Best of 2014 – The beers

Looking back, 2014 was a beer year for beer imbibing. I have a small group of adventurous friends at church who love trying new beers from all over the stylistic map. Our experiments led us far and wide in the past 12 months. In order of preference, here are my favorite libations tried for the first time in 2014.

And for grins there are 12 choices because, hey, beer loves think in terms of four, six, and twelve.

  1. Rochefort 10 — What a sublime, amazing beer. Quite likely one of the best beers I will ever try.
  2. St. Bernardus abt 12 — Right up there with the Rochefort 10. Had this in a bomber with two of my best beer buddies. After taking our first sips of the beer we looked at each other, smiled, and knew we were in the midst of beer greatness.
  3. Ommegang Adoration Ale — My new gold standard for winter beers. So good. Looking forward to bottle-ageing one of these and having it during the summer.
  4. New Glarus Spotted Cow — I’ve wanted to try “The Cow” for a while. But it is only available in Wisconsin so getting it locally is impossible Finally got the chance this winter. Worth the wait. One of the best farmhouse ales I’ve tried.
  5. Anchor Porter — Probably my favorite beer by Anchor. Completely unavailable in my area except in a spring sampler pack. Already saving my pennies now for that pack as spring is only a few months away.
  6. Anchor Old Foghorn Barleywine — I am new to the whole Barleywine thing. This is my favorite in the style that I have tried so far, although the Free State Old Backus comes in a close second.
  7. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy — Although North Coast’s Old Rasputin remains my favorite imperial stout, Ten Fidy burst onto my radar this year in a big way. Such a good beer.
  8. Avery The Reverend — My favorite from the folks at Avery and one of four quads on this list. This was a great year for me with abt/Quadruple ales.
  9. Leffe Brune — I am still in disbelief that a beer this good goes for under $2.00 at my local bottle shop. It is hard to find during the winter months so I am looking forward to it coming back around again in the spring.
  10. Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad — The best beer from Boulevard. Hands down. It they were known for just this beer, it would put them in the upper echelon of American craft breweries.
  11. Ommegang Hennepin — I went on a farmhouse ale/saison kick over the summer. This was my favorite of the bunch.
  12. Schlafly Pumpkin Ale — I tried many of pumpkin beers on this list. The highest on the list that I tried was the Schlafly and I agree wholeheartedly with their assessment. This is my favorite fall-time beer and I look forward to its return next year.

Six beers I am hoping to try in 2015:

Engelszell Gregorius Trappistenbier — This one tops my list of “must trys” for 2015. Fairly easy to get, just not in my general vicinity. Hoping to try it during a visit to Chicago in early 2015.

A massive, ultra-hopped “whale” IPAs — I am not at all an IPA fan. But I really do want to try one of the massive IPAs like Alchemist’s Heady Topper, Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, or Dog Fish Head’s 120 Minute IPA. Just so I can say that I have tried one.

Barrel-aged Old Rasputin — It’s really pricey (usually over $22 per bottle), but I would love to try this. I’ve heard only good things.

Anything from St. Arnold Brewing Company in Houston — I have a Facebook friend who lives in Houston who is constantly enjoying anything/everything from St. Arnold. Their seasonal beers sound particularly scrumptious.

Something else from New Glarus — I’ve kind of fallen in love with this little brewery in Wisconsin. I would sure love to get my hands on their seasonal Pumpkin Pie Lust. It sounds fantastic.

Anchor Small Beer — Another one that I would love to try that seems to be unavailable anywhere around here. It is a session beer that is brewed well under 5% abv. Need to find one of these someday.

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