After checking out all the end-of-year beer lists for 2010, we thought it would be cool to share each of our top five favorite beers of the year. We drank a lot of good beer in 2010, so this was a fun trip down memory lane.
1. Estate Homegrown Ale – Sierra Nevada. This beer explodes with resiny, grapefruity, wet-hopped goodness. The well-balanced, smooth malt backbone makes this a beer I could drink all night.
2. Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale – Stone Brewing. Whatever you want to call it – Black IPA, Cascadian Dark ale – it doesn’t matter. Roasted, chocolatey grains that you would expect in a stout or porter combined with the pine forest, citrus hop flavor of an IPA, resulting in a beer that is bad ass and unique.
3. Sorachi Ace – Brooklyn Brewery. The Sorachi hops are front and center for a lemony take on a Siason, a style known for bracing bitterness, spicy notes and a crisp dry finish. This beer was killer.
4. 30th Anniversary Brewers Reserve: Oak-Aged Ale - Sierra Nevada. Weirdly enough, of the four anniversary beers released this year, I was least excited to try this one. That’s why I’m learning not to trust my instincts. This beer is a blend of their Oak-aged Bigfoot, Celebration Ale and Pale Ale. They combine to make a tasty blend of oak, malt and hoppy goodness.
5. Sue – Yazoo Brewing. An imperial porter that has an incredible blend of chocolate and smoke. I was blown away the first time I had this at the Cooper Young Regional Beerfest.
Honorable mention: Odell IPA – Odell Brewing. Thank you for saving me my own bottle, Mr. Erskine.
1. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale – Bell’s Brewery. A really well-balanced AIPA that would be my everyday ale if I could buy it in Memphis.
2. Sweet Water IPA – Sweetwater Brewing. An explosion of grapefruit taste and floral aroma packed in a beer that goes down easy.
3. Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter – Flying Dog Brewery. The late Hunter S. Thompson graces the bottle’s label and proclaims, “Good people drink good beer.” And this is a really good Baltic porter: rich, roasted malt flavors with hints of molasses and a hell of a kick from the 9.2 ABV.
4. Odell IPA - Odell Brewing. A mix of citrus and piny hop flavor and aroma with a decent dose of malts. It does not disappoint.
5. Schafly Coffee Stout – The Saint Louis Brewery. First coffee stout I’ve ever tried and loved the smoky, rich coffee flavor with notes of sweetness from the oatmeal stout base.
1. Modus Hoperandi – Ska Brewing. Fantastic IPA I found on a trip to Colorado this past summer. The closest it’s available to Memphis is St. Louis. I made a decent clone, which started me on my quest to brew the perfect IPA. This is where the bar is set.
2. #9 – Magic Hat. I don’t actually remember when I had my first one of these, but it quickly became one of my favorites during this past summer’s ridiculous heat wave. It’s a tasty and crisp craft brew you can drink no matter how high the mercury rises. I made a pretty good clone a few months ago and have another in secondary fermentation right now.
3. Old Glory American Pale Ale – Great Dane Pub. Malty, hoppy totally drinkable brew from Madison, Wisconsin. It’s a British-style pale ale with American hops, whatever that means. Wish I could get it around here.
4. St. Vincent’s Dubbel – Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. Jeff gave Mike and I each one of these. Loved the crisp and sour taste. Luckily Mike cracked his open first to share so I still have one.
5. Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale – Lazy Magnolia. Really tasty brew from Mississippi (where homebrewing and over-5% ABV is illegal. WTF?) Also, fun to give people with nut allergies. This is why there is now an Epipen in the kitchen cabinet.
Honorable mention: Dry-hopped APA – Schlafly Beer. The first couple I had were fantastically hoppy but not too overwhelming. Unfortunately, sixers I’ve bought since indicate it doesn’t have a great shelf life, as the hop taste is muted. This is something we’ve noticed with our homebrewed IPAs, too.
What were the best beers you tried in 2010? Leave a comment below.