Our 10 Best Beers

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When we got the idea to do Our 10 Best Beers, little did we realize what a shark tank we were jumping into. While wine drinkers, cocktail swillers, and those that drink their spirits neat are a very vocal and cantankerous bunch, the vast majority of beer fanciers just sit back, foamy quaff in hand, and watch the rest of the drinkers duke it out. But if provoked, there's no one more opinionated than a beer drinker--whether she fancies pilsner, lager, bitter, stout, porter, lambic, saison, or even barley wine.

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The world's largest six pack, LaCrosse, WI

So contentious were the lists we received, we decided that they couldn't all be accommodated within a single list: Putting PBR on the same roster with peach lambic, say, didn't make any sense. So we've broken everything down into several lists, beginning with "Plebeian," which should satisfy the majority of normal beer drinkers, who hope for nothing more than a cold, foamy slap in the face at the end of the day. After that, we've cast a more-specialized list, ending with some top fives from our resident beer geeks.

We were surprised at the extent of locavore sentiment when it comes to favorite beers, but then that's more a measure of the people we associate with. And even though our pollees readily listed five top beers, in the course of a year, these same folks are likely to sample dozens or even hundreds of different beers, often just out of curiosity. Another phenomenon that may come as a surprise is the prevalence of darker beers--including many outright stouts--on the lists.

While these rankings don't make any pretense of democracy, we did poll skads of people in the process of compiling them. Our thanks go to Chantal Martineau, Mike Epstein, Jesse Drucker, Cathy Erway, Paul Lukas, Angus Vail, Samantha Charlip, Sara Brandston, Joe DiStefano, Andre Thiesen, Jan Galligan, Liz Clayton, Akiko Moorman, Sarah DiGregorio, and Lillian Chou, Amy Thompson, Jeremy McNamara, and Tracy Van Dyk, avid beer drinkers all!

As usual, if your favorite beer doesn't appear on any of these lists, please let us know. Go ahead, heap abuse on us, that's what we're here for!

Next: The list for casual, but committed beer drinkers


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