Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Eric's Top 10 New Beers OF 2014

So to wrap up the year I've got a couple of annoying Top 10 Lists coming up for you!  I do these not as definitive best of all time lists, but more as an exercise in remembering some of the stand-out beers, breweries, etc. from the past year.  I'll be posting some more over the coming few days.

Top 10 NEW Beers I Tried In 2014

1) Perrennial Barrel Aged Abraxas: I tried this beer at the release party during the filming of the Limited Release show with Rob and Ron.  Not only was this one of the best beer events I went to this past year, the beer blew my mind.  Huge and complex, this spiced RIS aged in bourbon barrels was the Top O' The Mountain for me.  This is not only my favorite beer of the year but my favorite beer EVER.

2) Side Project Fuzzy: On that same trip to Perennial we got to try a couple of brewer Cory King's Side Project Brewery beers.  This insanely tart sour was like getting socked in the face with the world's biggest peach.  OMG time.

3) Tilquin Quetsche:  A relatively new lambic producer in Brussels, this young blender is taking all his cues from the classics like Cantillon but doing something all his own.  This sour blended ale is made with purple plums and is like nothing else I have had.

4) Cantillon Zwanze 2012: This is a rhubarb lambic, and as such is intensely sour.  But sooooo good for a sourhead like me.  While I had better Cantillon beers there (Lou Pepe Kriek) I've had those before so this one is the best new beer I tried from them.

5) Allagash Coolship Red:  I had to go to Belgium's Night of Great Thirst sour beer festival to try this American version of a fruit lambic.  I would put it up against almost any of the Belgians I tried there.  

6) Bent Paddle Double Shot: This was their barrel aged Double Black with cold press coffee, served at Autumn Brew Review and was my favorite of the festival.  I may have gone back like 6 times for more.  Sorry if you got there late and missed it...I probably drank yours!

7) Steel Toe Sticker Fight: A new double IPA that really hits my particular sweet spot when it comes to that style.  I like it better than the Size 11.  Call me crazy.

8) Upland Persimmon: This was shared with me by Andrew G. and was so unusual and intense that it stands out as one of the best sours I've had.

9) Poltergueuze: A homebrewed 2 year blend served to me at NHC Club Night this year.  Certainly the best homebrewed sour I have ever had.  

10) The Brew Gentlemen's There Was Only Fire: A chipotle double IPA that shouldn't have worked but was so balanced that it actually worked.  This one makes the list for being so ballsy!

Last Minute Honorable Mention:  Surly's Todd The Axe Man.  I just tried this yesterday at the brewery (might have had two...) and was really impressed.  This is what I wanted Overrated to be like!

Overall, a hard list to make.  I've had some better ranked beers during the year that I've had before, but I set myself the goal of NEW beers (to me) this time to let some new blood into the list!  Looking at the finished list, I notice that many of these beers were tried at events or shared with others.  The situation will often color or enhance the enjoyment of a beer, making it stand out in your mind beyond the simple taste memory.  You will also notice that all my favorite styles of beer are represented: RIS, DIPA, and sours galore.  All of these beers I would actively search out and drink the heck out of if given the chance!  Unfortunately only three of these are available now in Minnesota: Sticker Fight at the Steel Toe taproom, Todd The Axe Man at the Brewery, and I just picked up an expensive bottle of Tilquin at The Four Firkins this past week.

Any thoughts on this list, or do you have a top 10 list you want to share?  I'll also be posting a Minnesota specific list later in the week...


Translucent said...

Persimmon, Tilquin Quetsche, BA Abrax, and Double shot would all make my list as well. I'd have to replace your Zwanze 2012 with a Zwanze 2014 since i haven't had the '12.
add a Drie Fonteinen Tomme Blend, Hill Farmstead Anna, Star of The North Brunette, Rumking 2014, and Darkness 2014 (bottled version) as my tops. I'm looking forward to the new sour program at the Coop brewery from Caleb and Levi (as well as their future brewery whenever they get there) and also looking forward to the O'So barrel Project operated by Levi Funk north of Madison Wisconsin in the upcoming year. The Wild Ale programs starting to pop up in the U.S are getting pretty impressive.

Adam J said...

Haha,, my beer is number 9 of a list of those amazing beers?

Eric, glad you enjoyed the Poltergueuze at NHC.