I'm a beer drinker with aspirations of snobbery. Unfortunately, I'm on more of a "Busch Lite" budget. So I'm limiting myself to one sampler 6 pack a month and trying to sample beers I haven't had before. Here's what I've found so far:
Sam Adams Rebel IPA
New Belgium Ranger IPA
Magic Hat Screaming Wilhelm Pumpkin beer
Black Butte porter
New Belgium Accumulation White IPA
Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale
The first four are good, if unremarkable, examples of their respective types. I can't think of anything specific to say about them, but I'd try them again.
The other two are — odd, and I'm not sure if I liked them. The Blue Moon has the characteristic fault of macro brew White Ale — a sort of bad-coffee taste that is more pronounced in Shock Top but undeniably present in the vastly superior (faint praise) Blue Moon. This one, however, is layered with a distinctive cinnamon-milky texture and flavor that seems like an odd — but not a bad — thing to have in my beer. I've never had actual Horchata (although I have heard the Vampire Weekend song), so I have no idea how authentic it is. I like cinnamon, though, and I like interesting textures. I know I wouldn't buy a pack of them, but I'd certainly order it or buy a single bottle.
The White IPA was not quite as odd in terms of flavor, but the concept seems contradictory. Isn't a Pale Ale defined in part by its color, which is not really pale but a sort of medium amber? This beer is beyond pale — it pours the color of a light cider or white wine — and has a distinctly crisp taste. It's not at all weak or watery, though: it's got a full, complex flavor that combines bitter and citrus in perfect balance. The only thing I can compare it too is grapefruit juice, but smoother and less tart. I would definitely try it again, but there are others I'd try first.
Smithwick's Irish Ale
I'm glad Ireland makes such good whisky and stout, because this tasted like shit.
Rahr & Sons Buffalo Butt Amber
I really want to like Rahr, since they're the home team for me, but I've yet to find a beer of theirs that makes me jump up and say "hot damn!" This is no exception: it's a perfectly cromulent alternative to Shiner Bock and nothing else.
Angry Orchard Granny Smith Cider
I don't like Granny Smith apples to eat, but this cider was a nice break from the typical options of "too sweet" and "too dry"
Something from Magic Hat, probably an IPA
It didn't exactly make a big impression. The most impressive thing about Magic Hat is always the bottle. They are impressive.
Franconia Wheat Beer and Dunkle
This is a brewery from McKinney, Texas, a city in Dallas's orbit that is on my list of cities I can't imagine having a reason to visit. I'm not sure if the Franconia brewery would be worth a visit, but the Wheat and the Dunkle were both exactly what you'd expect from the type. I imagine a lot of people don't care for super, super dark beers, and it's true that when the flavor profile is "burnt wheat," you can hide a lot of faults. But I enjoyed these more than I thought I would, so I guess that's a recommend.
So that was the past two months. The place I go has pretty limited selection, but if you have any suggestions, I'd like to hear them.