I began writing about my beer obsession last year, so I'll continue on with it. As before, I will be ranking my favorite ales of the year that were either new to the market as a whole or simply, new to me. The list below will showcase my six pack of preferred libations. There will also be an additional little something for those that need to get their fix more regularly—not all of my faves are so easy to get your hands on. The more readily accessible shall be called, bottles and cans. Have fun this holiday season and enjoy these craft beers responsibly. Cheers.
Laurelwood Brewing Co. | Portland, OR | Workhorse IPA
Thankfully my cousin brought me down one of the more epic beers from Oregon. Workhorse is a former national champion IPA. Hops and malts meld to make an aromatic medley. This is a delicious ale worth finding and drinking. Don't age this one, just consume it. 7.5% | 80 IBUs
Kern River Brewing Co. | Kernville, CA | Just Outstanding IPAPerhaps the most remote brewery on this year's list comes from Kernville, California. Kern River Brewing crafts an absurdly good IPA, so good, that it's aptly named Just Outstanding. This is one of the few India pale ales that embraces delicate smoothness. Thanks to my fairy hop-father who brought me back one from his beer journey south. 6.8%
Tap It Brewing | San Luis Obispo, CA | IPA
There is no name needed to further elaborate on this IPA. Tap It Brewing simply labels their IPA with those three letters. A Tropical nose opens up to a more fruit-forward flavor. If you're a hop lover, get your hands on this beer and drink it fresh. 7% | 70 IBUs
Hen House Brewing Co. | Petaluma\Santa Rosa, CA | IPA (Tropical)Locally brewed and new to the scene, Hen House is upping their game as they continue to brew elaborate ales of all kind. I was able to enjoy this ale at The Garden in Community Market, it's great when your local grocer has a taproom—kegs of this beast went out in early October. The brewer's notes call this IPA, brewed with Pacific Jade, Chinook and El Dorado hops, a tropical fruit city. 7.9%
Russian River Brewing | Santa Rosa, CA | Ales for ALS & Hop 2 It CometAles for ALS is an IPA brewed by Russian River that benefits the ALS Therapy Development Institute. This is a pub-only draft that is brewed with Citra, Mosaic, and experimental hops, HBC 291, 436, 366, and 344. This IPA was full of fresh exciting flavors, I'm thankful I had some. 6.4%
Hop 2 It (Comet) is a single hop ale that rotates hops each time it is brewed. Usually brewed from experimental hops from the Northwest that are so new that they are labeled with only numbers (see above). This batch however was made with Comet hops and thus the namesake. Of all the Hop 2 It's, Comet has been my favorite. 5.8%
Fulton Brewing Co. | Minneapolis, MN | Lonely Blonde
Once a year I tend to find myself in Minnesota hanging out with my brother-in-law as he begins to educate me on the finer ales and brewers within the burgeoning Twin Cities brew scene. Fulton Brewing Company was a newcomer to my world. I had it on draft a Matt's, home of the OG Jucy Lucy, it paired quite well with a burger and basket of fries. I also had my share via the six packs that my family had stocked. The Land of 10,000 Lakes has amazing fresh water, duh—no wonder the beer is good. The Lonely Blonde may just be the best American Blonde on the market right now. 4.8% | 29 IBUs
Looking for something to take home? Bottles and cans and just clap your hands...
Citrus Mistress | Hop Valley | 6.5% 80 IBUs
Hops of Wrath | Dust Bowl | 6.6% 50 IBUs
Soul Style | Green Flash | 6.5% 75 IBUs
Pinner | Oskar Blues | 4.9% 35IBUs