|Beer, it's what's for dinner.|
Thankfully I live in a proverbial mecca for excellent craft beer. Amidst the abundance of wonderful suds I have decided to spotlight my favorite oat sodas and barley pops from throughout the year. Some of my selections were tasted at the breweries themselves and others were enjoyed out of the bottle or a growler. The first six listed are my top picks and those that follow are mighty fine too. It's worth mentioning that these selections are not necessarily new, but may have been new to me, while others are regularly available.
Drink responsibly & enjoy your holiday season.
Tamarack Brewing Co. | Missoula, MT | Nectarine Saison
I was lucky enough to make it up to Montana this year for a beautiful wedding, it was an amazing journey. All told I racked up about 3,000 miles and traveled across some of the most amazing landscapes of CA, NV, OR, ID & MT. While road-tripping I made a point to either amass tasty 22's or stop by at local breweries. Boy am I glad I made it into Tamarack's in downtown Missoula. Their Nectarine Saison achieved the perfect balance by pairing the sour Brettanomyces yeast with the delicate sweetness of nectarines. An absolute gem of a beer.
Magnolia Pub & Brewery | San Francisco, CA | Blue Bell Bitter
Of course I can pretty much access this brewery whenever, which I do not take for granted. It also helps to have one of their Growlers. Magnolia's scene on upper Haight is pretty cool, they have since opened a second location in the Dog Patch. I enjoy their food almost as much as I enjoy this ale. The Blue Bell Bitter is the best bitter this side of the pond. And at 4.5% you can drink your fill.
No-Li Brewhouse | Spokane, WA | Expo Series Noble Hop Extra Pale Ale
This bad boy was the freshest 22 oz. bottle I purchased during my trip to the northern Rockies. I keep wishing it would show up on the shelves of my local grocers. It was crisp and extremely palatable. This extra pale ale was a limited/seasonal release—I got lucky. It registers an ABV of 6.0% and it's IBU comes in at 50. If you ever see this beer, buy it, drink it and bask in its glory. NoLi is my new favorite brewery.
Pelican Pub & Brewery | Pacific City, OR | MacPelican's Scottish Style Ale
During one of my glorious trips up to Eugene I happened to fill up a cooler bag with heady beers from a local market. The Scottish Style Ale from Pelican was down-right awesome. I've never been to Scotland but this (5%) bad boy transported me there with its malty hues and drinkable easiness. There's also a nice little snap to it due to the addition of Willamette hops. I will definitely be picking up more of these the next time I'm in central or coastal Oregon.
Dust Bowl Brewing Co. | Turlock, CA | California Common
This little session ale hits the spot, especially during California summers. I was fortunate to sip this common on draught and I've been hankering for it ever since. The brewers at Dust Bowl did a masterful job of garnering an ABV of 5.4% with an IBU of 30. There's no denying the refreshing quality of this beer. It translates well if your looking for an ale that cannot be worn out. I want six packs of this to be more present in west Sonoma County.
Stone Brewing Co. | Escondido, CA | Collective Distortion
Mitch Steele, the brew master of Stone, Kyle Hollingsworth and Keri Kelli worked together to create this mean as hell double IPA. Rounding out at a robust 9.3%, you will definitely feel its effects and taste the hops. Speaking of hops, this imperial boasts nugget, comet and calypso, as well as a secret dry hop from Australia. They also tipped their glass to the old-world of gruit, mixing in some coriander and elderberries. Will we see another Collective Distortion in 2015?
Other adult beverages that tripped my trigger were...
~Batch #058 of Russian Rivers' Damnation—damn does this age well. Did someone say Pliny?
~Prairie Artisan Ales of OK crushed it with their Birra Farmhouse Ale. I've grown to love this genre.
~Drakes Aroma Coma was a cornucopia of malts, rye and hops. It's even better on tap.