Torpedo

TorpedoBottleLG.jpgIf I could drink only one kind of beer for the rest of my life -- well, I suppose I'd be grateful to have that one! Especially if it wasn't the worst beer I've ever tasted, Chinese-market Suntory, which makes Shanghai's own watery REEB seem like a rich double-strength porter and is the only beer I've ever spit out.

But I would move to a different level of gratitude if that one fated beer turned out to be this beer -- Sierra Nevada's "Torpedo Extra IPA." More about the beer, and the meaning of "torpedo," here, here, here, here, and here.

Significance: Sierra Nevada has become a big national company, and Torpedo has entered its array of year-around beers. There are special, local, and seasonal beers that deserve great devotion. (Eg: Three Floyd's Alpha King.) But for now Torpedo is my nominee for the title of "most impressive beer from a generally-available nationwide brand."

See for yourself. Beer-porn photo  courtesy of Sierra Nevada. Click for even more lovingly detailed view.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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