Wake Up Coffee Session by Highland Park Brewery
I loved a lot of what Highland Park and Bob Kunz did in 2014, but this session coffee beer with Trystero Coffee was the best of the great bunch. And it served as a base for variants that really shone as well.
The Little Spree Yorkshire Pale ale by MacLeod Ale Brewing
Like Highland Park, I was awed by the fast start of MacLeod. All of the beers were solid and so different from normal fare, right out of the gate. But the beer that I enjoyed the most was the thoroughly British Pale. I could watch Chelsea FC play with a pint or two of this beer.
Prequel Alpha White IPA by Bottle Logic
Another sterling opener from this Orange County brewery. White IPA’s are hard to balance, much like their dark Cascadian counterparts, but this just oozed hoppy goodness from aroma to taste.
This is a weird beer. And that is saying something since Smog City brews a Weird Beer. But this collaboration really hits the spot and uses the wine aspect to add instead of distracting from the beer. Truly wonderful.
Sleek Zeke Wheat by El Segundo Brewing
You expect hops from Rob Croxall and Tom Kelley, but this restrained take married to the wheat really shines and shows off the best attributes of both. I wish more styles were refreshed like this.
PCH (Pale Chocolate Heaven) by Santa Monica Brew Works
I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much from this beer or brewery, but this beer changed my mind in a hurry. It doesn’t look chocolaty, but man the aroma and taste is pure cocoa. This beer could break big in 2015.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.