One of life’s great pleasures after fishing—assuming you’re of age—is sipping, or if it has been a broiler out there, downing in precious few swigs, a cold one of your favorite brand. That is, if you have a favorite.

In the self-interest of maybe discovering a great beer or ale I’ve somehow overlooked, I’ve begun taking a random, scientifically flawed survey among fishermen about their favorite brews. After digging a bit into those brand choices and reasons for them, I’ve made the sad discovery that in the end, most guys and many (though not all) ladies have locked into a specific beer brand based on reasons other than taste. And if that brand isn’t available, why they’ll be content with most any of the mainstream products available in order to quench thirst or to socialize—unless of course he or she falls into that pale sub-category who favors light beer (however it may be spelled), in which case it has to be a light.

Now I know a lot of you out there like the light stuff, so I won’t go ranting against its existance, but I’d surely like to know why you like it. I suppose there’s justification for a less-than full-flavored brew if you’ve just come in from baking in 90-plus-degree heat all day and need to consume a beer in maybe four gulps. I’ve been known to do that in the Bahamas and have no gripe with the local Kalik beer then—or even later. Back home a normal Corona (no lime; I like beer taste) or a regular Heiniken is about as light as I can stand to go.

Day in and out, though, I want big flavor and for me that translates into the tangy bitterness of hops. Because of that you’ll usually find me reaching for an IPA (India Pale Ale) of one brand or another, in a long neck, please, never a can. I like a lot of home grown IPA’s out there, but among my all -time favorites (when I can find the stuff) are Long Trail unfiltered IPA (made in VT), DogFish Head 60-minute brew (made in Delaware, and I don’t need to spend the extra $ for the 90-minute version ), and Fisherman’s IPA (by Cape Ann Brewing Co., Gloucester, MA). Don’t try this last if you don’t have time to slowly decant it into a large mug. It has a non-ending head that would give the Energizer Bunny pause. I happen to like that. Sure, there are lots of local IPA’s built in the Midwest and West, many of them excellent. And if it’s not the heart of summer or I’m about to segue into a serious meal, a Guiness Stout from the tap will please me to no end.

Like I said, I’m into this beer survey thing and would like to hear about your favorite. If there are enough votes for a beer not on my hit list, why I just might be tempted to switch.

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