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I am married to a beer drinker and, before him, I dated beer drinkers. Men who, for better or for worse, had a soft spot in their hearts for Guiness, say, or anything in a can. Or, in the case of my husband, IPAs, the bitterest, nastiest beer that ever did brew.

I met Jeff at a party, and I wanted to bring beer as a thank you to my friend for hosting. However, I didn’t really like beer all that much. So I went to a grocery store and put together a six-pack based solely on label pictures and beer names. (The only one of the six I still remember, for some reason, is “He’Brew, the chosen beer.”)

Fast forward nearly four years later, and I could put together a six-pack just for me. I like beer. I prefer it to wine. It’s hard for me to get drunk on it, as after two, I’m full and done, but I enjoy the flavors. When I take a sip of one of Jeff’s especially nasty IPAs, the face I make isn’t even as brutal as it once was. (No joke, when we started dating, he once asked a bartender for an IPA, who blinked at him [how this woman became a bartender is beyond me — must have had good knockers]. So he told her, “Give me beer that would make my girlfriend’s face do this.” And then he did this.)

On Saturday, Jeff, his brother and I did the bonfire thing (my absolute favorite way to spend a late Saturday night), and I came this-close to making my own six-pack, just for me. None of his crappy beers in there — just stuff Jac likes. (But then I saw a giant bottle of Pumpking, said “OMG, it’s fall, boooo” and bought the crap out of it … and with a bottle that size, I didn’t need five more.)

But I’ve been thinking about what will go into my make-your-own six pack when I finally get around to it. And what you will find in there is (in no particular order):

  • Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. At least two places in town have this God-nector on tap, and I love them for it. It’s the darkest beer in color I’ll drink, but it doesn’t have any of the bitterness or nasty aftertaste I associate with dark beers. Instead, the aftertaste is one of, yes, bourbon, because this beer is brewed in old bourbon barrels. (This is an English strong ale with a creamy mouth-feel [god, what a ridiculous phrase …])
  • Flying Dog’s In-Heat Wheat Hefeweizen. I adore Hefeweizen beers. The flavor is fantastic and seems to have a bit of fruit in there. I tasted this for the first time at a local bar. My brother-in-law ordered it, and I took a sip. I proceeded to have beer-envy for

    I would totally put this in a six-pack of beers with awesome labels and weird names, too.

    the rest of the meal. (And because I know nothing about beer, I’m looking it up: A hefeweizen is a wheat beer [makes sense, these are the first non-berry beers I liked]. They are sweet, fruity and full-bodied.) See also: Weihenstephaner Hefe WeissbierΒ (gesundheit). Weinstephaner is the oldest brewery in the world, in Germany, and that makes me feel fancy pants for liking it.

  • Dos Equis lager. This is a beer I don’t need to have a taste for. I just like it all the time. I suppose it’s my go-to beer. It’s always good. (Lagers are an overarching beer type that include a number of popular types, like bocks and pilsners. They’re fermented and conditioned at low temperatures.)
  • Shiner Boch. When my bestie visited last year and I asked her what she drank, this was her request. I’d never had it. I drank a bottle. And I was hooked. Not bitter or any of the terms I’ve always associated with darker-in-color beers. Just tasty. (This is an amber lager.)
  • Goose Island Sofie. I discovered this two weeks ago visiting a friend in Chicago. I’m a fan of Goose Island’s 312 (that’s “three-one-two, a Chicago area code, not “three-twelve”), so I figured I’d give Sofie a try. It didn’t hurt when the bartender told me the beer is aged in wine barrels, so it has a surprising, delicious wine’y aftertaste. (This is apparently a “saison,” French for “season.” A saison beer is a fruity, spicy pale ale.)
  • Let’s call this my rotating spot. I love me a Blue Moon with an orange slice, and a Corona with a lime and sprinkle of salt. Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss is the beer that made me like beer, and I about did a jig of glee when I saw Southern Tier’s seasonal Pumpking had hit shelves this weekend. Stella Artois, similar to Dos Equis, is a great go-to beer.

What would you put in your six-pack?

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