OK so who the heck am I to tell you what the best beer is? Well, let me start out by saying that as a retired Army officer and helicopter pilot, “I’ve been around the world three times and have seen every dog and pony show known to mankind!!! Helicopter pilots are euphemistically referred to by those who “walk” in the army as “lounge lizards.” I am guilty as charged! I’ve been in almost every “juke joint” and “honky tonk” around the world. However, consider the fact that like many of my army brethren I am fond of stating that, “my favorite beer is free beer, and my all time favorite beer is, cold free beer”!!! All that being said why am I rating a beer? Because when I do get serious about my beer drinking I have tasted more than I care to admit to my kids, and my really all time favorite beer is from a small brewery in Oregon, Henry Weinhard Private Reserve, locally referred to as “Hanks.” I came to know and love this beer when I was posted to Ft. Lewis WA. in 1982. I’m originally from Miami Beach, and the only beer west of the Mississippi I had was Coors. The first time I tasted a Hank’s, and back then there was only one flavor brewed, I was in beer heaven!!! Why so, because I have always loved my beer to taste like a loaf of bread.
Why do I love the taste, well the brewery says it best: “Fragrant Cascade hops set the tone in this lager, giving way to an earthy, bread-like finish, courtesy of premium two-row barley and the same yeast strain that Henry brought here over 150 years ago.” Right before I left in 1986 Hank’s came out with its “Classic Dark,” which I instantly fell in love with!!! As the brewery describes I liked the “rich midnight color concealing a surprisingly easy-drinking taste. Hey, it’s still a lager, after all. Aromatic, Northwest-grown Cascade hops balance an earthy, molasses-sweet finish, with none of the chewy aftertaste you might expect in dark beers.”
Alas, except for a few visits since then to the “Great Northwest” I have not been able to imbibe in my favorite elixir. Just being on the brewery web site makes say: “I got to get me a Hank’s real soon”!!!
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