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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.

First taste: Modus Hoperandi clone

September 20, 2010 By: grant Category: Homebrew, Travelin'

Mike told you a few weeks ago about brewing and bottling our Modus Hoperandi clone, an American IPA by Ska Brewing out of Durango, Colorado.

Modus Hoperandi

I sampled a few of the brew while on a post-conference vacation in Frisco. It was a fairly fancy restaurant where everyone was drinking wine but I held strong and ordered an Odell IPA. The good man offered that I might like Modus Hoperandi instead.

“It’s very hoppy,” he said, “it comes in a can.”

Why sure, I’m game. Good choice.

Well, we only bottled about 20 days ago, but I could not help myself Sunday. Popped one in the fridge early in the day and waited as long as I could, which was after a couple Abita Purple Haze (left in my fridge by a sucker who shall remain nameless), so I suppose my palate could have been jacked.

It was decently carbed, an improvement over our Evil Twin red ale, which still hasn’t carbonated, though it tastes better each time I try one. Must learn to wait …

Modus Hoperandi clone

Popping the top produced a satisfying “tsspah” and a nice cloud of fog in the neck. I tried to play it cool and pour it correctly and got about a quarter-inch head. As I neared the end of the bottle it didn’t look like I was getting any yeast residue, so I got ambitious and poured the whole bottle into my glass. This was probably a mistake — the clarity wasn’t so great, but it eventually settled down to nearly clear. It actually did look exactly like the pint of the real deal up top.

The aroma was strongly hoppy enough that I just inhaled off the bottle, then the pint, for a good 30 seconds before I took a taste.

I think it’s gonna be a winner. No, it doesn’t really taste like the Modus Hoperandi I remember. It’s hoppy, sure, but it’s not as smooth and also somewhat hot, which is to say a bit of the alcohol came through. My original gravity was 1.064 and my final gravity was 1.012, so I should be hitting about 6.93 ABV. Modus is supposed to be 6.80. First similar brew that came to mind was Dogfish Head 90 Minute, because I thought that one was a bit hot, too. It’s 9.0 ABV. Hitting anywhere close to that fine brew seems pretty ambitious though. I’m willing to bet our clone will improve with time, if I can keep from drinking it all straightaway.

A close friend is coming into town tomorrow, so I’m going to toss a couple more in the fridge tonight and get her take on it. Good beer should be shared.