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FuzzyBrew’s Favorites for 2010

January 10, 2011 By: jeff Category: Craft beer, Opinion

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.

organic ale

Jeff’s picks

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.

Mike’s picks

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.

Grant’s picks

Modus Hoperandi1. 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.

FuzzyBrew Review: Estate Homegrown Wet Hop Ale

October 16, 2010 By: jeff Category: Craft beer, FuzzyBrew Review

sn homegrownBrewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Location: Chico, CA

Style: American IPA

ABV: 6.7%

IBU: 60

Fuzzy Rating: 5 out of 5

One of the benefits of belonging to the monthly beer club at Joe’s Wines & Liquor is that occasionally they send out e-mails when they get limited releases of certain beers. Club members get a few days’ head start on claiming the beers.  I’m new to the club so last month I thought they were bluffing when they said they had one case of Dogfish Head’s Bitches Brew and it would go fast.  I walked in the next day and was very disappointed to find out it was long gone.

So when I got an e-mail this week that they were getting 22 bottles of the Sierra Nevada USDA certified organic ale, the guy who answered the phone at the store was laughing because he literally thought he had just hit send on the e-mail when I called to reserve one.  My only regret now is I should have gotten more than one.

The barley and hops for this beer are both grown organically on the grounds of the brewery.  Apparently 35-4o acres were devoted to growing the barley with an additional 9 acres for hops (Cascade, Chinook and Citra).

This beer is a crystal clear coppery color with an insanely pungent grapefruit/limey aroma. The bitterness is well balanced with the malt.  For me what made this beer awesome were all the wet hop flavors.  Wet hopping is when the hops are picked and used for brewing without being dried.  The result being a beer with intense resiny, green flavor and aroma.  I’ve had their other wet hop harvest beers but this one is in a league of its own.

Sierra Nevada’s commitment to sustainable brewing practices is no joke.