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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: Reb Ale (like those Rebel Black Bears!)

November 04, 2010 By: mike Category: FuzzyBrew Review, Travelin'

Lazy Magnolia's Reb AleBrewery: Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co.

Location: Kiln, Mississippi

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

ABV: 5.4%

IBU: 30

Fuzzy Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Until this weekend, I’d never tried any of Lazy Magnolia’s beers.

In Memphis, I don’t know of any places with Lazy Magnolia on tap. And the only bottled beer I see in stores is Lazy Magnolia’s Southern Pecan, quite possibly the only beer around brewed with whole roasted pecans. Since I am deathly allergic to nuts, this is one beer I can never try. (My friends would call that beer “Mikey Death.” In fact, I think Grant tried to kill me once with the Southern Pecan.)

So when I ventured this weekend to Oxford, I was thrilled to find a Lazy Magnolia beer that I could actually drink and live to write about: the Reb Ale.

The Reb Ale was Lazy Magnolia’s first recipe brewed for a specific location — in this case, Oxford and the Rebel Black Bear beer drinkers of the University of Mississippi.

Oxford is a special place, deeply rooted in history and a vibrant center for the arts and Southern culture. This special recipe was a way to thank the initial and continued support of Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company by the good folks in Oxford, as well as the throngs of Ole Miss Alumni who make annual trips to their alma mater,” according to Lazy Magnolia’s website.

I sampled my first Reb Ale at Ajax Diner and had more the next day at Proud Larry’s.

It’s a very crisp beer, with a nice balance of malts and hops. The website says it’s dry hopped for aroma, and I picked up on a bit of a piney scent, but not too much.

The beer is a nice amber color, and well carbonated. There is a hoppy bite to this beer, but overall it’s smooth and very drinkable.

I would definitely pick up a six-pack of the Reb Ale if I ever see it at the store.

If you’ve tried this beer, or just have something to say, please leave a comment below.