In the beer world, the standard six-pack has become the norm for anyone looking for "nice" beers in the $6-to-$10 range. While many stores offer an impressive selection of such beers, there is another, far better option for those looking for the next level of beer-drinking experience that is only offered in larger, individual bottles.

Usually somewhere between 16 and 24 ounces, these large bottles are generally priced between $4 and $20. An average of somewhere around $6 a bottle means a six-pack of the beer would cost around $18, a sum that most consumers would find hard to swallow. What these larger-sized bottles allow breweries to do is sell their most cherished and special beers at a price that is more cost effective for the drinker, allowing us to sample some incredible beers without dropping $20.

Although larger supermarkets such as Hannaford and Shaw's do not usually stock such bottles, we are lucky to have two great resources for beer in Uncle Tom's market and Bootlegger's, which both offer an impressive selection of the larger sized bottles. Bootlegger's has done an especially good job of choosing a wide selection of styles and cost ranges among their 40 or so choices.

There are also a good deal of Belgian-style beers, both domestic and imported, that are typically only offered in the larger sized bottles due to their extensive bottle conditioning. Other styles and brands to try are definitely the Harpoon limited edition 200-barrel series (style varies month to month) and any of the Rogue beers.

St. Peter's Organically Grown English Ale ($3.99 for a 16.9 ounce bottle, Bootleggers)

By far the most aesthetically pleasing bottle of beer I have ever seen, the old-school oblong glass bottle and stylish green labels of the St. Peter's line of beers immediately caught my eye. This ale poured a reddish yellow exhibiting a wheat-beer type haze and a bready, relatively subtle aroma. The taste revealed a perfect blend of crisp, smooth body and great hop character that seemed many levels above many of the other English style ales I have imbibed. Although $3.99 for a little over a pint of beer is somewhat expensive, the beer was well worth the cost.

Stone Brewing Arrogant Bastard Ale ($4.99 for a 22 ounce bottle in CA)

"This is an aggressive beer. You probably won't like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth."

It is with these words, printed on the backside, that the Arrogant Bastard bottle mocks and challenges its customer, an interesting marketing technique that seems to be aimed at the adventurous and bold drinker. Classified as an American Strong Ale, the Arrogant Bastard boasts a 7.2 percent ABV, a huge malt opening and a burst of hops that is truly an experience. Worth the mocking, this is one of the best American ales I have ever tasted, with a huge amount of character that remains balanced throughout, definitely something I will look for in the future.

Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout ($5.99 for a 24 ounce bottle, in CT)

Among beers, stouts occupy the darkest of categories, and among stouts the imperial versions are the strongest and most flavorful. That said, the Yeti is truly a beer for those that really like beer; infinitely dark and complex it is light years from anything many of us have ever dared to try. Pouring viscous, thick and pure black, the Yeti screams flavor and depth with its overpoweringly roasty, coffee-like aroma. The taste follows suit, exhibiting a deep and roasted character, thick body and limitless flavor that ends with a surprising kick of hop character for such a beer. I would not recommend this beer to anyone who doesn't love dark beers, but for those of us who do it is truly a masterpiece.

Lindemans Framboise Lambic ($8.99 for a 750-ML bottle, Bootleggers)

At $9 for 750-MLs, the raspberry lambic was the clear frontrunner in cost among this batch. This lambic comes packaged in a wine-shaped bottle sealed with both a cork and a standard beer crown. Typically, lambics are allowed to spontaneously ferment (no yeast is added?brewers rely on wild yeast spores), and then aged for a long period at which time fruit can be added, yielding a complex beer with strong fruit flavor and a relatively low alcohol content. The raspberry character of the Lindemans is immediately apparent from the intensely fruity aroma to the deep red, cloudy color. Drinking more like a carbonated, slightly alcoholic cup of pure raspberry juice, the lambic balances the fruits sweetness and tartness well with the subtle malt and body. While the two previous beers may be suited only for those of us who truly love beer, I would find it hard for anyone?even those poor souls who dislike the taste of beer?to not fully enjoy this lambic.