The internet is full of click bait, and as we approach the end of another year, there will undoubtedly be more “The Best XYZ of 2018” articles than anyone cares to read. However, I did want to get a list of our staff’s favorite and most memorable beers of the year. No click bait here. Just some of the beers that stood out for us in 2018. Find ’em, drink ’em and toast our brewing brethren.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake Berliner with pineapple, cherry, vanilla, hazelnut and lactose. Every flavor makes an appearance in this phenomenal beer. It’s like sticking a straw in your grandmother’s pineapple upside down cake.
This IPA is infused with orange zest, lactose and vanilla beans, dry-hopped with Citra, Amarillo and Mandarina Bavaria. It’s is bright and tastes like you’re drinking a hoppy orange creamsicle.
This was a lacto-fermented sour, with flavors of lavender, bergamot and Earl Grey tea. This tea-beer crossover was light and tasty, had a great lemon/honey nose and a light lemon and earl grey finish to it. If a beer and Arnold Palmer had a baby, this would be it and I would drink it again and again.
A beer representing the 2018 NE haze movement in DFW. Super smooth with a juicy finish 8.2%
At 7.2% the best single NE IPA I’ve had in a while. Sneaky light and crushable, but perfectly balanced citrus flavor with a bit of dryness to finish.
Light as can be but great haze, soft and easy drinking with a great juicy and hoppy taste. Crushable.
Sometimes beers stand out because they are expertly crafted. Other times, I fall in love with a beer because it is new and different. But usually, beers that stick with me are more than just flavor, but the overall memory created by the company I’m with, the location I’m in and the overall experience of enjoying a new beer.
A few that really stand out for me from 2018 are:
I had this beer at the Craft Brewers Conference during a bottle share at Bearded Iris. To make it, The Bruery took Black Tuesday imperial stout and fermented it on grapes and aged in oak to create a beautiful wine/ beer hybrid that challenges the boundaries of what beer can be. After a full evening of sampling some of the best beers from around the country, this one really stood out. There are days I just want a clean, crisp lager, and others when I want something outside of the box. I appreciate the experimental nature of The Bruery’s program and enjoyed trying this beer with some of our peers in the industry.
Andrew and I celebrated our wedding anniversary in NYC this year. We flew up separately, and he his first order of business was to stock the mini fridge in our hotel room. He purchased a 4 pk of this double IPA at a nearby bodega . Upon my arrival, this was the first beer I drank and I was blown away at how soft and light it was for an over 8% beer. The flavor was straight Welches white grape juice and you could smell the Citra hops from across the room. It was a great way to start our trip and a stand out beer from our time in NYC.
Not necessarily a new beer, but I was reminded how close to perfect this beer is for me. I ordered this on draft at Meddlesome Moth in Dallas one weekend when we were over for work. If you’ve been to Meddlesome Moth, you know they have a large, diverse selection of beer on the wall. For some reason, I wasn’t really in the mood for a beer. That was, until I saw this on the menu. This is a full-bodied stout with milk sugar giving it the perfect sweetness, then carbonated with nitro to give it a silky mouthfeel. And it’s only 5.5% percent, so you know I had more than one.
I like the idea of it being a hybrid of ale and lager. It has a nice flavor profile slightly fruity and hoppy but has that nice lager finish making it incredibly drinkable. I think its a very well made and different beer that checks all boxes.
A mixed fermentation Brett IPA in white wine oak barrels. Sour, sweet, and hoppy – what else do you want?
A blend of a Berliner Weiss and an American Pale Ale with Citra and Amarillo. Visiting Oedipus was one of the highlights of our trip, their taproom is amazing (an entire food menu with items named after Clash songs!?) and their beer is exceptional.
A heavy, sludgy Imperial Russian Stout that was available at Helst in Amsterdam. I ordered it due to the beer being named after an iconic song by doom metal band Electric Wizard and was rewarded.
I’ve had Allagash White before, but actually having it at the brewery was incredible. The more you are around beer and see the process, the more you really appreciate a clean, consistent beer like Allagash White. Add Portland, Maine to your list of places to visit in 2019, and thank me later.
My favorite Great Raft Beer of 2018. The barrel aged variants are always great, but the base beer itself turned out phenomenal.