Photo: Accidental Hedonist, Flickr
Trust us: Dad does not need another tie, much less after-shave. This Father's Day, instead of falling back on tired presents, give dear old dad a gift he might actually enjoy -- like an artisanal craft ale. Here are our 10 favorite boundary-busting craft beers guaranteed to make dad grin.
Three Floyds Dreadnaught Imperial IPA:
If your father likes his ales ludicrously hopped, look to Dreadnaught, the knockout punch from Munster, Indiana's Three Floyds brewpub. Clocking in at a cool 100 IBUs (the higher the IBU, the hoppier the beer), the 9.5 percent ABV IPA packs an aroma of mango, peaches and resin. On the tongue? Tons of citrus and caramel malt.
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast:
First thing in the a.m., what better gift to give your father than a bottle of Beer Geek Breakfast? In this eye-opening stout, the Danish brewery incorporates scads of fresh coffee, chocolate malts and oats. This gives the beer a big ol' body, with enough roasty bitterness and chocolate complexity to savor come morning or night.
Trappistes Rochefort 10:
One of the crown jewels of Belgian brewing, this Trappist-style quadrupel is not for the meek. Registering a wine-like 11.3 percent ABV, this boozy beauty pours a deep, intense brown with a nose that recalls dried fruit. The flavor flits from fig to nuts to chocolate, its complexity making you slow down and ponder each sip.
Heavy Seas Smoke on the Water:
Just in time for BBQ season, Baltimore's Heavy Seas has unveiled its latest special release, dubbed Smoke on the Water. The rich, full-bodied porter achieves its smokey accent thanks to a grain bill that includes smoked malt. SOTW is an able first mate to long-cooked ribs and other meaty, grilled delights.
Flying Fish Exit 6 Wallonian Rye:
The latest in the New Jersey brewers' tribute to the Garden State, Exit 6 takes drinkers to Burlington County, which was once settled by Dutch Walloons -- better known as Belgians. The ale's crafted with pale malt and spicy, locally grown rye, then fed Belgian yeast and finished with a trio of hops, including Japan's creamy, lemony Sorachi Ace.
Each year for its anniversary, the Boulder, Colorado, brewery whips up a weird and wonderful beer, from wild ales to weizenbocks to this dad-friendly doozy. Seventeen is a dark, roasty lager that pours the color of midnight. But it tastes as fresh as spring thanks to a heap of pungent hops.
Sierra Nevada Charlie Fred and Ken's Lager:
Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman, in conjunction with brewing legends Charlie Papazian and Fred Eckhart, concocted this beer in honor of the brewery's 30th anniversary. Though the bold imperial helles lager (helles is German for bright) has an 8.3 percent ABV, it drinks balanced and just a bit sweet, with a refreshing hit of floral hops.
Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale:
The farmhouse-style ale (a.k.a. saison) is gently spiced with black pepper, orange peels, grains of paradise and organic ginger, imparting an exotic edge that never gets overwhelming. Red Barn remains resolutely dry and thirst-quenching, packing an alluring perfume of tropical fruit.
This Portland, Maine, brewery makes pitch-perfect Belgian brews such as the wondrous White and my favorite, the corked Curieux. This sweetly potent Belgian-style Tripel spends extra time aging in used bourbon barrels. This imparts whiskey-like notes, transforming the beer and creating a uniquely American elixir.
Russian River Supplication:
While sour beers might not be for every father, few do them better than Russian River's Vinnie Cilurzo. Here, he doses a brown ale with a trio of wild yeasts (Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus), then ages it in French-oak pinot noir barrels alongside sour cherries. It's a tart, dry mouth-tingling tour de force.