thanks to april chan for these two pix:
beeri've become a beer snob over the years. the only way i'll drink old milwaukee or natty light is to poke a hole with a knife and shotgun it down my throat - that's what you do if you need to get drunk and you're at somebody else's house and all there is is leftover beer laying around.
if i have my druthers, i drink darker beer. i learned to love guiness in ireland, first with a shot of currant (sweet/bitter berry flavour) and then without it. but drinking guiness is like pitch - it's heavy, too heavy at times. it's so darn filling! it's like a commitment - hard to think about food or other beers afterwards.
there are other dark beers from the united kingdom, some of which won't weigh you down so much:
mcewan's scotch ale is like chocolate - too thick and strange to be palatable for more than a half glass. i had a case of it at swarthmore in late 1995, i had that case for a long time.otherwise i like wheat beer (hefeweizen?) - the golden colour and taste is light and almost fruity, especially with a twist of lemon which i how i first had it at the chameleon, in san francisco.
samuel smith's oatmeal stout is a hearty beer. nut brown ale is a fantastic standby - not so thick. nut brown is the default high end beer at dead shows.
from america, i recommend the rogue ales: dead guy ale is particularly good. they have a fresh taste and you can count on any of their varieties to have some distinctive flavour.
otherwise, forty ounces of malt liquor i first "enjoyed" with mike, but later learned to use in an agreeable way at two fisted features with wilson, a forty fan at the time. one is usually right to put a slow mood on the day, there's a sweetness to them, as they are often comprised of grain alcohol, water, and corn sweetener. two forties is too much.
recently i've discovered chimay ales - brewed by trappist monks in belgium. do they drink the stuff themselves? odd to think of monks brewing beer and distributing alcohol, but if you can get over the potential spiritual discontinuity, it's a delicious beer with a flavour intriguing enough to savour on its own without filling you up. expensive is the thing.