My Best Beer Discoveries of 2013
I realize that I hadn’t been writing as much lately (What an understatement!), and will try to atone for it in 2014. As I head on the road to writing more frequently again, I begin with a short rundown of some of the best beers I’ve tried, written about, and failed to write about in the past year.
My favorite India Pale Ales and Double/Imperial IPAs of 2013 (clockwise, in no particular order):
Stone RuinTen – I had this at our end of the year beer and food pairing dinner at Tipsy Pig. A couple of months old, but still nicely hopped. Strong and boozy, it’s the Ruination we all know and love, but on steroids.
My best rediscoveries of 2013 were beers that I’ve tried before but tasted and appreciated in a new light in 2013:
Weihenstephaner on tap – This was nothing short of amazing pulled fresh from the draught. Having this for happy hour at my Bangkok hotel was a highlight of the trip in itself.
Westvleteren XII – Tried this first through biermeister Mags, when he shared a previously opened bottle which he had recorked. Lucky to have tried a freshly opened bottle through beertender Jim. According to many, this is the number 1 beer in the world.
Katipunan Craft Indio Pale Ale on tap – Much hoppier and fresher than the bottled version. Pictured is their Dear Fred collaboration with Yardstick coffee, though.
My favorite new beers of 2013
Nos. 6 – 10 (Clockwise from top left, unranked):
My top 5 of 2013:
These were the best beers that I tried for the first time last year, and ranked accordingly (1-5, left to right, top to bottom). Unfortunately, my inexcusable writer’s block has prevented me from composing more in-depth write ups for these beauties
1. Lagunitas A Little Sumpin Sumpin – Lagunitas does make some fragrant beers. This is a “filtered pale wheat ale” which is a cross between an IPA and an American Wheat. Amazing stuff.
2. Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel – This is crap beer at its finest, literally brewed with weasel/civet coffee beans. Best imperial stout and best coffee beer to have honored my palate. I wish we could have some more here.
5. To-Ol Black Maria – Easily the best Black IPA / India Black Ale / Cascadian Dark Ale that I’ve enjoyed. It swings more toward the IPA-side of the fence rather than the imperial stoutlike Black IPAs I’d previously tasted.
These five brews were nothing short of exceptional, so I apologize for the lack of detailed entries on most of them (which I hope to remedy in the following days). One trend I did notice though was that all five beers were hybrids of a sort, or of a rare style. It’s a testament to the creativity of craft brewers and a sign that my own taste continues to evolve. A year or so ago, my list would have been comprised of India Pale Ales alone. Incidentally, though, all my top five were well-hopped, aside from the Deus. So yes, I definitely am still a hophead at heart.
Here’s to 2014: to expanding horizons, refining tastes, and trying new things! Happy new year!