Friday, December 17, 2010

25 Best New American Beers of 2010

I am blatantly stealing this posting for Paste magazine. Though I'm not a hoppie beer drinker, and don't agree with the entire list, some of these are definitely on my personal list!

We limited our list to American beers that were released to the public for the first time in 2010. Whether you love hoppy IPAs or malty Russian stouts, you should be able to make a new favorite discovery from the beers below.

Here are the 25 Best New American Beers of 2010:

25. Lukcy Basartd Ale
Brewery: Stone
Location: San Diego, Calif.
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 8.5%
Blended beers are coming in vogue, and Stone has mixed Arrogant Bastard Ale and Double Bastard Ale with a hint of Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale. That’s a whole lot of Bastards.

24. Super Friends IPA
Brewery: Ithaca/Ommegang/Capt Lawrence/Flying Fish/Southampton
Location: All over the U.S.
Style: American IPA
ABV: ?
This beer was brewed by the Justice League in Superman’s fortress of solitude—or at least through a collaboration of epic proportions. Wild yeasts and Citra hops made it as delicious as it is unusual.

23. Rumpkin
Brewery: Avery
Location: Boulder, Colo.
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 13.8%
Our forefathers brewed with pumpkin. Adam Avery aged his version in bourbon. The result is everything that’s great about the style, autumn and barrel aging. But it’s a draft-only offering.

22. The Oracle
Brewery: Bell’s Brewery
Location: Kalamazoo, Mich.
Style: American Imperial IPA
ABV: 10.4%
Kudos to Bell’s for not naming their double IPA the Giant Hoppy Hop Demon of Hops. Subtlety lives. It’s a Double IPA. If you’re not expecting in-your-face hops, here’s hoping you like bitter pineapple-y, citrus-y goodness anyway. *Available in limited quantities in Michigan in 2009.

21. Yakima Glory
Brewery: Victory Brewing
Location: Downington, Penn.
Style: Black IPA
ABV: 8.7%
This is a battle between Washington hops and German malts. USA wins in a landslide.

20. Tumbler Autumn Brown
Brewery: Sierra Nevada
Location: Chico, Calif.
Style: American Brown Ale
ABV: 5.5%
California fall proved to be just the mellower Sierra Nevada needed to scale back the hops and produce a malty beer, that packs a lot of flavor into a 5.5% beer.

19. La Parcela
Brewery: Jolly Pumpkin
Location: Dexter, Mich.
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 6%
Strangely enough, Jolly Pumpkin hadn’t released a pumpkin beer until this year. Brewed back in 2008, the spiced ale has been aging in oak and has hints of the Michigan brewery’s signature tartness.

18. Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead
Brewery: Left Hand
Location: Longmont, Colo.
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.2%
With seven malts releasing their flavor during a year in barrels, this is not a beer to approach lightly. Look out Baltic states; Russian imperialism is alive and well.

17. Back in Black
Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery
Location: San Francisco, Calif.
Style: Black IPA
ABV: 7%
The battle wages on between Black IPAs and Cascadian Dark Ales, but when a brewer like 21A puts a tasty Black IPA in a can, everybody wins.

16. Rogue 21
Brewery: Rogue Brewery
Location: Newport, Ore.
Style: Old Ale
ABV: 8%
Brewmaster John Maier celebrated the 21st anniversary of the Oregon Brewers Fest with a 14-ingredient beer that includes licorice and molasses. It was also his 21st different beer at the fest.

15. Brooklyn Sorachi Ace
Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery
Location: Brooklyn
Style: Saison
ABV: 7.6%
Scotch has its single malts and now breweries like Mikkeller and Brooklyn are introducing the single-hopped beer. The Japanese strain actually had parents from Britain and the Czech Republic for those of you who care about pedigree. Anyone? No, well, just know that it’s a lemony unfiltered farmhouse ale with a distinct flavor. *This one started trickling out on draught in 2009, but was first bottled this past May.

14. Zuur
Brewery: Ommegang
Location: Cooperstown, N.Y.
Style: Flemish Sour
ABV: 6%
A collaboration and a blend, Ommegang partnered with a 331-year-old Belgian brewery. Starting with Brouwerij Liefmans’ open-fermented Oud Bruin and kriek-style Cuvee Brut, Ommegang then aged it with cherries for a year. And that’s just phase one.

13. Saison du Buff
Brewery: Victory, Stone, Dogfish Head
Location: All over the U.S.
Style: Saison
ABV: 6.8%
A beer nearly a decade in the making, this saison is an example of what happens when great minds think alike. Each brewery released the exact same recipe—with parsley, sage, estate rosemary and thyme—brewed at each location, but the flavors still varied. It would be interesting to see the water/equipment variables.

12. Barrel-Aged Sexual Chocolate
Brewery: Foothills
Location: Winston-Salem, N.C.
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.8%
Sexual Chocolate is pure chocolatey stout goodness. After hearing about a barrel-aged version, hundreds drove to Winston-Salem to stand in line for hours to get their hands on a bottle. They weren’t disappointed.

11. Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
Brewery: Cigar City
Location: Tampa, Fla.
Style: Oatmeal Brown Ale
ABV: 5.5%
The name really gives this one away. The unique flavor comes from raisins, vanilla, cinnamon, and oatmeal blending nicely with a brown-ale backbone.

10. Gubna
Brewery: Oskar Blues
Location: Lyon, Colo.
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 10%
The Gubna Imperial IPA is a hyper-hopped beer, with Summit Hops in the boil and post-fermentation dry-hopping taking the IBU up over 100. But German Dark Munich Malt and Rye Malt balance the flavor, giving the front end a touch of sweetness. And it smells like a grapefruit, God’s own blend of sweet and bitter.

9. Splinter Blue
Brewery: Tröegs Brewing
Location: Harrisburg, Penn.
Style: American Wild Ale
This limited release sold out in about two hours. Starting with Dreamweaver, the brewery added tart cherries and Brettanyomyces and matured it in wood.

8. Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout
Brewery: Terrapin
Location: Athens, Ga.
Style: Milk Stout
ABV: 6%
Remember when you used to pour Hershey’s syrup into a tall, cold glass of milk? Well, Terrapin isn’t interested in your six-year-old taste buds, opting instead for cocoa nibs and shells from the Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Company. Growing up doesn’t mean abandoning sweets.

7. Bitches Brew
Brewery: Dogfish Head
Location: Rehoboth Beach, Del.
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 9%
This beer began as just a cool homage to the jazz great Miles Davis. Then the Discovery Channel’s Brew Masters sent the honey- and gesho-root-brewed stout’s popularity through the roof.

6. Lips of Faith Vrienden
Brewery: New Belgium, Allagash
Location: Fort Collins, Colo.
Style: American Wild Ale
ABV: 8.5%
Don’t you love it when two people you’re crazy about hit it off? We feel the same way about breweries. Allagash and New Belgium were sitting in a tree…wait, what rhymes with Vrienden? All we know is that there was a whole lot of Belgian going on to get this beer with hibiscus flower and Brettanomyces.

5. Little Sumpin’ Wild
Brewery: Lagunitas
Location: Petaluma, Calif.
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
ABV: 8.9%
You take a popular hoppy pale wheat ale, pinch a Westmalle yeast from Belgium, and what do you get? Sumpin Wild, & Sumpin tasty.

4. Bourbon County Vanilla Stout
Brewery: Goose Island
Location: Chicago, Ill.
Style: American Imperial Stout
ABV: 13%
The Bourbon County series is insanely popular for lovers of barrel-aged beers. How do you top it? Add vanilla beans, then drool.

3. Provisions Series: Premiere
Brewery: The Bruery
Location: Placentia, Calif.
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
ABV: 10.4%
A couple of years in, and The Bruery just gets better and better. This harder to find bourbon-barrel aged edition in the Provisions Series commemorated the opening of a new tasting room/bottle shop in Old Towne Orange. If it were possible, I would have cut the bottle open to get every last taste of vanilla and light malts.

2. Nemesis 2009
Brewery: Founders
Location: Grand Rapids, Mich.
Style: Wheatwine
ABV: 13%
Yes, we know this is a 2010 list! But Founders released two beers in the Nemesis series this year. The 2009 batch just needed a little extra time and shipped earlier this year. It was a phenomenally big wheatwine matured in both bourbon barrels and maple-syrup barrels in a cave for about a year.

1. Surly Four
Brewery: Surly Brewing
Location: Brooklyn Center, Minn.
Style: Milk Stout
ABV: 10%
For its fourth anniversary, the Minnesota brewery released this double-espresso milk stout. Its coffee-laden deliciousness shined at every tasting in which it appeared.

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