Dec 30, 2011

Favorite Beers of 2011

Along with the freshly posted Year In Review, it’s also time to note those brews which stood out over the past twelve months.. In no particular order (chronological in terms of post date perhaps) here are a few of my favorite beers. Please note that some of them were sent to me by breweries or other representative agencies for the specific purpose of review on this site. Most of them, however, I purchased with my own, hard-earned money.

Long Trail Imperial Porter
Easily one of the hoppiest baltic porters I’ve ever had, this beer continues to make an appearance in my fridge.

Mikkeller Nelson Sauvin Single Hop IPA
This was the first of many single hop beers that I enjoyed this past year. Unfortunately, I haven’t run into any of the other releases in this series from the gypsy brewer.

Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze
It may not have been my first gueuze, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t end up my favorite. After trying this beer, I revisited the shop where I purchased it and bought out their remaining stock.

Nøgne Ø Red Horizon
Of the two Nøgne Ø “horizon” beers I had this year, I expected the darker variety to be my favorite. Who knew? This was a tasty, tasty brew.

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum
As one of the more hyped IPAs released this year, Hoptimum certainly lived up to expectations. I was only able to grab a couple of bottles of this treat, but I enjoyed both of them probably a bit too much.

Le Saint-Bock Sacrilège
This beer came out of no where and surprised the hell out of me. Billed as an Imperial Stout, the beer ended up that and more with complex flavors that drove my tastebuds crazy. Sadly, I was only able to find the one bottle.

Karl Strauss Blackball Belgian IPA
The first of two beers to from Karl Strauss to make the list, this Belgian IPA is one of the better of the style that I’ve had the opportunity to drink through the years.

Crow Peak Pile O’ Dirt Porter
As much as I enjoyed the Long Trail porter, this offering from Crow Peak was my favorite porter of the year. Rich, earthy and in a can no less, this roasty brew more than hit the spot.

Firestone Walker Parabola
I’m a huge stout fan and have had my fair share through the years, but this barrel aged phenomenon from Firestone Walker shot to the top of the list with it’s full flavor and smoothness. I loved this beer!

Shipyard Smashed Blueberry
Who would have though that combining a porter and a scotch ale with fresh Maine blueberries would have created such an amazing beer? If you’ve got your hand up and your name isn’t Pugsley, you’re a liar.

Ommegang Gnomegang
Duvel Mortgat, the owners of the Ommegang and Chouffe brands delivered the perfect marriage of two of my favorite brews into this one, singular release. I just hope they make it again next year.

Flying Dog Imperial IPA (Simcoe)
As far as single hopped IPAs go, this one was other-worldly. It wasn’t in the least bit one-dimensional, instead bringing a myriad of flavors to the table all from a single hop variety.

Odell Brewing Woodcut #5
Not only was this beer tasty as hell, but it also highlighted just how cool Odell Brewing is as a company. Two bottles, two separate experiences, yet one amazing outcome.

Weyerbacher Insanity
I’ve had a couple of barrel aged barleywines and, aside from Firestone Walker’s Abacus, none of them has shined quite like this one from Weyerbacher.

Odell Brewing Friek
The only brewery to garner three spots in this list, Odell was more than kind enough to share this GABF gold medal winning sour.

Odell Brewing Bourbon Barrel Stout
Aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for four months, this stout served me well on the first ever International Stout Day.

Karl Strauss Two Tortugas
Two Tortugas is part of the brewery’s “12 Days of Christmas” series and ended up winning bronze at this years GABF in the Belgian-style Abbey Ale category. Oh, and it’s tasty too.

Flying Dog Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout
I actually got to try this one out twice this year and both times it was beyond delicious.

So there are my favorites for 2011. Parring down 183 official reviews was daunting, but I think this list summarizes the year up nicely. Any one else enjoyed one of the above beers or have one I should look out for next year?

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