Friday, December 23, 2011

Fermentedly Challenged's Top 10 Beers of 2011

Dave's Top Ten Beers of 2011'Tis the season for reflecting back upon the year gone by and all of the tasty beers I've sampled this year. While I can't recall exactly how many different beers I've tried this year (over 100) I did keep notes and came up with the list of what I'd consider my top 10 favorite beers of 2011.

Now granted, not all of these beers were actually brewed in 2011, but they were tasted during the year. These beers were generally those that were available in some form or other in the state of Colorado in 2011. Whether it be direct from a brewery, a bottle from a liquor store, or as a sample during a beer festival.

These beers aren't listed in any particular order, but were 10 of the most memorable beers sampled in 2011. See if any of these were on your favorite list as well.

Fermentedly Challenged's Top 10 Beers of 2011

- Odell Friek - a wonderful tart ale offered up in a big 750ml corked bottle. This is a returning favorite and offers a sweet yet somewhat sour flavors of cherries and raspberries.

- Crabtree Berliner Weisse - I first tried this as a sample at the Crabtree Brewing Company tasting room. It was wonderfully crisp, slightly sour, and highly refreshing. This beer won a Gold medal at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival and I could see why. Definitely one of my favorite growler refills from this brewery. I hope they keep bringing it back.

- Stone Vertical Epic 10.10.10 - Yes, I know this is a beer from 2010. This is a beer I received as a Christmas gift a year ago and stashed away until this November. This special brew was fruity, grape-like, with floral components and a slightly bitter back end. Quite the pleasant surprise for this Belgian Strong Ale and luckily I have a 2nd bottle of this that I'll savor later.

- New Belgium Kick - I tried a full glass of this at a New Belgium reception at their brewery. This wonderfully sour ale was brewed with pumpkin and cranberries and was the highlight of the tasting session. It was collaboratively brewed along with Elysian Brewing Company of Seattle. I'd love to stock up on this brew.

- Rockyard Buddha Nuvo - This was another collaboration beer made with help by representative from 14 Colorado breweries. This was a bubbly, smooth pumpkin saison made with exotic fruit like the Buddha's Hand and spiced with several different flavors of peppercorns. An expensive, yet very tasty unique saison experience.

- Firestone Walker Double Jack DIPA - When Firestone Walker came to Colorado this year, they were the talk of the town. This California brewer has quite the reputation for fine brews and among all of their beers I've tried this year from them I was very impressed with their Double Jack DIPA. A great nose of herbs, fruit and a touch of spice. Very bitter yet wonderfully balanced with sweet malts. This one was world class.

- Deschutes Hop in the Dark Cascadian Dark Ale - There's just something about a bomber bottle from Deschutes that I keep coming back to. A big coffee roast and hopped up brew that has a smell that reminded me of having coffee in a pine forest. Nice citrusy smell and taste as well. One of the best dark IPA's I've had so far.

- Trinity Brewing Brain of the Turtle - This highly intense sour ale was probably the best sour I've had of the whole year. Super sour doesn't even begin to describe this tart monster. It was a potent blast of funk that I thoroughly enjoyed. My favorite beer of the 2011 GABF.

- Avery Immitus - Word on the street was that Avery's barrel-aged brew Immitus was a hit at the GABF and I got in line to sample this brew. This ale was very tart. The brett hit me with a bunch of sour right up front and I felt was one of the best sours in the show behind Trinity's. Avery has shown that they know how to do sour right. I was very impressed.

- Hoppin' Frog Frog's Hallow Double Pumpkin Ale - I stumbled across this brew at the 2011 GABF also and was blown away at this powerful pumpkin brew. This was a Gold medal winner in 2010 and was back for more. This brew weighed in over 8.4% ABV and had a lot of pumpkiny good flavor. Rich, strong and ba-zinga!

That's my top 10 of the year! There were several others that I thoroughly enjoyed including: Short's Brew Whiskey Sour, Cigar City's Hunahpu's Imperial Stout, Strange Brewing's Cherry Kriek, Crooked Stave's W.W.B.R., Brooklyn Brewery's Black Ops and Jolly Pumpkin's La Roja. All great brews. The great thing about craft beer is, as long as I keep trying new beers I'll never run out of favorites to talk about for next year.

What were your favorites of this year? Granted, I'm sure I didn't get to a lot of different beers I wanted to, but I'd like to hear about what you enjoyed most this year. Please post a comment below or on my Facebook page. Cheers! Here's looking forward to 2012.

Related articles:
- The best beer bars in Denver. (2011)
- Sinfully delicious list of Colorado winter seasonals.
- Top 12 Imperial Stout you must try. (2009)

This article came from - a Colorado beer blog.
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