Pilsner Urquell gets my vote.
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There is no definitive "best" of anything. There are way too many variables involved. The "best" you can hope for is to find something that works well in your system. You can then say it's the "best" for you until you find something you think is better !!!!
Wait a minute,wrong thread!!!! :)
The best beer is free beer. Wait,I take that back, the best beer is free cold beer. Yeah, that's the best beer.
There are far too many different styles of beer that are too different to select just one overall. Here are some faves:
If you have never tried it, try Fuller's ESB. It is one of the smoothest beers in the world. This is obviously my pick for an ESB.
For a brown ale, Samuel Smith's Nut Brown. They also make an excellent IPA.
For a stout, try Murphy's as an alternative to Guinness. A nice dessert beer is Young's Chocolate Stout, too.
For a Belgian style white, Celis White.
For an old ale, Anchor's Old Foghorn. Don't drink more than one if you are driving. Anchor also makes an excellent porter.
@Lloydc - ale is a type of beer
@everyone else. I'm a bit surprised that a group that is so knowledgeable about esoteric audio equipment is drinking so much beer from large breweries.
If you live on the West Coast (U.S.) try breweries like Stone, Firestone Walker, Bruery, Craftsman, Mammoth, Telegraph, Bootleggers, Lost Coast, Green Flash, Taps, Hangar 24, Mad River, Lost Coast, Rogue, Indian Wells Brewing, Kern River Brewing, Moylan's, Bear Republic, and many others.
On the East Coast, I highly recommend Ommegang (from Cooperstown, NY, specializing in Belgian style) and Unibroue (Quebec) and Allagash (Maine).
This is just a tiny sample. Recommending specific beers from these breweries is almost impossible. You need to narrow down the style.
I have been a big IPA fan of late and LOVE the Lagunista's Little Sumpin' Sumpin' ale, great name and a hearty IPS too, in fact, all their IPA's are excellent, hoppy but not too hoppy.
For a plain 'beer' you can't beat Blue Point Toasted Lager, for what it is it's expensive (usually ~$10/6) but it's just such a good lager and I have a great local seafood restaurant that has it on tap here so that's always a plus!
Most of the Colorado breweries I've tried are solid, Fat Tire seems to be the standard by which all other CO breweries are judged, but their are many good one from there.
We here in Tampa used to have Cigar City right in town but they have moved, the Jai Alai IPA is really good from them.
Just a few to ad to the list but if you can find the Lagunista's try them! I like all their beers that I've tried (had like 5-6 so a few!)
In NOLA I indulge in Turbodog, in Houston at least Shiner Bock makes being there palitable, in Philly there's nothing wrong with Jeungling, in Vancouver I'll go for a Sleeman's Honey Brown, in New Haven it's Sam summer ale, in SLC a Polyigamy Porter is just fine, and in New Hampster Magic Hat is always a pleasure. Then again, in Munich Franziskaner is fine, in Augsburg a Hasen Brau hefeweisen will work, in Copenhagen I'll do a Tuborg, in Amsterdam, Heniken tastes fine.
Best Beer. Depends where you are, and all beer is good beer (almost).
@Philjolet - not sure if we can get Bell's in California. I've never seen it here, but I'll keep an eye out for it.
@Kennyt - I can't believe I forgot to mention Lagunitas brewery - that's one of my favorites.
@Dopogue - Brother Thelonious is made by North Coast brewing, which is another fantastic brewer I forgot to mention
Now a word from Tejas. Gotta put my vote out for Shiner Bock. Other good Texas beers include St. Arnold's in Houston, with a wonderful Brown Ale and a good summer beer--Lawnmower. Just don't drink and mow. I also agree with the many selections above--there is a real renaissance in local brews that keeps the small businesses alive and well.
Free and cold? The boys across the big pond would rather it be room temperature. Used to bartend at the small NATO military base I worked at. The Brits had some of their brew (Double Diamond ale, among others) brought in which was kept out of the coolers at room temp. Took a little getting used to, but was very tasty. Couldn't drink a lot of it though.
My favorite is Mug.
Rhapsd, I too am a big fan of the Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout. I have one more in the fridge left over from earlier this spring but I like those better in the colder months. Summer'ish is almost here in Michigan and that means Oberon, with an orange slice, in the Beer Garden at Bell's. Damn, only 5 more months of that....tough to take. Another nice summer wheat is Trout Slayer, from the Big Sky Brewing folks in Missoula.
Arrogant Bastard is Stone Brewery, based in Northern San Diego County. All of their beers are excellent. I must admit that I find Arrogant Bastard excessively hoppy, but that's been the trend the last few years. I think the market is finally moving past that. Nonetheless, Arrogant Bastard is one of the great beer names.