Jan 2, 2015

Favorite Beers of 2014

I decided to forgo the annual “Year in Review” — nothing really exciting was happening with the site for 2014 — but there was no way I wasn’t going to look back on the 229 beer reviews I published this year and attempt to highlight a few of my favorites. Below is a list (possibly in chronological order) of a few brews that left a lasting impression:

Sweetwater Brewing Johnny Hash
My first “hop hash” beer proved that you can never have enough oily, piney hops in your diet.

Hardywood Park Sidamo Coffee Stout
A big Russian Imperial Stout with smooth, earthy coffee that proved to warm nicely on a cold January evening.

Bear Republic Apex
An amazingly well balanced double IPA that I wish I had purchased more of when I had the chance.

Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Barleywine
A barrel-aged barleywine that really tasted like no other — rich and fruity.

Cigar City Jai Alai
I finally had a chance to drink this in 2014 and didn’t stop until it was out of season. Definitely a staple in The Barley household for the year.

Karl Strauss 25th Anniversary Doppelbock
Karl Strauss continued their run of stellar birthday brews with this bourbon barrel-aged doppelbock.

Allagash Coolship Resurgam
It met my high expectations and, as usual, Allagash more than exceeded them with this tasty gueuze.

Goose Island Gillian
One of the more well-rounded wild ales I’ve ever encountered. Excellent!

Avery Brewing Uncle Jacob’s Stout
Hands down, the best beer I drank all year and possibly the best stout I’ve ever had the opportunity to enjoy.

Karl Strauss Mosaic Session Ale
This was bar far and away the biggest surprise of 2014. Incredibly fruity and hop-forward.

Avery Brewing Rumpkin
Avery Brewing knows how to handle a barrel — plain and simple.

Oskar Blues Old Chub Nitro
The company took a decent Scotch Ale and made it out of this world — I drank a lot of this in the past few months.

Strangeways Brewing Placebo Pils
An over-hopped pilsner that I shouldn’t like, but really, really did.

Lickinghole Creek Bourbon Barrel Three Chopt Tripel
Easily my favorite beer from this Goochland, VA brewery — simply amazing.

Heritage Brewing Bourbon Barrel Aged Kings Mountain
Kings Mountain is a good Scotch Ale. This barrel-aged version was even better.

Hardywood Park Capital Trail Pale Ale
Another brew that came out of no where and made more appearances in my fridge than any other beer this year. Love this one.

Avery Brewing Rufus Corvus
I think this is the first year that a single brewery has showed up in my favorites list. Another barrel-aged masterpiece from this Colorado company.

Allagash Saison
A rustic, earthy saison that also made frequent appearances in the fridge.

Ithaca Beer Company Flower Power
This beer made a heck of an impression and then several more throughout the Summer.

Hardywood Park Bourbon Cru
I mentioned Avery as the first brewery to appear in this annual list three times. Might as well add this amazing Virginia brewery to share that honor with this big, bold Belgian-style ale.

Perennial Artisan Ales Sump
A big, rich and robust stout that was also incredibly smooth and deceptively drinkable. Loved it.

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