Not everyone will enjoy all the beers on this list. However, each is either a special blend or a specific non-traditional flavor that takes beer somewhere a little different. Some are merely good. Others are exceptional. If you love beer, particularly interesting and complex beer, you should try them all at least once.
Leinenkugel Berry Weiss. This particular weiss beer is definitely not for everyone. In fact, it can hardly be called a beer at all. However, it has its place and is unlike almost anything else on the market. The best way to describe this beer might be that it is how one might imagine an elevated, sophisticated wine cooler might taste. It has the fruity, bubbly bodied, refreshing qualities that light weight, wine cooler drinkers enjoy, without the malt liquor style wang that real beer drinkers do not. This is a beer better to enjoy with a meal than on a day when you just want to sit back and enjoy a beer for its own sake. Like a wine cooler, this is a fun, party beer, rather than a serious, beer for sipping.
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. If anything, this beer may be the exact opposite of the Berry Weiss above. There is no mistaking the whiskey barrel aging in this ale. You will taste the bourbon and you will even feel the alcohol burn usually associated with hard liquor instead of beer. The alcohol content is higher than a standard beer, too. The ale is dark but smooth, in spite of the liquor component. Perhaps because of the barrel aging, it has a thinner body than one usually associates with a dark ale, and low carbonation. You are unlikely to want more than one or two of these powerful brews at a sitting. It would probably go well with steak dinner.
Breckenridge Brewery Vanilla Porter. This beer just tastes good. It isn’t really a sweet beer, like the Berry Weiss, but there is a hint of sweetness. The vanilla is bold without being overpowering. The body is mildly creamy and it goes down smooth. The best word to describe the flavor of this beer would be rich. It has a distinct profile that is unlike much else. This is a sipping beer, without a doubt.
New Belgium 1554 Enlightend Black Ale .There was a previous version, but thankfully, in 1997 the original recipe was destroyed in a flood. Had that not occurred, this delicious black ale would not exist and the world would be a sadder place for it. It would be nearly impossible to accurately and adequately describe the flavor of this ale, but it is very, very smooth. Lightly creamy, dark and multi-faceted, this too is an ale for slow, sipping enjoyment.
Schlafly Pumpkin Ale. This seasonal beer was described to the author as the best selling beer at the local liquor store, nearly double the sales of any other beer carried there. Imagine for a moment that you could distill the best pumpkin pie you ever tasted into a liquer and infuse that into a really nice ale. Fortunately, you don’t have to imagine it, because Schlafly already did it. Unfortunately, you will have to imagine it until fall, unless your local carrier has not yet sold out because it is only available a few months of the year, namely those in which pumpkin pie is most frequently enjoyed. Don’t worry. It is worth the wait.