Hey everyone. You should be able to tell from the title of this post that, beginning next year, I will be a horrible writer. I also sold the blog to Anhueser-Busch. I mean, let's be real. These exotic beers "crafted" by people who "care" and filled with "flavor" and just grandiose delusions. Let's just scrap the whole thing and bow to our corporate overlords, shall we?
No, in fact, this past year has seen craft brewing absolutely explode and continue to eat into the coffers of the mega-rich and unconcerned beer corporations. As craft beer gets better and better, corporate beer seems to have little way to fight back. Let's face it: if Budweiser effing WHEAT is all we have to fear, this should be a prosperous 2010. If you can't hear it, I get massive joy, as both a foodie and borderline commie, to see the little guy taking on and sticking it to the big one for once, and without losing its integrity no less. Craft beer's revolution is one of not just flavor, but economy and culture as well.
To celebrate the end of the year, and at the behest of some very loved and loyal readers, I've decided to put together a brief compendium of the best beers I have mentioned or reviewed on the blog. I've included a VERY brief description of each beer, as well a link back to the post where I give it props. Keep in mind this is limited ONLY to what I've written about, and probably covers about 0.5% of all the good beer out there. But what I've learned from writing this is that any one of these beers can be the one to bring a newbie into the fold, or to give a seasoned pro a new way of looking at things. I can't stress enough: go out and find a beer. Try something new, and dip your toe into the ocean of flavors craft beer has become. I know one beer can change someone's whole way of looking at food and drink. I've had hundreds of different beers, and I'm still surprised every time. My mouth is jubilant, my eyes light up, and I realize I'm a part of something special. So, from me to all y'all: happy new year, and DRINK SOMETHING.
Dogfish Head Midas Touch - A brilliant brew with saffron, honey, and juicy white grapes. Great for special occasions.
Stone Double Bastard Ale - Hops, alcohol, and more hops, as well as more hops than you can imagine. Stone lays down the gauntlet.
Elysian Pumpkin Ale - You can't get it anymore, but write it down and buy it next year. Unbelievably wonderful.
Greenport Harbor Brewing - These up-and-coming LI brewers (and my Facebook friends) killed at the IGBE a few months back. Don't sleep on them.
Fire Island Red Wagon IPA - Easy to get in NY (and at my restaurant), this fantastic IPA balances abundant hops with a crisp body and mellow aftertaste for an uncommonly smooth IPA.
Grimbergen Double Abbey Ale - One of my favorite Belgians, you'll get chocolate, banana and straight Belgian craft.
Legacy Euphoria Ale - A Belgian-inspired (and aesthetically beautiful) ale from PA with a crisp, light body and notes of banana and spice
Stone Levitation Ale - Low ABV lets you enjoy this hoppy little gem for hours on end. Citrus and a hop punch.
Brown Beaver Imperial Hefeweissen - I don't think anyone will ever find this beer, but it was awesome so I have to shout it out.
Uinta Anniversary Barleywine - A big warming barleywine. You want to drink this chocolatey, floral brilliance.
Sierra/Dogfish Head Life and Limb - Difficult to get, but every 24 oz. bottle holds a big, boozy victory lap for craft beer.
St. Peter's Cream Stout - Sweetly burnt malt holds this beer up with the best stouts. Elegant and precise.
Abita Christmas Ale - Seriously, it tastes JUST like a Christmas tree.
Southampton Imperial Porter - Sweet and easy to drink, this porter nails a difficult style well.
Rogue Santa's Private Reserve Ale - Wonderful notes of everything from cinnamon to iced tea color this excellent seasonal brew.
Allagash Curieux - Belgian-inspired brilliance from Maine.
Unibroue Ephemere - Apples, apples, and apples abound in this Belgian-esque Canadian refresher.
Anchor Christmas Ale - Gingerbread flavors explode out of this rich seasonal from the legendary San Fran brewery.
Goose Island Imperial Brown Ale - Holy sweet lord. So . . . good. Notes of caramel, brown sugar, almond, coconut and everything else that is good pop up in this Chicago masterpiece.