Best Brews April 2012

April was another great beer month. I started “drinking outside the box” and incorporating themes into the beers I chose to try. Here are the month’s winners:

1. Dogfish 120 Minute IPA (2011)

I loved everything about this beer. A hop head’s dream.

2. Founders Imperial Stout

I think I love everything that I’ve had from this brewery.

3. Sierra Nevada Hoptimum (2012)

Just as good the second year. Filled with hoppy goodness.

4. The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel

An incredibly flavorful summer seasonal.

5. Green Flash Palate Wrecker

A beer that lives up to its name. Great DIPA!

Honorable Mention: Lindemans Faro Lambic, Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze

Biggest Disappointment: Birra Del Borgo Rubus

I thought that this would be a raspberry beer with a little bit of funk. It wasn’t. The undercarbonation made it a chore to drink.

Best Brews March 2012

I really got back on the wagon in March. I had so many brews, went to AC Beerfest and did a beer-related March Madness. So, here are the winners for the month:

1. Fuller’s London Porter

Katie sure can pick a good beer. One of the best porters I’ve ever had.

2. Fuller’s Vintage Ale (2009)

Such a rich and complex brew.

3. Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale

Another solid brew from a great brewery.

4. Southern Tier Oak Aged Unearthly

A totally yummy oak aged DIPA.

5. Victory Ranch R Double IPA

A great DIPA, available draft only.

Honorable Mention: Dogfish Head Noble Rot, 16 Mile Inlet IPA

Biggest Disappointment: St. Peter’s Fruit Beer (Grapefruit)

Absolutely awful. Total drainpour. Not even the bottle made up for it.

Best Brews February 2012

I had a lot of brews this February, but here’s the cream of the crop:

1. Port Mongo IPA

A hop head’s dream! Get this now!

2. Anchorage Bitter Monk

A Belgian IPA with brett…so yummy.

3. The Lost Abbey Deliverance

A big brew with big flavor.

4. Fuller’s ESB

A great example of a style that I don’t have much experience with.

5. Founders Red’s Rye PA

A beer that truly showcases rye.

Honorable Mention: Samuel Smith’s Yorkshire Stingo

Biggest Disappointment: BFM Spike & Jerome’s Cuvee Delirante Collaboration Ale

I usually love anything Terrapin has a hand in, but this was just awful. Total drainpour.

Best Brews January 2012

January was a great month for beer. I had a really rough time choosing the best of the best, but here they are:

1. Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Before this beer, I found black IPAs to be alright, but nothing outstanding. This beer is exactly what a black IPA should be.

2. Avery Out of Bounds Stout

Coffee, roasted malts, stouty goodness.

3. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (2011)

Lots of silky, bittersweet chocolate with hidden booze.

4. Terrapin Reunion Beer 2011

Chocolate and chili? Perfectly drinkable combination.

5. Westmalle Tripel

A solid Belgian.

Honorable Mention: Kane Head High, Founders Centennial IPA

And as a new feature for 2012, I’m going to also list the biggest disappointment beer of the month. For January this was Mikkeller Barrel Aged Chipotle Porter. The regular version I had was amazing and I had high hopes for the barrel aged version. Unfortunately, the barrel aging just overwhelmed the chilis.

Best Brews December 2011

What a month! I didn’t sample as many beers as I would have liked, but here was the best of the month:

1. Victory Storm King Stout

Another impressive offering from Victory.

2. Green Flash Double Stout

A silky stout with a lot of coffee. Delish!

3. Southern Tier Pumking

How did it take me so long to have this beer? Definitely going to be a new addition to my holiday beer lineup.

4. Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown Wet Hop Ale

Lots of grapefruit came through in this easy drinking brew.

5. Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter

A wonderful porter with a dangerously high ABV to go along with it.

Best Brews November 2011

A lot of brews came and went during the month of November (including two that I brewed myself), but here’s the best of the best:

1. Pretty Things Saint Botolph’s Town

The best brown ale that I’ve ever had. Hands down.

2. Founders Blushing Monk 2011

Great as a dessert beer.

3. Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat

I first had this beer in Chicago and loved it then…still love it now.

4. Dogfish Head Olde School Barleywine

Another solid selection from a great brewery!

5. Great Divide Titan IPA

My love affair with Great Divide continues…

Honorable Mention: Troegs Perpetual IPA, Stone Cherry Chocolate Stout

Best Brews October 2011

I had a lot of brews in October and I had a pretty hard time creating this list. But, here are the five best of the month:

1. Maredsous 10 (Triple)

One of the best Belgians that I’ve had. Amazingness.

2. Stegmaier Pumpkin Ale

Just the right amount of spice and body for the Fall.

3. He’Brew Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A.

My girlfriend picked out a great beer that was way more than just hoppy. One of the first rye beers that I’ve really enjoyed.

4. Firestone Walker’s Reserve – Robust Porter

Coffee, chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts…so yummy.

5. Evolution Lot No3 India Pale Ale

I really wish this one was distributed in NJ. This could easily become my go-to IPA.

Honorable Mention: Weihenstephaner Festbier, Great Divide Belgian Style Yeti

Best Brews September 2011

I got back into the swing of things in September. I visited DFH in Delaware and had a lot of good brews. Here are the best of the month:

1. Stone Cali-Belgique IPA

Everything a Belgian IPA should be.

2. Dogfish Head 2008 Raison D’Extra

A true sipping beer with notes of raisin and brown sugar.

3. Sierra Nevada Repoterroir

One of the most unique brews that I’ve ever had, hands down.

4. Terrapin Gamma Ray

Sweet with lots of spice…and a cute turtle on the label.

5. Dogfish Head Black and Red

A stout with mint and fruit…definitely different.

Honorable Mention: Dogfish Head Midas Touchstone, Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Best Brews August 2011

August was a great month. I hit up a few new beer places and tried some great brews. Here were the best of the month.

1. Mikkeller Sorachi Ace Single Hop IPA

The brew that I drank for IPA day. Full of Sorachi Ace goodness.

2. Cigar City Jai Alai IPA

An IPA that I’ve been waiting for a long time to try. Absolutely yummy.

3. Jolly Pumpkin E.S. Bam

A solid saison with a pleasant dose of funk.

4. Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Red Ale

A great introduction to a style I’ve never tried before.

5. Wormtown Pro-Am Porter

One of the best porters I’ve ever had. Lots of chocolate and coffee notes.

Honorable Mention: Port Brewing Older Viscosity, Terrapin Monk’s Revenge

Best Brews July 2011

July was an interesting month. It was hot as anything in New Jersey and I beat the heat by having a few brews to cool me down. Here are the best of the month.

1. Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale

A wonderfully peat-y scotch ale. One of my favorites of the style.

2. Dogfish Head Red and White

Red wine, citrus, oak…pure goodness.

3. Victory Summer Love

Simple flavors and very crisp. Solid brew from Victory.

4. Avery White Rascal

A canned, refreshing witbier with bright citrus and lots of spice.

5. Pretty Things Jack D’Or

Citrus, spice, and a bit of tartness. Great saison!

Honorable Mention: Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu