratch the surface of the rich beer world I’m just discovering.  Sadly, you can’t buy beer on or iTunes, so there’s no “If you liked This Beer, then you’ll probably like That Beer” feature to use.  But maybe you, dear friends and readers, can make some suggestions? I’m really liking the stouts (not so much the porters) but I also like Belgian Ales as well.

And so I continue on my beer hunt….

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19 Responses to Beer Hunter

  1. OMG the Hubs and I ate here for our expensive gourmet food honeymoon dinner too!!!!!!! We kind of just tripped across it and its still to the day, the best dinner we’ve had. What a funny coincidence, and this is the first Ive heard of it since we went. BUT, we got a bottle of wine with ours dang it!! Guess we’ll have to go back, the Hubs is a huge fan of beer tasting =)

  2. spiralcma says:

    no way! Small world 🙂 You guys certainly stumbled on the right place!

  3. Lauren says:

    Ok this is slightly embarrassing… but I must admit… right now I kind of dig …. AMSTEL LIGHT. How horribly gauche am I? I have a huge amount in my fridge right now. OH THE SHAME. 🙂

    • spiralcma says:

      Hahaha awesome! I am a firm believer that something is only as good as how much it’s liked! Seems obvious, but really. If you like a wine, then it’s good. If you don’t, even if it is a super exclusive fancy-pants wine, then it’s not good. Ain’t no shame. I’m buying myself an Amstel light and trying it out!

      • Lauren says:

        Ya know what it’s good for? The beer you keep in the fridge to kick back after work. It’s bubbly and refreshing and has a nutty flavor so very different than the wateryness of any miller or bud but it’s not a MEAL. But when I go out I love to get more intense beers, with complex flavors and fabulous names. hahaha

      • spiralcma says:

        And there is definitely a need for that! The oatmeal stout beer isn’t something you can sip on at dinner since it’s so heavy.

  4. Ok, seriously guys, the next food/wine/beer tasting event that goes on here at my work (Sac convention center) YOU GUYS ARE COMING!!!! Which is probably not until the Taste of Sac in the middle of next year, but whatev. Its a date. Im getting us tix. Done.

  5. christom says:

    i’d really have to do it by price catagory and/or accessibility. sometimes you really just want a cheap beer, but sometimes you have to get that impossible to find microbrew. here’s my list:

    cheap mass-produced beer: tecate
    midrange mass-produced hoppy: racer5, arrogant bastard
    midrange mass-produced milder: stella, trumer pils (local berkeley)
    a beer we can all aspire to drinking someday: the end of history, by brewdog (a 55% beer with a small woodland animal taxidermy’d onto the bottle):
    good berkeley beers: quasar (jupiter), titanium (triple rock)
    good sf beers: sadly, i’ve been too poor the whole time i’ve lived in sf to really try their beers.
    awesome way to get to know beer and the people that make beer: the anderson valley brewfest. (sure it rained the whole time, and i got pee’d on, but i drank some really, really good beer)

    hope that helps. maybe we can explore some sf microbreweries sometime after the new years ^_^

    • christom says:

      and i got rach a bottle of the samsmith’s oatmeal stout for her birthday. she’s a fan ^_^ i’m not a stout person myself, but that keeps me out of her beer collection ^_^

    • spiralcma says:

      Microbrew buddies!! I love the idea 🙂 PS That was an awesomely executed list Christom.

  6. Sierra says:

    I’ve totally made a milkshake with that exact oatmeal stout and it’s delicious! Also, I don’t know if they make it anymore…but Lagunitas “Brown Shuga” is like holiday dessert in a bottle…and with a high alcohol content so you get more bang for your buck.

    • spiralcma says:

      Wait. WAIT. An actual milkshake? Sierra you’re killing me here. But how good is that stuff?

      And where did you find this Brown Shuga thing? I think dessert in a bottle is kinda my thing….Can we swap info over Xmas?

      • Sierra says:

        Yes, an actual milkshake. Do it. I got Brown Shuga just at some store in marin or petaluma, so if they still make it I’m sure you can find it. You can go to the Lagunitas brewery in Petaluma and it’s delicious. I just spent my whole commute home being so excited that you are coming to VISIT. AAAAHHH!!!

  7. Marlene says:

    These are some of my favorite, that I can think of off the top of my head
    Monk’s Blood- 21st ammendment
    Autumn Maple- The Bruery
    Double Nut Brown- Mammoth Brewing Company

    you can find a great selection of beer at the city beer store, and I would love to take you out to some of my favorite beer spots, toronado and churchkey!

    AND it’s my favorite time of the year, holiday ales!! mmm

    • spiralcma says:

      I’ve seen that Double Nut Brown one, and have been curious about it. Definitely going to check out. Thanks Marlene! That website is super helpful. AND yes can we please go to those places? Super awesome 🙂

  8. Marlene says:

    oh and is the yelp of beers…enjoy =)


    Grandma Barbara here 🙂 Your talking to a serious lover of beer (since my Great-grandpa owned the Eastside Brewery in LA until it was sold to Pabst around 1953).

    If you wanna try a beer that can really curl your toes try Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from the North Coast Brewing Co. in Fort Bragg. Be sure to let it breath for about 5 min. before tasting.

    And for fun during the holidays I love so many of the special seasonal beers. Here’s a link to one beer lovers top 10.

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