I couldn’t decide on one favorite beer from 2019, so I narrowed it down to two. Although, I could probably choose at least three more! 2019 was a good year for beer. The two I picked are both Michigan brews. Old Nation’s Strawberry M-43 is every bit like the original just with an added punch of strawberry. Perrin’s Pineapple Upside Down IPA was phenomenal. Pretty sure I bought like seven six packs. I just couldn’t get enough of it! It was velvety, smooth with loads of pineapple.
I pondered this question for quite a while. My favorite beer…. what one beer stood out amongst the rest? I’ve had so many incredible beers this year that it felt nearly impossible to choose. Then I looked closer at the question. Perhaps “favorite” doesn’t have to be judged by flavor alone. Perhaps other factors such as experience play into it as well. Then it hit me.
Just last week I returned from a pilgrimage to Belgium, the home of Lambic beers. While I was there, I had numerous beers that blew my mind, however one stood out above the rest.
One night, my friend and I were in Bruges at a bar called Le Trappiste. We were joined by a Chocolateir friend we made the previous night. When scanning the sour menu, one beer carried a hefty price of 50 euros. I asked the bartender why it was so expensive. He said, “I have never been lucky enough to try it myself, but many have told me that this is one of the best beers they’ve ever had. It’s special. It’s not a casual beer.” Of course at that point, I knew I had to try it.
This beer is called Framboise Lambiek from Geuzestekerij De Cam. The second this beer touched my lips, I was in love. It was sour, funky, and flavorful. The raspberry came through beautifully without overpowering the beer. It was absolute magic. And to top it off, I was sharing it with one of my best friends, a new friend, and the bartender in a beautiful Trappist bar in Belgium. It was a special experience and that is why Framboise Lambiek was a favorite beer of 2019.
I smirked when I read this question and immediately replied in my head “Double Dry Hopped Space Diamonds” from Other Half Brewing. You never forget hat first sip, so if you’ve had the luxury of trying this specific beer from Other Half then you know!
Without question, my absolute favorite beer this calendar year was Tampa Heights-based Hidden Springs Ale Works’ Darkness in the Light, and not solely for the fact that this barrel-aged imperial stout with cookies and cream — think dense and silky with the slightest edge of seductive, tongue-coating bourbon; amounting to utter and unequivocal liquid Oreo — could turn even the most reluctant stout-phobic into a devotee. Not solely neither, for the fact that shortly after acquiring one bottle post-release, I placed a phone call requesting another six; nor for the fact that its label — designed by Tampa Bay artist and illustrator Arielle Katarina — is absolutely, stunningly RAD. Darkness in the Light is my favorite beer more so for the fact that after receiving those six additional bottles, I became dedicated to cracking them in as many zip codes-, atop as many kitchen countertops, at the back of as many breweries-, and with as many friends- as humanly possible. Over the past year, it’s served as both an endowment and a bridge; and just as many stories, laughs, and moments were shared over those bottles as were respective pours and sips. It doesn’t get better than that.
Picking just one beer from the whole year is tough, so I’m going with the beer I recommended the most this year, Allagash’s Farm to Face. Since it’s brewed as a pale pale before being inoculated with bacteria and peaches it has more body and complexity than other American sours making it a great starting point for people just getting into mixed fermentation beer or looking for something special to share. It’s one of the few beers that has captured that fresh peach essence for me. Notes of pie crust from the malt complement the tart, tangy peach and apple flavors, perfect for sipping slowly and enjoying outside!
My favorite beer of 2019 was definitely Silver Moon Brewing’s F* Cancer. Not only was it a solid IPA, but it brought people together for a great cause.
It is a cause I’m personally affected by as I have been going through treatment for Papillary Thyroid Cancer since last year. A friend I met on Instagram was kind enough to send me 2 cans because I was unable to find it locally, but then a taproom actually had a tap takeover. By the time I got to the event, the taproom was packed and they completely sold out of hats and shirts. I was lucky enough to snag a pint glass. Every time I drink out of it, I will be reminded of the fact that I’m kicking cancer’s ass!
It’s an absolute toss-up this year between the return of one of my favorite variants, Old Nation’s Strawberry M-43, and a total surprise from Untitled Art and Angry Chair, the absolutely fantastic Cookies and Cream stout. These beers are polar opposites, one being a juicy hop bomb with an incredible, sweet strawberry jam finish, and the other a smooth, dark stout that tastes exactly like a boozy liquid Oreo cookie. I’d like to think the duality of my pick represents some deeper duality in myself, an equal appreciation for disparate flavor profiles and absolute aesthetic difference. Honestly though, I’m just bad at making decisions. Cheers.
My favorite beer in 2019 has to be “Mint Condition,” an American Imperial Stout from Bottle Logic in Anaheim, Calif.
It’s not some highly-sought after beer, but mint chocolate chip is my favorite ice cream and it was my first sip of Bottle Logic. I was amazed at how vivid the mint chocolate chip taste came through, and At a boozy 12.2% abv, you know I felt warm and fuzzy after sippin’ it.
My 2019 beer of the year with out a doubt came from one of my favourite breweries! Sawdust City Brewing up in Gravenhurst, Ontario. They came up with a 52 week challenge. 1 new beer a week! With one of the brewers leaving, who previously created a hot seller called Juicin’ a NEIPA, he decided to up the ante and create a bad ass 9% New England Style double IPA called Super Juicin! It sold out online within hours and it was worth the price! So by far my favourite of 2019 was Super Juicin’! So check out Sawdust City because they make damn good beer and hopefully Super Juicin comes back!
The beer for 2019 for me was “Lightworks” from Laylow Brewery, a Trinidadian-inspired Belgian wit with hibiscus.
The “Lightworks” witbier from Laylow Brewery is a year round offering on tap at the brewery, and named after an MF Doom song of the same name. The beer is heavily inspired by Trinidadian culture. The team at Laylow have partnered with Trinidadian chef, Young Animal, and, given MF Doom has a Trinidadian background, the team were moved to make a beer that spoke to this culture. Ever had a “sorrel”? That’s right, the Trinidadian hibiscus tea is the inspiration for this delicate Belgian wit – it’s an incredibly refreshing offering that is perfect for day drinking, especially with its friendly 4.6% ABV.
Pouring a pleasant, slightly hazy pink with a little head that dissipates quickly, the hibiscus wit comes with mildly fruity, floral, and spicy aromas. The nose is followed by an amazingly refreshing tasting beer: mild tart, muted sweet, subtle spice, and all in it’s neatly contained light body. This is easy to drink, and absolutely delicious, I must say. It’s taste more than lives up to the exciting colour.
I can’t decide between the two, but both were beers I’ve had on my wish list for years that I finally got to try this year.
New Glarus Brewing Company’s Wisconsin Belgian Red.
And Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny the Elder.
Both lived up to the extensive hype and then some. Everything I hoped and dreamed for! The latter was shared with Taylor (aka @mylovelyladyhops) who also popped her Pliny cherry with me at the same share!
Combustible Pineapple? Why that name? The can definitely did the name justice, but in a landscape of can-art over selling the actual liquid product, I felt the need to investigate further. With a skeptical mind-set, I crack the can. Let’s get it crack-can…Off the bat my nose filled with the aroma of fresh cut pineapple straight from Star Corridor! Time to taste. As the liquid pineapple beer juice flowed down my inner neck regions, I caught a sweetness on the midsections of my tongue, with a slight bitterness on the back end. As I exhaled stomach air outward my largest face hole, there was a very noticeable vanilla air accent. I would guess this beer has lactose present. I look at the can, and BINGO! This Pineapple Milkshake IPA is all that It claimed and more! At 7.5 abv, you’ll definitely have a greatest than average night. We’ll let that be our little secret.
My pick for favorite beer of 2019 is Orlando, FL based Ellipsis Brewing’s Fruit Punch Project with Marshmallow. The original (non marshmallow) was great but the marshmallow adds that warm, sugary vanilla WOW factor to the strong, tart, tropical, tangy fruit punch flavors.
This beer pours a vivid deep glowing red with a light foam head that disappears quickly. This beer came out in the summer and sold out in less than 30 minutes after its release. I have been guiltily holding on to my last can because it’s that good!
Holy cow!! This was a hard one! I’ve had so many wonderful beers this past year. Just so y’all know, Georgia Breweries are killin it! But since y’all made me pick one, I had to go with this one. POG from Scofflaw Brewing Co. was already a favorite of mine so after having this one, hands down had to be my favorite of the year! When they say X2 they mean it.. Masked higher ABV which I love! I highly recommend trying to get your hands on this one if you can! Keep checking on my page to see more amazing local Georgia beers!!
My favorite beer of 2019 was of course a IPA but not any IPA it was a sour IPA with some amazing fruit added. Elon from Kings Brewing Company had lemon peel, vanilla bean, pineapple, hibiscus, cranberry, and pomegranate. The fact the I enjoy both my fruit, sour, and an IPA all in one was orgasmic.
Bell’s Hopslam is one I had recommended to me by a friend, and I’m always looking to try something from my original home state. With the Hopslam, you’ve got a DIPA that lifts the ABV without needing to divert into the juice/citrus flavors we commonly see. Not that those are bad (I enjoy them) but sometimes you want a change of pace. Here, you’ve got a honeyed sweetness that creeps in, balanced with a tartness that comes on the back side of the sip. Combined with a thicker mouthfeel than you might expect, Bell’s Hopslam will definitely twist your expectations for what a higher-ABV IPA can be.
Hands down, the best beer I had this year was Russian Rivers Velvet Glow.
I couldn’t just pick 1 favorite beer for this year it would be to hard but I had 2 clear standouts that I cannot stop dreaming about. Both from Other Half brewing, both stouts, both Banana variations.
Snowbirds 3 VIP Version
Other Half/ J. Wakefield Collaboration
VIP Version for Pastrytown. With coconut, Emperors toasted coconut, marcona almonds and wild Thai banana.
All 5th Anniversary Everything Imperial Stout W/ Banana
Brewed with wild Thai banana, cacao nibs, macadamia nuts, coconut, toasted coconut and vanilla.
One of my favorite beers this year was King Julius from Tree House Brewing.
My favorite beer of 2019 is This Time It’s Personal from Asylum Brewing. This simcoe forward DIPA is the closest beer I’ve come across to describe as the PERFECT combination of both hoppy AND delicious. I can easily drink this beer all night!