Like many who are geeky about their suds, my tendency is to look for brews I've never tried. A lot of the exhilaration I get about a beer is seeking it out and tasting it for the first time. (Okay, so any subsequent buzz is nice side effect too.)
There comes a point, however, when one simply must reacquaint himself with old friends. Everyone has those friends. You haven't talked in months, but you know as soon as you see each other you'll pick right up where you left off. You never wonder if the other person is secretly holding a grudge or talks crap about you to their spouse. It's just that they're not in your life on a daily basis.
Here are a few beers I "caught up with" last week:
Retro Red from Fort Collins Brewery is not what you would typically identify with a red ale. It pours a dark ruby red with a big, full body and more malt sweetness than you'd expect. It's hopped, but not aggressively so. (If that's your preference, look for Odell's Extra Special Red.) For someone who lingers more on the dark end of the beer spectrum, it's a great beer for when the weather warms up and the grill gets put into service.
I've always been a big fan of Rogue (enough so that I made the drive to their brewery in depressing Newport, OR) and the Mocha Porter is my favorite of their standard line of beers. I almost always like a porter, and I especially like one with a hint of coffee and chocolate. Neither note is overwhelming; they are simply there to complement the brew--and they do so very nicely.
I remember my first purchase of this one. I was trying to decide between this and another beer, and I picked this one because it had a picture of a pointer on the label. My parents had a pointer for 16 years (RIP Sam). Ellie's Brown Ale from Avery is really tasty stuff. If you like browns, this should be in your rotation. It's on the hoppy side for the style, but this batch actually seemed to have less of a bite than in previous years. Regardless, a thoroughly enjoyable beer.
I forget about Bridgeport Brewing Company sometimes, which is a mistake because their Black Strap Stout is wonderful. I have had several people ask me where they could find this beer after bringing it to a couple events. It is a full-flavored stout with a lightly sweet start (it's brewed with Black Strap molasses) and faintly bitter finish from a good dose of hops. Yummy stuff, and it usually runs about $7.99 per six pack.