Yes, there is still time left to drink in 2017, but it is my self-appointed time to gaze backward at the most memorable beers from this year.
Here are the ground rules: I drank all of these beers this year (they may have been brewed for years before I got around to them) and all were memorable in one way or another. That’s it. No other terms and conditions. Except for the fact that I don’t rank the beers. Without further ado, find my top 10.
- Alvarado Street Brewery Minesweeper IPA – I’m starting to see more of this brewery down here. My initial reaction to their beers was meh, but their IPAs really left a hop impression on my palate.
- Brouwerij West Supercollider IPA – This San Pedro brewery has a great taproom and stunning can design and the beer inside lives up to both. Probably due to the Mecca Grade Estate malts.
- Sunriver Brewing Cocoa Cow Chocolate Milk Stout – This was like a hot chocolate, but still with beer notes. I almost wanted to drop a marshmallow on top.
- Green Cheek Beer / Mikkeller Lemon Drip – Coffee and lemonade? Together? Yeah, it works. And it’s perfect in a 16-ounce can.
- Unibroue Lune de Miel – This one caught me off guard. This Quebec brewery is always good, but this super strong beer was better than usual.
- Cellador Ales Firegold Grapefruit – The barrel experimentation is paying dividends, especially in this citrus that bursts through.
- Fonta Flora Carolina Custard – One of two of my favorites from the Firestone Walker Invitational. [There are always two, at least.]
- Russian River Brewing Scratching Post table beer – Another winner from Russian River that I went back to instead of their wild ales at the FWIBF.
- Eagle Rock Brewery Anything You Can Do, We Can Do Bitter – Not to play favorites, but I had this beer more often than any other beers on this list. Great on draft and sublime on nitro.
- Fieldwork Brewing Clear Skies IPA – I had multiple Fieldwork beers, but this crowler from Sacramento was my favorite. Seek out their many locations; it is worth the effort.
This year I do have to give a shout out to the Worst as well. It goes to the “Not Your Mom’s” alco-pop series from Small Town Brewery. There were three equally sugary candy flavors like Apple Pie, Rhubarb, and Iced Tea. I am not a fan of the “Not Your Dad’s” either, but these three beers were impossible to drink.
Your mileage may vary, and I would love to hear about your Top 10 beers for 2017.
The rarely seen Baltic Porter style is now available in 16-ounce cans from Angel City Brewery, which is another rarity which makes it the BEER OF THE WEEK. Thanks to a malt bill featuring pale chocolate, wheat, beechwood-smoked, and the seafaring named Black Pearl, you get a dark and toasty beer for the holiday season.
Your HOMEWORK is to rescue craft beer Christmas with a last minute gift to stick into the stocking. L.A. Beer Hop traverses the Southland skipping from brewery taproom to brewery taproom and they have gift cards! The best part is that the recipient will probably invite you along for a ride.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.