In the world of beer, there are some styles that work with just about anything. They’re the Kevin Bacon or Samuel L. Jackson of beers. Based on over 50,000 votes on What to Brew, here are the top 4 most flexible beers.
4. Blonde Ale, 57% good votes
This is a balanced brew, so no big flavors to get in the way of your additions. It really lets your addition shine. Top additions are citrus. or tart, like orange peel, grapefruit or cranberry. Sweeter fruits like peach are surprisingly low, as are spices like cinnamon or cardamom. Ginger and rhubarb are 2 surprisingly high additions. Read more about Blonde Ale additions.
3. Belgian Tripel, 58% good votes
This is a stronger beer, both in alcohol and flavor. It makes it a bit trickier to pair things with, but that doesn’t stop people. Additions are rated either very highly, or very poorly. Additions like orange peel and seeds of paradise that are common in other Belgian beers are rated highly, and the top rated additions lean more towards spices than fruits. Some surprises are bourbon and pecan, neither of which I have seen or would have thought of. Read more about Belgian Tripel additions.
2. Witbier, 59% good votes
Another Belgian beer, but as it is less intense than the Tripel, it is slightly more flexible. It strongly leans towards fruits, with the top 9 ranked additions all being fruits. Cherry, blueberry and strawberry, however, both come in quite low. Read more about Witbier additions.
1. Saison, 63% good votes
In some ways, a saison is the perfect compromise between #2 witbier and #3 Tripel. It has a strong flavor profile, but one that seems to work well with many flavors- it’s definitely an outlier statistically. Lemon pepper and coriander are obvious additions rated highly, but so are fruits. Cherry and blueberry are much higher than with the witbier. While spices aren’t at the top of the saison list, there are some that on any other list would be quite near the top, like green tea or chai. Read more about Saison additions.
Of the top four, three are Belgian styles, and only one is a neutral canvas for your additions. Even among the Belgian styles, there was a great deal of difference of whether fruits or spices would best blend with the style.