Maybe your dad is an avid craft beer drinker already, or maybe you’d like to introduce him to a new world of sublime complexity. Either way, your most pressing question might just be, ‘which styles would my dad really dig?’ I mean, you don’t want to gift him with a pile of brews that he’s not going to enjoy. The beer I always remembered my dad drinking was Labatt Blue – out of the bottle, through a straw (he was paralyzed, so give him a break on the straw part). When I decided to try to break him into the wonderful world of microbrews, I wanted to choose styles that wouldn’t shock him, but ease him into a new direction.
Of course, I don’t know your fathers personally, but I can offer up a few suggestions that might make your choices a tad easier. We’ll start by looking at dear old dad’s style and go from there.
If your dad loves spending time working and playing outside (think meat-grilling, wood-chopping, fire-building and the like) I’d go with styles that go well with burgers, hot dogs and grilled or barbecued chicken. Think hoppy, yet balanced, and refreshing. Altbier, English pale ale, IPA and American brown ale are all styles that really compliment any grilled foods, even pizza. The strength of the bitter hops profile for each style differs, of course, but each of these will offer a kick of hops that’s perfect for cutting through sweet BBQ and burger toppings. Some specific brews I recommend are Long Trail Double Bag (altbier), Fuller’s London Pride (English pale ale), Southern Tier IPA and Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale (American brown).
When i think of this type of dad, I’m thinking of a tie-wearing, scotch-drinking, cigar-smoking good ol’ boy. You’ll want to choose beer styles that can stand up to his evening whiskey. My recommendations in this case are barley wines and whiskey barrel-aged or imperial stouts. Barley wines tend to be rather bitter, unless aged, but a discerning dad like yours might be up for just such a challenge. Some barley wines I’d shoot for include Real Ale Brewing Co. Sisyphus and Stone Old Guardian. As for aged or imperial stouts, any bourbon or scotch loving father can appreciate their delicious depth. Notes of whiskey, oak, chocolate and coffee are the stars in these, overall, with high alcohol heat. I most definitely recommend Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Dogfish Head World Wide Stout and Oskar Blues Ten Fidy.
Sports Fanatic / On-the-Move Dad
This type of dad is always ready for a game of pick-up or off to watch his favorite team kick the crap out of their opponents. He needs session brews that quench his thirst and keep him ready for action. My favorite styles for this type of dad can best be described as "lawn mower" style brews that go down easy, no matter how hot and sweaty he gets. Kolsch, English bitter, pilsner and ultra pale ale are my suggestions as a gift for the on-the-go father. My favorite Kolsch style is Buffalo’s own Flying Bison Dawn Patrol Gold but most people will find real German Kolsch easier to come by. As for English bitter, I recommend both Old Speckled Hen and Goose Island Honker’s Ale. Fuller’s ESB is a classic too, of course. When it comes to pilsner, I’m not going to suggest any of the run-of-the-mill, mass-produced labels. My tops pilsners are Victory Prima Pils and Oskar Blues Mama’s Lil Yella Pils. If you’re wondering, these are the types of brews I started bringing to my daddy to try and they really hit the spot.
I know, I know – not all dads can be perfectly pegged into one of these 3 groups (believe me, I of all people know this) but hopefully with a bit of information behind each style, you might be able to discern a pleasant variety of craft beers that please his palate in ways only great beer can.
Cheers and to all the dads, Happy Father’s Day!