That being said, here's my list:
TOP TEN ALES AND LAGERS
part one, first entries of each.
1. Balik Beer
There's a seafood place at Heathrow Airport in London that serves this beer. I do not remember the name of the place, but if you're in Heathrow, you should see it. It's basically a seafood bar with tons of caviar, smoked salmon and that kind of thing. Not cheap. But, they weren't as crowded as all the other places, presumably because of the expense, and I was able to relax there for a while. Smoked salmon accompanied by this beer rocks. Honestly, it does not taste like an ale. It tastes like a very strong lager. But, this is based on a Porter recipe, or so they say, and lager did not exist when this style originated and porter is also an ale, so I list it here. It's very clean and extremely strong. Made in Switzerland.
Here's their writeup:
Take your time for an exclusive expedition to the BALIK world of delights.
Just as BALIK, our "classic", this special beer has been brewed according to an old Russian porter recipe with brown malt, Russian kwas, hops and water from BALIK's own source at Ebersol.
It then matured during one year in old oak butts and received individual care up to its maturity. Its has been brewed and bottled in limited quantities at the brewery Locher at Appenzell. This brewery with 125 years of experience and family tradition stands for first class quality and natural taste. This very demanding procedure gives the BALIK BEER its noble and characteristic sherry taste and its amber colouring. But this sparkling BALIK BEER may reserve you some surprise. With 11 %vol. of alcohol, it compares much more with a wine than with traditional beer. It as been created not simply as a common beverage, but to accompany harmoniously our BALIK salmon. We recommend to drink BALIK BEER cool, at a temperature of 12° C. BALIK BEER should be stored in a dark place. When stored, the quality of the beer will improve yearly and its taste will become more and more harmonious.
1. Rogue Brewing's Morimoto Imperial Pilsner
There's a brewery on the coast in Newport, Oregon called Rogue that is known for taking brewing risks. The brewer, John Maier, is renowned amongst brewers for trying interesting combinations of ingredients and being willing to risk certain death in bending the rules or rediscovering old recipes or techniques. He also usually adds a lot more hops than a traditional recipe may call for. For many beers this is good, though this is not always the case. This particular beer is really great, though, and where I live, in Santa Monica, is available at Whole Foods. Luckily!
Here's their writeup:
Imperial Pilsner, part of the Morimoto Signature Series, was launched in September 2003. The beer was selected by internationally acclaimed Chef Masaharu Morimoto--a James Beard awarded chef and one of the stars of the Food Network series, Iron Chef.
Brewed with four ingredients: 100% French Pilsner Malt, 100% Sterling Hops, Free Range Coastal Water and Czech Pilsner Yeast. Imperial Pilsner is golden in color with a dry hop floral aroma and intense hop bitterness supported by a big malty backbone. Available in a swing-top 750 mil ceramic bottle.
To learn more about the Chef, visit Morimoto's web page.
Measurements: 18 degrees Plato, IBU 74, Apparent Attenuation 80, Lovibond 16 degrees, 8.8% ABV
No Chemicals, Additives, or Preservatives