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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.

2010 end-of-year beer lists

January 01, 2011 By: mike Category: Beer in the news, Craft beer, Opinion

The past year was a great year for beer lovers in the U.S. as craft beer continued to gain in popularity. Here are some of the best beers brewed and other hoppy highlights from 2010, according to the experts of the Interwebs:

• The Beer Nut recaps his top 10 craft beers for 2010, from the East Coast to the West Coast. He also picks the 10 best breweries, topped by Sierra Nevada, which celebrated its 30 anniversary and released four special beers to commemorate the occasion.

• Wine Enthusiast Magazine named the Top 25 Beers of 2010 in a list that goes “beyond simple evaluation of numeric scores and pricing and also considered availability, buzz and balance.” Wine Enthusiast’s top-rated beer was Allagash Brewing Company’s Allagash Black, a Belgian-style stout described as “rich, roasty and immensely satisfying; also surprisingly easy to drink.” Sounds yummy.

• Last, but certainly not least, Evan Benn, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch beer columnist and Hip Hops blogger, named his 10 favorite beers for 2010. His list is definitely right in line with my tastes. Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale and Ska Brewing Company’s Modus Hoperandi, which came in at No. 8 and No. 6 respectively, were definitely some of the best beers I tried in 2010. Schlalfy’s Coffee Stout (No. 7 on the list) was also quite tasty, and I plan to brew a similar beer this weekend! And I’ll definitely have to try the Schlalfly American IPA when it comes out again in May, which is Numero Uno on his list.

What are the best beers you tried in 2010? Leave a comment below.

Memphis Oktoberfest

December 15, 2010 By: grant Category: Events, Homebrew, Memphis

I’m clearly behind in my brew blogging so file this under “trying to catch up.”

The last Saturday in September the Bluff City Brewers & Connoisseurs and friends gathered down on the docks at Mud Island for a delicious Oktoberfest celebration. There was quite a bit of excellent food, big ole sausages on the grill and such, and much homebrew to be had.

It was a beautiful day, too, and Mike Lee, proprietor of Mid-South Malts and treasurer of the Bluff City Brewers, took us out on the Mississippi in his big ole boat. The Modus Hoperandi clone was a hit too, which was a bonus.

It was a fun event — props to all for putting it on!

Oktoberfest

The gang

Modus Hoperandi clone competition results

October 28, 2010 By: grant Category: Competition, Homebrew

I entered my clone of Ska Brewing’s Modus Hoperandi in Nashville’s Music City Brewers‘ 15th Annual Music City Brew Off.

I wasn’t able to attend the fest as Carrie and I were up in Wisconsin (post coming soon!), but everyone from our club, Bluff City Brewers & Connissieurs, assures me that it’s a good time. Quick aside: The Cooper-Young Regional Beer Fest was the same weekend. I hope that’s not the case next year.

I think my clone is pretty good. It’s gotten a lot of compliments, but it definitely could be better. I scored a 28/50, which plants it firmly in the “Good” category. A 30 would have gotten me a “Very Good.” Two judges scored my beer indpendently — one gave me a 30 and the other a 27. The overall impression of the judge who liked it the most:

A very good IPA. A fairly dark and malty interpretation of the style but fairly well balanced. More hop flavor and aroma would really make this a great beer.

I thought it definitely could have used some more hop aroma, though I thought it was pretty hoppy.

From judge No. 2:

The nice pour led into that bittery metallic taste. More hop flavor is need to meet style.

I dunno what metallic taste he’s talking about, but the theme here is “more hop flavor.”

So the 5 gallons of beer fermenting in my garage fridge is a modified Modus — same malts (two-row pale, caramel 120°L, wheat), same hops (Cascade, Columbus and Centennial) plus a healthy dose of Chinook. The hop schedule has been switched up and spread out a good bit to have more hops going in on a continuous basis and more added toward the end for flavor and aroma.

Bout time to dry hop.