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Below you’ll find Beer reviews archive with reviews by Mike Barkacs. Read through these reviews and you'll learn a ton a bout good beers and come up with tons of great ideas to add to you bar, man cave or fridge. You can send questions and comments for Mike to firstname.lastname@example.org, and be sure to check out our wine reviews.
December 27, 2012
Mike suggests pairing Deviant Dale's IPA, one of the best hoppy beers around, with the hottest wings you can find.
September 19, 2012
With its complex flavor and medium body, Great Lakes Oktoberfest may just be the best marzen style beer available.
August 30, 2012
With sour ales becoming more popular, Mike tries the Petrus Aged Pale and finds himself a great deck beer.
July 26, 2012
Like hazelnuts? Then Rogue's Hazelnut Brown Nectar was made for you, a light and flavorful brown ale with a bit of a kick.
June 28, 2012
Mike Barkacs isn't a shandy fan, but if you insist on ruining a good beer, you're better off mixing the lemonade in yourself.
May 31, 2012
Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout has it all, a complex but easy-to-drink beer that may be the best oatmeal stout in America.
April 26, 2012
Mike dismissed Flemish red ales for years until he tried the balanced perfection of Duchesse De Bourgogne.
March 22, 2012
De Dolle translates to "Mad Brewers." Fitting, as their Dulle Teve 10 is crazy good, a hoppy brew with loads of alcohol.
February 23, 2012
As its name suggests, Oud Beersel Oude Geuze Vieille is an atypical beer that will help reset your taste calibrations.
January 26, 2012
Beer choices change with the seasons, and AleSmith Grand Cru is a dark winter brew that will warm the bones.
December 22, 2011
It isn't Christmas in a bottle, but Nostradamus is a strong and tasty Belgian brown ale that's a perfect winter treat.
November 17, 2011
De Dolle Oerbier rewards you every sip of the way, a strong Belgian ale that's massively complex and extremely delicious.
October 21, 2011
Ignore the silly pumpkin beers and pick up a Great Divide Hoss Rye Lager, the perfect fall brew in time for Oktoberfest.
September 22, 2011
Mike was disappointed after trying Wychwood Scarecrow, an organic, golden pale ale from across the pond.
August 18, 2011
You're supposed to think of Newcastle Werewolf as a seasonal red perfect for your Halloween party. Mike disagrees.
July 27, 2011
The great lawnmower beer? That's one way to describe Reissdorf Kolsch, a golden ale perfect for hot summer months.
May 19, 2011
He may be a couple months late, but Mike found a superb St. Patrick's Day beer. A simple Irish red that stands out from the pack, Porterhouse Red Ale is the perfect parade brew.
April 28, 2011
It may sound like just another over-hopped brew, but the crisp and balanced Duvel Tripel Hop is not one of those crazy, tongue-beating beers. Just be ready to cough up the cash.
March 31, 2011
Its name suggests there's something special and mysterious about Lagunitas Censored Rich Copper Ale. There isn't. But as standard amber ales go, Lagunitas is a solid spring selection.
February 24, 2011
Somehow, Rogue's Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale manages to be both unique and purely average at the same time, a typical porter with an atypical ingredient that results in mediocrity.
January 21, 2011
He's not much of a fan himself, but Mike says the cherry-infused Liefmans Cuvee-Brut is perfect for those girlfriends and wives who hate beer but want to bond over a couple pints.
December 30, 2010
Leave it to the Belgians to create an American-style IPA that's better than any Stateside brew. Houblon is dry, crisp and smooth, with hops that don't beat the tongue to death.
November 25, 2010
Only a Grinch can resist these festive beers this time of year. The key, however, is to seek out the special holiday beers that make the season that much merrier.
October 29, 2010
When it comes to beer, fancier isn't always necessary. Take Stiegl, an easy drinking Austrian beer that actually bothers to taste the way the cheap American imitators pretend to taste.
September 30, 2010
Porters are the Frankensteins of beer styles: a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Troegs Dead Reckoning Porter gets the mix right, with a medium body and a smattering of hops.
August 19, 2010
Aged in old casks of premium single malt scotch, Harviestoun Ola Dubh won't be your wallet's first choice, but Mike says this smooth beer is the perfect special occasion brew.
July 29, 2010
A list of the best American craft brewers could easily run 50 deep, but Mike limited himself to the top 5. Breweries like Dogfish Head and Victory define what American beer is today.
Thou shalt not
June 18, 2010
Mike is calling shenanigans on Shmaltz He'Brew Messiah Bold. Claiming to be "a rich and robust dark brown ale," Messiah Ale in truth is one of the weakest brown ales ever concoted.
May 27, 2010
Dogfish Head is one of the most popular craft brewers around, but Mike says they screwed up their Raison D'être, a supposedly Belgian-style ale that's overpriced, unbalanced and overrated.
April 29, 2010
If you want a low-calorie thirst quencher, Mike suggests having water. But if you insist on drinking light beer, Mike offers his picks for the top 5 light beers on the market.
March 25, 2010
Nothing says spring like a good wheat beer. After a winter filled with dark, heavy beers, a crisp wheat like Ayinger Brau-Weisse is a great refresher.
February 25, 2010
Like its mythical namesake, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale is a little scary. But while the 2010 edition is still thick and rich with 9.6% alcohol, the hoppy edge has been joined by some new flavors.
January 29, 2010
Stateside beer drinkers looking for a worthy pilsner should pick up Samuel Adams Noble Pils. This is a beer-flavored beer, smooth and simple so you can drink it all night.
December 4, 2009
Surprisingly, there are far better (and cheaper) seasonal beers than the disappointingly average Delirium Noel. How could a brewery that produces Delirium Tremens screw up its Christmas Ale?
November 12, 2009
Saying that Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout is the brewery's top offering certainly qualifies as high praise, considering Sam Smith consistently brews the best beer in England.
Czechvar, the real Budweiser (10/15/2009)
It's a good session beer, but Czechvar is far from the best brew the Czech Republic has to offer. Then again, considering how good most Czech beers are, that's not really a knock.
Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout (09/10/2009)
A 250th anniversary is impressive to say the least. To celebrate, Guinness released a 250th Anniversary Stout. It would never do as a replacement for The Black Stuff, but Mike says this hoppier version is familiar enough to keep any dyed-in-the-wool Guinness drinker happy.
Duvel Green: A nice alternative to Big Brother (08/07/2009)
If you have an older brother, chances are you know all about high expectations. Such is the case with Duvel Green, a Belgian pale ale with a simpler and lighter taste than the original Duvel. It may not live up to Mike's expectations, but it's still a solid alternative to its Big Brother.
Brooklyn Pennant Ale '55: Exactly what it should be (07/09/2009)
Sorry hop-heads, but Brooklyn Pennant Ale '55 is what beer tastes like. In the era of over-hopped and over-malted trendy beers, Brooklyn Pennant Ale is a true drinking beer that's aptly named after the Boys of Summer – the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers. It's not flashy, trendy or cool, just very good.
Dogfish Head 60/90 Minute IPAs: Hops done right (06/12/2009)
Mike likes a hoppy beer as much as the next guy, but all those over-hopped "extreme" beers on the market today sacrifice taste for IBUs. Not so with Dogfish Head's 60-Minute and 90-Minute IPAs, which prove that it's possible to make a hoppy beer that's still drinkable and tasty.
A "craft" light beer? Slim Chance (04/24/2009)
Marketed as a "craft" light beer, Slim Chance Light Ale looks and tastes more like a typical light lager with little color, little aroma and little flavor. Mike says that would be fine if Red Hook Brewery wasn't charging a premium for a six pack of a decidely un-premium light beer.
Does Dogfish Head have the Midas Touch? (02/27/2009)
Dogfish Head is all about extreme beer, and their Midas Touch Ancient Ale is a prime example. Mike says this is more of a freakshow beer whose sticky sweetness quickly becomes obnoxious. That's not to say the unique Midas Touch is without its charms, but Mike prefers simple excellence.
Kronenbourg 1664: The wine drinkers' beer (01/30/2009)
If you visit France, chances are "beer tasting" isn't high on your list of activities. But just because wine and coffee are the preferred beverages doesn't mean you should overlook Kronenbourg 1664, a crisp, pale lager that Mike Barkacs says is a notch above most domestic European lagers.
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale: 'Tis the season for the best
'Tis the season to be bombarded by a slew of Christmas beers, but Mike Barkacs says it takes some work to find a worthwhile holiday brew. St. Bernardus Christmas Ale may very well be the best of the bunch, a balanced Belgian that will warm you up and, if you're not careful, knock you out.
Maredsous 8: Brewing perfection (11/06/2008)
Mike's Duvel love affair endures, but the Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat isn't a one-trick pony. Enter Maredsous 8, a magically complex Belgian ale that proves Duvel's brewing perfection was no fluke. And at 8% alcohol, Mike suggests fighting the urge to knock them back all night.
Trois Pistoles: The special occasion sipper (09/11/2008)
Fruity, malty and heavy, Trois Pistoles is not a beer Mike should like. So why does he? It tastes more like an after-dinner wine than a manly man beer, but there's nothing wrong with that. When you're looking for something different to wrap up an evening, give Trois Pistoles a shot.
Kwak: A fad wannabe (08/07/2008)
If you've been paying attention, you'll know that Mike is a big fan of Belgian beers. Of course, that doesn't mean he likes all Belgian beers. Enter Kwak, a cutesy brew that uses a gimmicky glass to attract customers. Don't be fooled; Kwak is heavy, sticky and ultimately forgettable.
La Chouffe (07/18/2008)
"La chouffe" means "gnome" in Belgian, and since nobody likes gnomes, Mike didn't hold out much hope for the Belgian ale La Chouffe. He should've known better. Coming from the world's best beer-brewing country, La Chouffe is a balanced, unfiltered brew with a full, crisp taste.
Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale: Perfect summer swill (07/04/2008)
Goose Island's 312 Urban Wheat Ale isn't the tastiest beer on the shelf, but it serves a purpose: the perfect summer swill to chug down in the hot months. This soft, smooth and creamy wheat ale helps beat back the heat of the day and, at just 4.2% alcohol, it'll keep you upright at your cookout.
Tripel Karmeliet (06/20/2008)
If you're searching for a tasty, complex but not overdone beer to toast the good times, Mike suggests trying a Tripel Karmeliet. It balances fruit flavors with a little spice and comes at you with an aroma that goes deep into the glass. Fine with food, it might be even better as an after- dinner drink.
Lasko Club: Liquid courage for your next polka party (06/06/2008)
Need to get up the nerve to dance a polka with your Aunt Edna? Mike suggests downing a few Lasko Club lagers, an Eastern European import so thin and unassuming that it barely qualifies as beer. As far as liquid courage goes, eight or 10 of these will most definitely get the job done.
Bell's Amber Ale: What a craft beer should be (05/22/2008)
If you want a true and proper craft beer, look no further than Bell's Amber Ale. While many craft brewers here in the land of WaterbeerLite throw just about anything into their expensive micros to make them stand out, Bell's actually lets their easy drinking and unpretentious beer speak for itself.
Add Affligem Blond Ale to the list (05/08/2008)
Belgium is only slightly larger than Maryland but it produces 500 beers, and all of them seem to be on Mike's "best-of" list. Affligem Blond Ale has a crisp, complex flavor with a touch of honey to mellow it out. Enjoy it alone or with food, but savor it in the springtime, when it really hits the spot.
Bell's Hopslam Ale: Too much of a good thing (04/25/2008)
Proclaimed by many as the "beer to end all beers," Bell's Hopslam Ale proved to be a bitter disappointment. It's a thick and over-the-top IPA with no redeeming qualities, a Frankenstein of a brew that Mike says is about as subtle as whacking your tongue with a meat tenderizer.
Estrella Galicia es malo (04/10/2008)
It's pretty unusual to find a god-awful lager, but Mike came pretty close when he grabbed a six pack of Estrella Galicia off the import shelf recently. In fact, after sampling this watery brew, Mike now understands why there's such a lack of Spanish beers: Spaniards make awful beer.
The famous Anchor Steam (03/28/2008)
From one of the original U.S. micro breweries, Anchor Steam Beer is a classic that goes with just about any type of food and should appeal to a wide range of beer enthusiasts. It’s a lager that plays out like an ale, with a taste heartier than the average macro beer but not too heavy for the American palate.
Murphy's Stout for the long haul (03/14/2008)
Irish eyes are smiling on March 17, if they aren't red and glazed over. Mike says Murphy's Stout is the perfect beer for the long haul on St. Patrick's Day, a smooth and creamy, light-in-alcohol dark brew that isn't bitter and allows for hours of reveling. Even better, it goes well with food, friends and fun.
Hennepin is a suitable pseudo-Belgian (02/29/2008)
It may not match the quality of an authentic Belgian beer, but Mike says Hennepin is one of the best Belgian-style ales you'll find in the States. Brewed in Cooperstown, New York, Hennepin boasts an earthy taste and a whopping 7.7% alcohol. Be careful.
Dortmunder Gold: The Great Lakes stand-by (02/15/2008)
Instead of guzzling the beer companies' watered-down marketing experiments, Mike says the American masses should turn to Dortmunder Gold. This versatile Great Lakes brew is a good everyday beer if you don't mind spending a bit more for quality.
Corsendonk Abbey Pale Ale: Danger ahead (02/01/2008)
The slogan for Corsendonk Abbey Pale Ale is "gift of the Gods." Considering this smooth, easy-drinking Belgian beer packs a hefty 7.5% alcohol, Mike Barkacs says mischievous gods must be responsible for its creation. In short, Corsendonk Pale Ale is Hoegaarden on steroids. Proceed with caution.
Brooklyn Lager: Simplicity at its best (01/18/2008)
In the crowded beer aisle, amid watery mega- brews, frou-frou microbrews and pricey imports, stands Brooklyn Lager, a simple and economical American beer. No pretense or fancy gimmicks here, Mike says, just an everyday kind of beer that will make any Bud drinker feel right at home.
London Pride Ale is London in a bottle (01/04/2008)
It's not the best English beer you'll find on the import shelf but Mike says Fuller's London Pride Pale Ale is as close as you'll get to London without a passport. Dark, thin and sharp, a few bottles of London Pride is all Mike needs for a quick trip back to the Blighty. Pass the curry.
Goose Island Christmas Ale (12/14/2007)
Normally, Mike says "Bah humbug" to the typically over-spiced Christmas-style beer that flies off the shelves every holiday season. But Goose Island Christmas Ale is one of the few exceptions, an easy- drinking, unpretentious cold weather brew that actually tastes like beer, not fruitcake.
Karlovacko: All too typical (11/30/2007)
What's the main reason to try Karlovacko? Mike doesn't know, unless maybe you're Croatian. There certainly isn't much of an interest when drinking this forgettable European pilsner. Sure, it's clean, crisp and refreshing, but it's all too typical for a beer that comes at an import price.
Old Rasputin is a manly beer…or so it would appear (11/16/2007)
Sometimes a man just has to have a beer that will put hair on his chest, and Mike says Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout is up to the task. Thick, creamy and heavy with 9% alcohol, Rasputin may be the benchmark for stouts and most certainly is not your girlfriend's Bud Light.
Nothing Especial (11/02/2007)
Modelo Especial is Mexico's most popular canned beer. Are alarm bells going off? Mike says Especial is popular south of the border because it's cheap there, not because it's any good. Sure, it might be a good choice to wash down some hot Mexican food, but that's about it.
Augustiner Munich Maximator (10/12/2007)
He's not the biggest fan of German beer and he loathes most Oktoberfest varieties, but Mike sings the praises of Augustiner Munich Maximator. Rich, complex and perfectly balanced, Maximator is the finest Oktoberfest beer on the planet that's perfect for cool weather and bratwurst.
Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat: Making Miller Chill look good (09/28/2007)
Mike comes out with guns a-blazin' after trying Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat, a beer in the loosest sense of the term. This so-called "Sunset in a Bottle" is more like orange juice with a few drops of light beer swirled in. To put it bluntly, Mike says it's an abomination that needs to be avoided.
Sierra Nevada Porter: From swill to riches (09/14/2007)
Mike says the Sierra Nevada Porter is an old school porter with no bells and whistles that doesn’t try to awe you with sophistication. And while it's not a light beer, it's surprisingly drinkable with a medium body and 5.6% alcohol content that make it a good 'just a couple with dinner' beverage.
Goose Island Summertime Ale: It's for the summer, ya know? (08/24/2007)
Goose Island Summertime Ale is one of those considerate beers that tells you when to drink it, like Christmas ales and Winter stouts. Mike says it's also a light, comfortable beer for those lazy days when the living is easy and you don't feel like stumbling over the deck after the cookout.
Miller Chill: A new low (07/13/2007)
Do you like beer? Then Mike says you should skip Miller Chill altogether. For starters, it's not really beer -- not in the true sense, anyway. Instead, it's something a 14-year-old girl might mix if she was forced to use Miller Lite as the base for her Barbie beach party punch. In other words, not very good.
Chimay White: Beer by God (06/22/2007)
Wondering what kind of beer they drink in heaven? This Tripel-style Belgian ale is your answer. Strong and complex, Chimay White is dangerously drinkable
Tyskie: Polish beer disguised as American? (02/23/2007)
Are all European beers thick and heavy like the beard on a Polish longshoreman? Not Tyskie, a Polish pale lager that Mike says American beer drinkers, like their counterparts in Poland, will enjoy as a light-bodied "eat, drink and be merry" ale.
St. Bernardus abt. 12: Perfection in a bottle (02/09/2007)
Mike had given up hope after sampling a sea of bog standard beers in search of the apparently unattainable ideal of an ale. But then he was rescued by St. Bernardus abt. 12, a smooth, dry and dangerously drinkable Belgian ale that's simply the best beer he's ever had.
Zywiec: Worth asking for, if you can (01/26/2007)
You may have trouble finding it and even more trouble pronouncing it, but Zywiec is a Polish import that's perfect for typical American beer drinkers. Mike says it's a dry, thirst quenching lager that'll leave you wanting another. And if you can't ask for it by name, just point.
Duvel worship (01/05/2007)
Duvell, a Belgian ale that ranks right near the top of Mike's list of favorite brews, is complex without showing off. Its sweet aroma, dry finish and 8.5% alcohol make Duvel a great beer to sip with a group of friends or strangers. After a few of these, they won't be strangers anymore.
Railbender Ale: Why I don't brew the stuff (12/29/2006)
We've all heard the saying, "Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it." Mike was on the lookout for an anti-holiday beer, a good, strong, simple ale with plenty of bitter hops. Railbender Ale fits that description precisely, and yet Mike says it tastes like an amateurish stab at a beer with everything.
Great Lakes Christmas Ale: Disappointed by a favorite (12/22/2006)
He waited for it all year. It was perfection in a glass, a balanced holiday brew with just the right amount of alcohol and spice. But Great Lakes Christmas Ale isn't everything Mike remembered it being. With a stronger 'festive' flavor and a heavier price tag, it's no longer his first choice of the season.
There is no reason to drink Bavaria Holland (12/01/2006)
Why in the world would anybody import a beer that is made to taste just like the run-of-the-mill domestic swill? That's the question Mike asked after trying Bavaria Holland, a pilsner style lager that is incomprehensibly made to appeal to American tastes. Why pay the extra cash for a fancy Bud?
McEwan’s IPA just isn’t (11/10/2006)
If you're hunting for a good India Pale Ale, do yourself a favor and skip McEwan's IPA. Mike says this weak and watery Scottish brew is anything but a good India Pale. In fact, it looks like a glass of iced tea and doesn’t taste far from that, with a thin body, no bite from the hops, and only 4.7% alcohol.
Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale: All trick, no treat (10/27/2006)
Don't be fooled: Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale is all trick and no treat. Mike says it’s purely a gimmick brew that's smooth but rather thin, a perfect selection for those who don’t really like much flavor but want to pretend they’re having something interesting.
Sam Adams: What not to drink for Octoberfest (10/06/2006)
When you opt for an 'Octoberfest' beer, you expect something with a bit more wallop than a normal brew, something heavier than your typical summer lager. In short, it should taste like a big German beer, but Mike Barkacs says Sam Adams' Octoberfest tastes like a sorry American knock-off of the idea.
Burning River is the 14th-best beer? (09/29/2006)
It's hard not to like Burning River Pale Ale, the best of the selections that Great Lakes Brewery offers year round. It's not a beer you'll want to pound at the bar all day, though. Instead, Mike Barkacs says Burning River is meant to be savored and enjoyed in moderation.
Greene King IPA: Just beer (09/22/2006)
A beer that tastes like beer, looks like beer, and drinks like beer. In short, Mike says Green King IPA is real beer. It's not fancy or complicated, and it only clocks in at 3.6% alcohol, but it's a solid import that's made for drinking and always leaves you ready for another one.
Negra Modelo: A Mexican surprise (09/08/2006)
It may be more expensive than it deserves to be, but Negra Modelo may also be the perfect beer to go along with Tex-Mex food. But Mike Barkacs warns don't be fooled by its label: despite calling itself a "dark beer," Negra Modelo is definitely a thirst-quenching lager that hits the spot on a summer day.
Great Lakes’ Commodore Perry: Worth the wait? (09/01/2006)
A little strong and more flavorful than your run-of-the-mill ales, India Pales have always been one of Mike's favorites. And being such a big fan of Great Lakes Brewery, you'd think their Commodore Perry India Pale Ale would sit atop Mike's list. Unfortunately, that's not the case.
The Black Stuff (08/18/2006)
Mike says if you walk into any self-respecting Irish pub and simply ask for a pint, it's always understood that Guinness is what you’re asking for. It's one of those beers that everyone has had at one time or another. Some love it, some don’t. And some, for no good reason, are afraid of it.
Wexford Irish Cream Ale: tastes like home (08/11/2006)
If there were any good American cream ales, Mike says Wexford Irish Cream Ale is what one would presumably taste like. It's a bit pricey and finding it here in the States can be tricky, but for those who enjoy creamy beers that are a little on the sweet side, Wexford is well worth the hassle.
Classic Bass Ale (08/04/2006)
If you walk into a new bar and see a red triangle when you scan the taps, rest assured: the place has at least one good beer. Bass Ale is a classic, balanced beer. Everyone's heard of it, most have had it, and you can always count on it being fresh and going with whatever grub you've ordered from the bar.
Looking for a Great German Beer (07/28/2006)
As a guy who always considered himself a fan of German beer, Mike was shocked to learn that he couldn't name one German brew he really enjoyed. And then, on the recommendation of a stranger, he had Spaten Premium, a light, refreshing lager that's similar to a pilsner, only sweeter.
Honker's Ale: A better bitter (07/21/2006)
With such a wide range of varieties, a good bitter can be found to suit just about any occasion. And don’t all occasions call for beer? Honker’s Ale is the signature selection from Chicago's Goose Island Beer Co., a strong and flavorful brew that's cheaper and better than most English bitters.
Just O.K.? (07/14/2006)
Leave it to Poland. They make a perfectly suitable pale lager and what do they call it? O.K. Beer. Fortunately, this hard-to-find brew is far better than just okay. In fact, Mike says it's a refreshing beer that's easy to pound and, at 5.6% alcohol, it'll get you drunk in a hurry without all the heaviness.
Holy Moses: Great Lakes makes an average beer? (07/07/2006)
Mike has been a fan of Great Lakes Brewing Co. for years, but Holy Moses White Ale is not one of the Cleveland-based microbrew's best offerings. It's not a bad choice, Mike says, especially with a light meal, but there are better white ales, and better Great Lakes brews, available.
It has to be all-American with a name like Yuengling (06/30/2006)
The most important question for any July 4th cookout? What beer do you stock the fridge with? Consider Yuengling Traditional Lager, an all-American macro from Pennsylvania that's a perfect complement for grill grub and, at 4.9% alcohol, you won’t have to worry about everyone at your party collapsing in a stupor.
Best case of the DT's, ever (06/23/2006)
Dubbed by some as the best beer in the world, Delirium Tremens is a Belgian pale ale that boasts a whopping 9% alcohol content. As Mike warns, if you're not careful, this deceptively strong and very drinkable brew can get you in trouble.
It's not "Stellar Artois" (06/16/2006)
Coming from Belgium, home of some of the best beer in the world, Stella Artois is a disappointment. Mike says, while this import isn't bad, everything about Stella screams "middle of the road," a mass-produced lager that doesn't live up to its hefty price tag.
Smithwick's: The new Irish option (06/09/2006)
Leave it to the Irish to make a good, honest, drinking man’s beer. With a smooth, mild taste and 4.5% alcohol content, Mike says Smithwick’s Irish Ale is ideal to pound and the perfect complement to the staple Irish foods. Plus, it's made by Guinness, so how could it possibly be bad?
Bitburger: if you only have a bit of money (06/02/2006)
Bitburger, a mediocre German brew that's meant to be one of the cheapest selections in the import aisle, isn't entirely undrinkable. In fact, Mike notes, after you have 12 or 15, you'll hardly notice how much you don’t really like it anymore.
Can Italians do beer? (05/26/2006)
Unlike the more famous Moretti and Peroni brews, Castello is a pure Italian beer. The question is, is a pure Italian beer any good? Mike says Castello is an innocuous selection that might fit the palate for American beer drinkers, a thin, simple European lager that'll quench your thirst on a hot day.
Good old broon (05/19/2006)
A moderately priced brew that's one of the safest, surest bets in the import aisle, Newcastle Brown Ale is a good transition beer from the usual American hop-water to something just a bit more daring. With its 4.7% alcohol content and sweet taste, Mike says Newcastle appeals to just about anyone.
But, why bother? (05/12/2006)
It’s almost shocking something like Steinlager is the main import from New Zealand, a wild land of manly men and heavy beer drinkers, because this brew is not wild or manly. Instead, Mike says Steinlager is an okay lager that leans too much towards its rather generic American cousins.
The first and still the best (05/05/2006)
Searching for a good pilsner? Look no further than the granddaddy of them all, Pilsner Urquell. Mike says this Czech brew, perhaps the best mass produced beer in the world, is everything a pilsner lager should be: full-flavored, easy-drinking, dry and crisp.
Once in a Blue Moon (04/28/2006)
Blue Moon Wheat is a nice enough brew, an easy-drinking ale that goes well with just about any food. However, Mike cautions two things: ignore the fact that Coors Light owns Blue Moon and, whatever you do, forgo the orange slice some will try to foist on your glass. It just ain't cool.
A sweet little blond Belgian (04/12/2006)
Before getting bought by Interbrew, Leffe blond ale built its reputation on quality rather than clever marketing. Mike says Interbrew may need to ramp up the marketing to mantain Leffe's reputation because this Belgian brew tastes and smells like Bazooka bubble gum.
Manna from Heaven (03/26/2006)
Mike reviews one of his all-time favorites, the English-brewed Boddington's, a bitter pale ale that mixes perfectly with bar food (like wings and burgers) and rivals just about any other American lager.
What'll ya have? (03/26/2006)
In this introduction to the "perfect beverage," resident beer god Mike Barkacs takes a brief look at the many differences between ales and lagers. Whatever your choice, it's good in almost any circumstance, with enough variety for even the pickiest drinker.