Top 10 Memorable Beers of 2011

Here is a post I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks. I know many sites have already pushed their favorite beers but this isn’t something I take lightly. With all the great breweries coming in 2011 it makes things difficult to truly pick my Top 10 Memorable Beers of 2011. So let’s get into the list:

Now the order was pretty difficult and to be honest I hate to even rank them. So think of them as just a number 1 – 10. I believe of those beers are truly great beers. I hope if you have the opportunity to try them you too might enjoy them as well.

10: Penn Märzen/Penn Brewery, Pittsburg PA 6% ABV
Now this came to me via one of those beer of the month club. It was a truly a nice treat. It had a nice little roasted pecan flavor with some fig that finished with a nice sweet raisin flavor.

9: Adam 2008/Hair of the Dog, Portland OR 10% ABV
This was some thing I picked up a few years ago while out West. I had been holding on to this beer as I heard they age rather nicely. I wasn’t disappointed. This 12oz beauty had hints of toffee, coffee and vanilla. With the age came some sherry notes that just blended well with the over all body of the beer. I wish I had another.

8: Double Jack/Firestone Walker Brewing, Santa Barbara County, CA 9.5% ABV
Now those of you who know me know that hoppy beers aren’t really my choice beers. However, I’ll drink them and can appreciate what they are trying to accomplish. Firestone Walker has almost changed my mind though with this beer. The heavy floral, piney aroma that blends just nicely with the orange juice and tropical fruit flavors. This is a big hop bomb that just keeps on giving. What would you expect from Matt Brynildson?

7: Sweet Josie/Lone Rider Brewing, Raleigh NC 6.1% ABV
I found this little beauty while vacationing at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This is malt heaven in a bottle. The roasted hazelnut character plays nicely with a sweet backbone. The ABV makes it an easy drinker.

6: Sweet Pecan/Lazy Magnolia Brewing, Kiln MS 4.3% ABV
Honestly, what can I say? It literally is a sweet pecan in a bottle. Add the fact that this is truly a session beer and you can see why this ranked up so high. Truly a superb beer.

5: Gingerbread Stout/Singel/Farmhouse Pumpkin Ale/Hardywood Park Brewing, Richmond VA
Richmond’s newest brewery has only been in production for a few months and man have their beers been fabulous. It was hard to say what I liked more so I ranked all three right now. They try to use locally source ingredients which makes these beers unique in their own way. Each one is a delight in a bottle, but unless you have bottles stored away the two seasonals (Gingerbread Stout and Farmhouse Pumpkin Ale) are gone. Singel is plentiful and should make the hot Virginia summer months bearable.

4: Siamese Twin/Uncommon Brewers Santa Cruz, CA
I’ve several can beers before, however this was the first one I had that totally blew me away. Think Belgian Dubbel with unusual spices. This is truly a nice beer to enjoy any where. Why? Because it’s in a can and it’s a pint.

3: Old Guardian Belo/Stone Brewing, San Diego CA 12% ABV
So Stone Brewing released their annual beer, Old Guardian. However they also released another version brewed with Belgian yeast. This was Old Guardian Belo. Barleywines are easily one of my favorite styles of beer. Now couple this with belgian yeast and you get a fruity barleywine. I absolutely love this beer and thankfully have a couple of bottles stored away for a few years. You can expect to see this again in 2013.

2: Kick/New Belgium, Fort Collins CO 8.5%
Wow, what do we have here? Kick is a product of a collaboration between New Belgium and Elysian Brewing. In this they blended a pumpkin cranberry ale with a wood-aged sour beer. This little beauty gives you a nice complex sour pumpkin ale with a nice cranberry tartness. This is a one time release which is too bad because it’s an incredible beer.

1: Mad Elf/Troegs Brewing, Hershey PA 11%
This annual Christmas beer is truly a favorite. It is hard for me to keep this on hand for long periods of time. I’ve managed to have some restraint just so I can see how this ages. If you missed this beer for this season then you are too late. If you never had this beer, I would suggest to start looking for it around Halloween.

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