Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Best of 2013

Now that 2014 is here, we reflect on all the delightful events and/or memories this past year brought us. For me, all the great moments from 2013 revolved around beer. I co-hosted a beer dinner, converted a few non-beer-drinkers or helped kick-start a love for the craft, explored the German state of Bavaria and its many breweries, and it has even brought my father and I closer together. Beer has an awesome power in my life and I’m lucky enough to have had some remarkable beers with some of the best people in the world that I’m proud to call friends and family. If you’re reading this, you are one of them.

Now that the mushy stuff is out I the way, I have made a list of my top 10 beers from this past year. These beers are not necessarily top-rated or highly sought after, rather beers that impressed and/or had a moving effect on me this year in one form or another. Enjoy!
10. Stone Brewing Co.Dayman Coffee IPA

*In collaboration with Aleman and Two Brothers, Stone created a remarkable beer where hops and coffee had a tug-o-war on your tastebuds.

9. Russian RiverPliny the Younger

*I had Younger for the first time at Russian River and the experience alone was awesome. It’s not the best beer in the world, nor the best IPA style. It was the experience alone that put this beer on my list.

8. Southern Tier Brewing - Crème Brûlée

*Wow! A high ABV sweet stout that actually has flavor notes similar to a Crème Brûlée. I don’t even want to know the calories in one glass of this potent brew...

7. Tustin Brewing Co./Stone Brewing Co. – The Mothership Connection DIPA

*Tustin and Stone collaboration!? Yes, and it was incredible. Mosaic hops took center stage on this clean, crisp, fruity DIPA.

6. Bootlegger’s BrewerySour #3

*This Wild Ale was available during the Bootlegger’s 5th Anniversary celebration. I love sours and this one is one of the most puckering beverages I've ever had and I absolutely loved it!

5. Brauerei Spezial - Spezial Rauchbier Märzen

*A hidden gem while visiting the Germany earlier this year. Walking down a common looking street in Bamberg, I stumbled upon the Brauerei Spezial Bierstube. I loved all the Rauchbiers they offered but the Spezial Rauchbier Märzen stood out as one of my favorites of the entire trip!

4. Bottle LogicLeche M’olé

*A milk stout with cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, coffee, and Ancho/Anaheim chilies. What a medley of flavors!! And they all worked so well together.

3. The BrueryMelange #1

*A blend of Black Tuesday and Oude Tart. The strong, assertive flavors of the bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Russian Stout (Black Tuesday) are in flawless harmony with the funky, sour, fruity flavors of Oude Tart. The blend sounds strange, but it works. The perfect marriage of strength and finesse.

2. Brouwerij VerhaegheEcht Kriekenbire

*Coming from the same producer of Duchesse de Bourgogne (the best Flanders Red, in my opinion), this tart, tangy, funky brew is forever imbedded in my mind as a one of the best I’ve ever had!! Duchesse de Bourgogne is easily interchangeable with this Echt.

1. Noble Ale Works - Naughty Sauce (includes the casked variations such as Naughty Island and White Russian)

*If you have not had this yet, you need to! This beer is almost indescribable and the masses that turn out for each release is quite impressive. Naughty Sauce takes creativity to a new level by creating a coffee milk stout that is golden in color (What?!) that is sweet and flavorful. Arguably, Naughty Sauce was the best beer in Orange County this year.

I'd love to hear what you beers made the most impact on you. Feel free to comment and share. Cheers to all and happy New Year!

-Gilbert "Charlie" Perez, Certified Cicerone®