Seven Beers From Seven Countries

Seek, smell and sip Sam Merritt’s international brew recommendations during Desert Hops at the Cosmopolitan

australia_coopers_original_pale_ale_WEB

Coopers Pale Ale

Australia
$13, 6 pack, Lee’s Discount Liquors

When most people think of Australian beer, they think Foster’s. But Foster’s is really not the beer of Australia. Coopers is a bottle-conditioned beer, so it’s got that natural carbonation just like Champagne, and it has a really super dry edge to it and it’s highly effervescent. So a unique-tasting beer, very flavorful, but something you might not see every day. Really, really fun to drink.


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Rodenbach Classic Flanders Sour Red Ale

Belgium
$11, 4 pack, Lee’s Discount Liquors

The benchmark of Flanders red. It’s the originator and most well-known of that style: basically, a blend of two-thirds new beer and one-third older beer. It has a very tart and dry finish, almost no residual sugar, but there’s also a lot of nuance to the flavors, such as chocolate and malt. People are talking about the next thing in beer being sour ales, and this is one of the granddaddies of sour ale.


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Wells Banana Bread

England
$9, 4 pack, Lee’s Discount Liquors

Very much a crowd-pleaser, this one. It’s a fun beer, not complicated. You can think about beer as a food and, really, beer is liquid bread. In this case, banana bread. There will be a beer next to it, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, and if you so choose, you can mix the two, and then you have bananas and chocolate—pretty nice.


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Schneider Aventinus Double Bock Wheat Beer

Germany
$5, 16.9 ounces, Total Wine & More

If you’ve heard of German hefeweizens, this is a very strong version of it. It uses more roasted malts, but a lot more sugar, a lot more fermentation, and I think it’s about 7.9 percent alcohol. It throws huge dark fruit as well as banana and clove, but a lot of flavor. Really fun with Asian food.


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Ama Bionda Farmhouse Ale

Italy
$10, 6 pack, Lee’s Discount Liquors

Interesting story: It turns out the guys who own New York’s Brooklyn Brewery, their mother is from Italy, they have a house there, and they’ve gotten to know the brewers in Italy. This beer was designed by the brewmaster in Brooklyn, but it’s made at Amarcord Brewery in Apecchio. It’s made with Sicilian orange-blossom honey, and it has this beautiful floral tone. But it’s light in body and super effervescent. It just does wonders with food.


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Innis & Gunn Toasted Oak IPA

Scotland
$10, 4 pack, Lee’s Discount Liquors

It’s fairly new for them. Everything at Innis & Gunn is aged in oak; they actually put the number of days it’s been in oak on all the bottles, which I find interesting. Most IPAs nowadays are going to be American or West Coast, very floral, a lot of pine and citrus and tropical fruit. But this one has been treated in the oak, so really a lot of that bright stuff goes away, and then it just kind of gets deep and interesting and dry.


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Dogfish Head Sixty-One

USA
$10, 4 pack, Lee’s Discount Liquors

Dogfish Head has a range of IPAs: 6o Minute, 90 Minute and 120 Minute, indicating their bitterness level and strength. The 60 Minute IPA is a real nice, robust American IPA—lots of citrus, pine and such, but then they add grape must, which is basically unfermented wine or juice. So the hop notes take a little bit of a back seat to a nice, dry grapey-ness.

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