2016: Excellent Brews in the rearview…

2016 was definitely a year for the history books. It was a year of mergers, infiltration by “big beer” and the blowing up of the “Hazy” or as I like to call it “Yeasty” IPA. Trust me when I tell you that I drank my fair share of beers this year…

What follows are the 20 32 beers that received a, 5 out of 5 ranking on my Untappd account (Brew_Fiend).

These beers are listed in the order they were tried and while I can’t guarantee that you would give these beers a 5, I can guarantee that all of them are absolutely fantastic and should at the very least be on your radar.

The 5s


January 2016
Beer: Agrestic (2015)
Style: American Wild Ale
ABV: 6.6%
Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
“…what a metamorphosis…to think that this started out as DBA is Mind-Blowing…”


Beer: Big Bad Baptist (2016)
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 12.1%
Brewery: Epic Brewing Co.
“…I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way …”

This was the first time I’ve had this since Untappd and failed to take a pic…

Beer: Xocoveza Extra Anejo (2016)
Style: Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
ABV: 8.5%
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
“…Fantastico! …”


Sadly, Stone bought in to a corporate mindset at the end of 2016 and worked their way onto my “Do Not Buy” list…

Beer: Double Actuator
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 9%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing
“…My DIPA! …”


Beer: The Patsy
Style: Coconut Rye Stout
ABV: 6.6%
Brewery: Barley Forge Brewing Co.
“…The 1st Beer I bought a shirt for…”

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February 2016
Beer: Darkstar November (2014)
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial  Stout
ABV: 13.7%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing Co.
“…Aged to Perfection…”


Beer: Bean Bump
Style: Imperial Golden Coffee Milk Stout
ABV: 12.7%
Brewery: Noble Ale Works
“…Liquid Sex!…”


Beer: Xocoveza
Style: Imperial Milk Stout
ABV: 8.1%
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
“…Abuelita’s Chocolate…”


March 2016
Beer: Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (12th Anniversary Beer)
Style: Imperial Oatmeal Stout
ABV: 9.2%
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
“…Chocolate + Oatmeal = Fantastic!…”


Beer: Ocularity
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 9.5%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing
“…My DIPAs Sister! …”


April 2016
Beer: Pliny the Elder
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 8%
Brewery: Russian River Brewing Co.
“…”


May 2016
Beer: Leche Borracho (2016)
Style: Tequila Barrel Aged Milk Stout
ABV: 11%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing Co.
“…Dame mi Leche!!…”


Beer: Double Dry-Hopped Double Actuator
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 9%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing Co.
“…OMFG! My Favorite beer made better…”


Beer: Sip of Sunshine
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 8%
Brewery: Lawson’s Finest Liquids
“…”


June 2016
Beer: RuinTen
Style: Triple IPA
ABV: 10.8%
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
“…a stage dive into a mosh pit of Hops…”


July 2016
Beer: Fundamental Forces
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
ABV: 16%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing Co.
“…Lookout BBA fans, they’ve called in reinforcements…”


Beer: Fundamental Observation (2016)
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
ABV: 14.1%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing Co.
“…The pinnacle…”


Beer: Coffee Porter
Style: Porter
ABV: 6%
Brewery: Smog City Brewing
“…Coffee Beer at it’s Finest..”


August 2016
Beer: Hello, LA
Style: IPA
ABV: 6.8%
Brewery: Highland Park Brewery
“…this may be the “perfect” IPA…”


Beer: Attack Frequency
Style: IPA
ABV: 7%
Brewery: Modern Times Beer
“…Modern Times set their phasers to Phenomenal…”


September 2016
Beer: Space Diamonds
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 8.5%
Brewery: Other Half Brewing Co.
“…Resinous goodness from Outer Space…”

Beer: Vietnamese Coffee Speedway Stout (2016)
Style: Imperial Coffee Stout
ABV: 12%
Brewery: AleSmith Brewing Co.
“…Imperial in every way…”


October 2016
Beer: Passionate Dragon (2015)
Style: Wine Barrel Aged Saison
ABV: 8.8%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing Co.
“…uniquely delicious…”


November 2016
Beer: Duet
Style: IPA
ABV: 7%
Brewery: Alpine Beer Company
“…resoundingly delicious…”


December 2016
Beer: Red Eye November (2016)
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Coffee Stout
ABV: 13.8%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing Co.
“…the pinnacle and then some…”


Beer: Mocha Machine
Style: Imperial Coffee Porter
ABV: 9.2%
Brewery: Beachwood Brewing Co.
“…flawless..”

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Beer: Strangematter (2015)
Style: Wine Barrel Aged Saison
ABV: 10.5%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing Co.
“…strange how time aged this to perfection…”


Beer: Last Snow (2016)
Style: Porter
ABV: 6.5%
Brewery: Funky Buddha Brewery
“…Phenomenal…”

Victim of a Bottle Share…No Evidence Exists…

Beer: The Butcher
Style: Stygian Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.8%
Brewery: Societe Brewing Co.
“…murder by Stout…”

Beer: Milk Stout Nitro
Style: Milk Stout
ABV: 6%
Brewery: Left Hand Brewing Co.
“…the Progenitor…”

(Sadly, no pic exists)

Beer: Boysenberry-Berlinear Equation
Style: Berliner Weisse
ABV: 5.2%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing Co.
“…I hate this style of beer, but…”

(Another that vanished so quickly, I could not snap a pic…That, and I shared it with my “non-drinking” Korean in-laws: Geon Bae!)

Beer: The Nothing
Style: Imperial Chocolate Stout
ABV: 9.7%
Brewery: Smog City Brewing
“…Something…”

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The Almost Perfects…
There were also several beers this year that were oh, so close to perfection…maybe they weren’t fresh enough or the lines weren’t properly cleaned or my taste buds were just having an off day…

Either way, these brews/breweries should also be on your radar in 2017.

Honorable Mentions go to the following excellent brews…All brews received a 4.75 out of 5 ranking on Untappd.

January 2016
Beer: Recursion 7.0
Style: IPA
ABV: 6.3%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing

February 2016
Beer: Mirror Mirror (2014)
Style: Barleywine
ABV: 11%
Brewery: Deschutes Brewery

Beer: Darkstar November (2015)
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout 
ABV: 13.2%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing

Beer: Red Eye November (2015)
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 13.2%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing

March 2016
Beer: Zombie Dust
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 6.2%
Brewery: 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Beer: Citra
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 8%
Brewery: Kern River Brewing Co.

July 2016
Beer: Black Angel Cherry Sour
Style: American Wild Ale
ABV: 6.6%
Brewery: Wicked Weed Brewing

August 2016
Beer: Elevation Change
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 8%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing Co. (Collaboration with Mammoth Brewing Co.)

Beer: Gravity Check
Style: Session IPA
ABV: 5%
Brewery: Kern River Brewing Co.

September 2016
Beer: Parabajava (2015)
Style: Barrel Aged Imperial Coffee Stout
ABV: 14%
Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Beer: Dankstar
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.5%
Brewery: Civil Society Brewing Co.

October 2016
Beer: Dank Dank Pow Pow
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 9%
Brewery: Noble Ale Works

Beer: Citra Showers
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 8.8%
Brewery: Noble Ale Works

Beer: Picture If You Wil… (2015)
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 11.8%
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing

November 2016
Beer: Nelson, She Wrote
Style: Triple IPA
ABV: 12.3%
Brewery: Noble Ale Works

December 2016
Beer: The Abyss (2015)
Style: Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
ABV: 12.2%
Brewery: Deschutes Brewery


So, there you have it folks! 31 48 Beers from 2016 that made this Brew Fiend say DAYYUM!

It should be noted that I rate every beer against the beer style it is representing.

Hope your year was filled with AMAZING Craft Beer. Thank you to all the brewers, shops and friends that helped make this list possible.

Prost! to more Beer in 2017!
Peace, Love, Beer

All pics by: BrewFiend

12 Beers of Xmas

In an effort to get myself into the “Holiday Spirit” this year, I decided to turn to a trusted friend…BEER!

And not just any beer, but Real, Independent, Tried & True Craft Beer. Sure, the moniker is thrown around rather loosely today, but for me Craft Beer is beer produced by small, independent brewers that have no ties to “Big Beer” or do not incorporate a “Corporate Mind Set”… so, you won’t be seeing any In-Bev affiliates or a certain gargoyle-esque company who has recently placed profits over people…

Trust me when I tell you that the best beer in the world is currently being crafted by small, local breweries across the United States and every brewery on this list is one that you should seek out.

So, without any further adieu, the 12 beers that got me through the commercialized holiday we call Xmas:

The 12th Beer of Xmas
Beer: Leche Mole (Mexican Milk Stout) 6.8% ABV
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing
Location: Anaheim, CA
Rating: 4.5/5



This beer is truly a present that I look forward to every year. This is the first Bottle Logic Beer that I fell in love with. Think Abuelita’s Chocolate with a hint of spice. Add the words NITRO, and this was liquid velvet coating my throat with Stouty goodness. [You may still be able to find it on tap…]

The 11th Beer of Xmas
Beer: Nelson, She Wrote (Triple IPA) 12.3% ABV
Brewery: Noble Ale Works
Location: Anaheim, CA
Rating: 4.75/5



At Noble’s last Anniversary party, I spent the after-party making out with Nelson Triple Yum Yum. It was hands down one of the best Triples I’ve ever had. Well, this time around, Noble decided to give it a rebrand and maybe a minor tweek. Lucky for me, I drank this one right before it started to malt over (my last one was a tasty malt bomb). The secret is to drink these fast, but at 12%, Damn…

The 10th Beer of Xmas
Beer: BLAM! BLAM! (Yeasty IPA) 7% ABV
Brewery: Modern Times Beer (Collaboration with Garage Project)
Location: San Diego, CA
Rating: 4.25/5


NorthEast IPA meets WestCoast IPA with a lovely Nelson hopped juice bomb. Grapefruity and delicious, though I didn’t like this one as much as Underworld Dreams, I certainly went through the 4 pack a lot quicker. I’d drink it soon if you are still sitting on it…

The 9th Beer of Xmas
Beer: The Butcher (Stygian Imperial Stout) 7% ABV
Brewery: Societe Brewing
Location: San Diego, CA
Rating: 5/5


Roasty, delicious, devastating. This brew instantly became one of my favorite stouts. It was like chewing on chocolate with a lovely hoppy bitterness to it. I bought two bottles on my brewery visit and drank the 2nd one the next night. [My wife wanted some beer and said: “I want whichever one you smelled like last night…” Priceless.]

The 8th Beer of Xmas
Beer: Awkward Hug (Yeasty IPA) 7% ABV
Brewery: Kent Falls Brewing
Location: Kent, CT
Rating: 4/5



This beer drinks like a session. A nice fruity, juicy IPA that was so fresh tasting. This was my 3rd beer from this outfit and everything thus far has been delicious. I’ve been fortunate enough to get a steady supply from my East Coast comrade.

The 7th Beer of Xmas
Beer: Feel This Coffee IPA (Coffee IPA) 7.3% ABV (Collaboration with Dark Matter Coffee & The Descendents)
Brewery: Mikkeller Brewing
Location: San Diego, CA
Rating: 4.5/5


This beer definitely gets better as it warms. Super Hop Forward, but that Hypercaffium Spazzinate still pokes through to produce one thoroughly enjoyable beer. Definitely one of the better Coffee IPAs I’ve had.

The 6th Beer of Xmas
Beer: 5 LB Sledgehammer (Double IPA) 9.1% ABV
Brewery: El Segundo Brewing
Location: El Segundo, CA
Rating: 4.5/5



Dank & Resinous, just how I prefer it. This one was a no-nonsense WEST COAST DIPA at its finest. Simcoe and Mosaic to the MAXX! Enough said.

The 5th Beer of Xmas
Beer: CoDependent (Yeasty IPA) 6.3% ABV
Brewery: Noble Ale Works
Location: Anaheim, CA
Rating: 4/5


This beer was brewed in honor of one of my favorite breweries, Beachwood Brewing. While not my favorite of Noble’s recent foray into the juice, this was definitely an easy drinker with some nice flavors going on.

The 4th Beer of Xmas
Beer: Inner Geek Ale (Brown Ale) 5% ABV
Brewery: Bottle Logic Brewing
Location: Anaheim, CA
Rating: 3.75/5



This beer was brewed in honor of the 25th Anniversary of Blizzard Entertainment. (The folks that created Diablo, WOW & Overwatch). While the Label Art was absolutely amazing, the beer was a little thin and nowhere near the type of Brown I’d expect from Bottle Logic. It had some nice flavor and got a little better as it warmed, but there was something funky I just didn’t like about it…oh well, sometimes you shoot and miss…

The 3rd Beer of Xmas
Beer: Lumppacoal (Imperial Porter) 6.3% ABV
Brewery: Noble Ale Works
Location: Anaheim, CA
Rating: 4.5/5



Roasty, Chocolatey goodness. This is exactly what I am looking for in an Imperial Porter. I wanted a growler, but sadly it’s a tasting room only offering. Let’s hope it’s a yearly tradition…

The 2nd Beer of Xmas
Beer: Diavoletto (Super Session IPA) 3% ABV
Brewery: Bissell Brothers
Location: Portland, ME
Rating: 4.5/5



I was so iffy about this beer when I received it from a friend. I’ve never been a big fan of Table Beers and don’t even drink Sessions that often. But, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the extreme flavorful-ness of this beer. It was like one of the best glasses of Grapefruit Juice that I’ve ever had. I could seriously see this being in my fridge on a regular basis if it was readily available.

The 1st Beer of Xmas
Beer: The Nothing (Double Chocolate Imperial Stout) 9.3% ABV
Brewery: Smog City Brewing
Location: Torrance, CA
Rating: 4.5/5



This is one super dark, chocolatey SOMETHING! When I want a Chocolate Stout, I want a CHOCOLATE STOUT! And this brew will not disappoint. The best present I received on Xmas! Nothing like giving gifts to yourself…

And there you have it folks; 12 beers that got me through 12 days of 2016. While the bulk of these beers are readily available in Orange County, CA a couple of them made their way to me from across the country and I’m so grateful for the chance to try them.

If you completed a Beer Advent Calendar or something similar this year, let me know what you drank, as I’m always looking for new brews!
Peace, Love, Beer!

BrewFiend
(Note: Some days, 1 beer just doesn’t cut it, for up to the minute brew reviews follow my Untappd feed at Brew_Fiend) 

All 📸 by: BrewFiend