Archive for the tag “top 10”

Top 10 Beers of 2014

Top10-2014

Another year in the books, and plenty more beer in our bellies.  We have had another wonderful year of beer adventures, starting in January with The Art of Beer event at McClellan, and continuing with San Francisco and Sacramento Beer Weeks, our trip to Portland, the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp, and our many daytrips and weekend voyages to San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Mill Valley, Albany, Walnut Creek, Chico, Rocklin, Folsom, Davis, and various other points across Northern California.

More great beer is being brewed, poured, and sold in our neck of the woods than ever before, so we have had the opportunity to try a lot of amazing brews in 2014.  The following is a list of the ten best beers that we tried for the first time in 2014, with an addendum list of 10 more sublime first-timers.  To be fair, we have omitted some “world famous” heavy hitters, such as Marshall Zukov’s Imperial Stout from Cigar City, Hill Farmstead’s Arthur, Cherry Adam From the Wood by Hair of the Dog, and Dogfish Head’s 18% ABV Worldwide Stout.  We also excluded any excellent beers that only one of us tried (e.g., Triple Voodoo King Leopold w/ coffee, and Drake’s Jolly Rodger 2014), since we are trying to build a His & Hers consensus list.

Finally, in order to spread the love around a little, we elected to only allow one beer per brewery.  That posed an immense problem with San Francisco-based Cellarmaker Brewing, since they have quickly become our favorite NorCal brewery, and we have collectively sampled and loved over two dozen of their beers this year (only the coconut-heavy ABV monster Blammo! was divisive – She adored it, He found it sickly-sweet).  If we are being 100% honest, we would have no issue filling this top 10 + 10 with 20 off-the-charts brilliant Cellarmaker beers.  We could have gone with the smoked coffee porter Imperial Coffee and Cigarettes, the chewy oatmeal stout Walker, SoMa Ranger, the tart saison Beertender’s Breakfast, and then fill most of the rest of the list with their amazing hop experiments, such as Mo’ Nelson, No Nelson Left Behind, Highway to the Danker Zone, Dank Williams, Tiny Dankster, Spear or Culture, and Christopher Riwakan.  Therefore, we have decided to name Cellarmaker our MVP Brewery of the Year – just go to Cellarmaker, find a seat, sample every beer on tap, and enjoy your new life.

MVP Brewery of the Year

With Cellarmaker excluded from “competition,” here were the best beers that we both tried for the first time this year (in alphabetical order, w/ brewer in parentheses): 

The Ten Best

  1. Arctic Soiree (Grassroots Brewing)
  2. Black Belle Imperial Stout (Blackstone Brewing Company)
  3. The Conversion (Logsdon Farmhouse Ales)
  4. Egregious (The Rare Barrel)
  5. El Guapo (Flat Tail Brewing)
  6. Narwhal Bourbon Barrel-Aged (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.)
  7. Pater (Cascade Brewingalthough at least a half dozen more of the beers we tried at their PDX brewery could have made this list)
  8. Pinchy Jeek (Anderson Valley Brewing Company)
  9. Syndicate #2 (Speakeasy Ales & Lagers)
  10. Valley of the Hearts Delight (Almanac Beer Company)

Ten More Sublime First-Timers

  1. Agave Maria (The Lost Abbey)
  2. Agrestic (Firestone Walker Brewing Company)
  3. Christmas Bomb (Prairie Artisan Ales)
  4. Extremely Angry Beast (Clown Shoes Beer)
  5. Four Play (Upright Brewing Company)
  6. Lucybelle (Sante Adairius Rustic Ales)
  7. Matt’s Burning Rosids (Stone Brewing Company)
  8. Rue d’Floyd (The Bruery with 3 Floyds Brewing Co.)
  9. Saison (Woodfour Brewing Company)
  10. Trader Session IPA (Uinta Brewing Co.)

Top 10 Beers of 2013

Top10-2013

We were lucky enough to drink so many great beers for the first time in 2013, we had to find ways to pare this list down to a reasonable number.  For that reason, we decided to omit from consideration any beers that we tasted solely through the generosity of others.

For example, our friend Nick leapt into the world of beer trading this summer, and he was kind enough to allow us to taste such Beer Advocate Top 100 mainstays like Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Three Floyds Zombie Dust, Heady Topper, and Perennial Abraxas.  Meanwhile, our beer bar owner friends Clay and Rob gave us the opportunity to sample such legendary beers as Three Floyds Dark Lord (a 2010 vintage that was truly the best beer we had all year), Allagash FV13, and Cascade’s Kriek and Vlad the Imp Aler.  Our Michigan native friend Matt brought us Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and Founders Centennial IPA back from a holiday trip home.  None of those beers were considered for our list.

For the sake of inclusion, we also left off any new vintages of classic beers we’ve tried before, such as Black Butte XXV, The Abyss 2013, or Dark Horizon 4th Edition.  Additionally, we omitted any beers that only one of us was able to try, such as Drake’s Blue Bottle Coffee Imperial Stout, the Danish “Atheist” Imperial Stout Gudelos, Jester King Black Metal, or the Harviestoun Old Dubh 18 Year.

Within those parameters, these are our consensus best beers that we tried for the first time in 2013:

Top 10*

  • AK Alive! (Mikkeller/Anchorage)
  • Breakfast Stout (Founders)
  • Double Eye PA (Mikkeller)
  • Farkin Wheaton w00t Stout (Stone)
  • Imperial Biscotti Break (Evil Twin)
  • Pupil/Apprentice IPA’s (Societe)
  • Pure Hoppiness (Alpine)
  • Saison-Brett (Boulevard)
  • Salty Beard (Solemn Oath)
  • Triple Olde Gnarlywine (Lagunitas)

*In Alphabetical Order.

10 More Amazing Beers

  • Almanac Beer Company sour beers
  • Berserker (Midnight Sun)
  • Café Racer 15 (Bear Republic)
  • Czar (Avery)
  • Dark beers by Clown Shoes – including Vampire Slayer, Very Angry Beast, Blaecorn Unidragon and Porcine Unidragon
  • Hop Zombie (Epic)
  • Prairie Bomb (Prairie)
  • Sans Pagaie (The Bruery)
  • Steel Dawn (Columbus)
  • SweetWater B.A. IPA (SweetWater)

Top 10 Beers of 2012

2012We sampled a lot of amazing beers in 2012, and thanks in large part to this blog, we have met a lot of wonderful new people.  When compiling this list of our top beers of 2012, we eschewed any pretense of objective analysis, and simply chose our most mutually memorable first-time beer experiences.  Cheers to another year of great beer!

OUR TOP 10 BEERS OF 2012:

Adam/Fred (Hair of the Dog Brewing Company – 12 oz. bottles, purchased at The Bruery Provisions, Orange)

Black Butte XXIV (Deschutes Brewery – 22 oz. bottle, purchased at Taylor’s Market)

Boda Savaje (Peruvian wedding beer home brewed by Marie – draft, sampled at Scott and Becky’s wedding)

Dos Cone Es – aged on oak chips (Cismontane Brewing Company – draft, purchased at Beer Revolution, Oakland)

Enjoy By 09.21.12 IPA (Stone Brewing Company – 22 oz. bottle, purchased at Stone Brewery, Escondido)

Every Man’s DIPA (Societe Brewing Company – draft, purchased at Blind Lady Ale House, San Diego)

Jack N Jolly (Drake’s Brewing– draft, purchased at The Page, San Francisco)

Old Stock Ale (2009) Cellar Reserve (North Coast Brewing – 16.9 oz. bottle, purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe)

Smoking Wood – Bourbon Barrel-Aged (The Bruery – purchased at The Bruery Tasting Room, Placentia)

Sweet and Sour (HaandBryggeriet – 16.9 oz. bottle, purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe)

IN A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN… 

Pliny the Younger (Russian River Brewing Company)

Trappist Westvleteren 12

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Anniversary Barley Wine (Uinta Brewing)

Black Hole (Mikkeller)

Elliot Brew (De Struise Brouwers/Mikkeller collaboration)

FiringsQuad (Alpine Beer Company)

Imperial Smoked Porter (Sierra Nevada Brewing Company)

Jewbelation 15 (He’Brew Beer)

Madrugada Obscura (Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales)

3 Days (Hitachino Nest Beer)

URKontinent (Dogfish Head)

Waldo’s 420 Ale (Lagunitas Brewing Company)

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