One thing 2017 was for me, was full of delicious Craft Beer…And, while I drank many a decent beer, these 99 beers were just a step above the average. For me, I’m not satisfied unless I’ve drank a beer that I would rate as a 4. And, as I’ve said before, if a brewery isn’t consistently putting out 4s, they should do the world a favor and close their doors…
What follows are 99 beers that received a rating of 4.25 on Untappd. These beers were just a cut above the masses and in the overcrowded world that Craft Beer has become, that’s saying something. Each of these beers had something about them that made them stand out just a bit amongst their peers.
These beers can be broken down into 6 general categories: Barrel Aged Beer, Stouts, Porters, Tart/Sours, Pale Ales and IPAs. These categories are further broken down below. Without further adieu, I present to you 99 bottles of beer that should not be left on the wall…
Barrel Aged Beer
Something special happens to a delicious beer when it’s aged in a barrel. Whether it’s a Wine barrel, Rum barrel or Bourbon Barrel the magnificent flavors that impart themselves into the beer are often times otherworldly…While I generally stray away from spirits, I actually run towards Barrel Aged Beers. This year, these 10 barrel aged beauties were just a cut above their competition. Some notable entrants are the Blackberry Sour that Aliso Viejo’s Stadium Brewing Company previewed at this year’s Sabroso Fest; Royal by Claremont Craft Ales (which I still see on shelves…grab it…age it…enjoy…you’re welcome); and Tustin Brewing Company continuing to master barrel aging with their delicious Kentucky Hug. Below is a further breakdown of the Barrel Aged category along with the beer/brewery.
Barrel Aged Sour
- Blackberry Sour by Stadium Brewing Company
Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stouts
- Kentucky Hug by Tustin Brewing Company
- Ground State (2017) (with Coldbot Coffee) by Bottle Logic Brewing
- Fundamental Observation (WOL Preview) by Bottle Logic Brewing
- Number Crunch by Bottle Logic Brewing
- Sumi Ink by Grimm Artisanal Ales
Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout
- Fydor’s Classic (2014) by Stone Brewing
Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Coffee Stout
- Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) by Founders Brewing Co.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Mint Mocha Stout
- Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Mocha Mint (2017)
Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout
- Royal by Claremont Craft Ales
Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine
- Sucaba by Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
While I’m not a believer in Stout Weather, I am a believer in imbibing delicious stouts whenever and wherever I can get my hands on them. Though I find all manner of stouts delicious, I would have to say that Coffee Stouts are my favorite. Throw in an Imperial moniker and I’m in… Some notable entries on this list are the 2017 GABF Gold Medal winning Wall of Sound by Anaheim’s Stereo Brewing Company (the best beer they make…); Grandpappy Imperial Stout from San Juan Capistrano’s Docent Brewing (these guys should be on your must visit list…); and Imagination Land a Golden Milkstout from Mother Earth Brew Co. (reminiscent of Naughty Sauce).
Below is further breakdown of the category along with the beer/brewery.
- City of the Dead Export Coffeee Stout by Modern Times Beer
- Wall of Sound Oatmeal Stout by Stereo Brewing Company (GABF Gold Medal Winner)*
- Get More Likes (with Kinsmen Brewing) by Kent Falls Brewing Co.
- Grandpappy by Docent Brewing
- Viva La Beaver! Horchata Milkstout by Belching Beaver Brewery
- Imagination Land Golden Milkstout by Mother Earth Brew Co.
Imperial Coffee Stouts
- Son of a Baptist by Epic Brewing Co.
- Sump Coffee Stout by Perennial Artisan Ales
- Tovarish RIS (Burundi) by Beachwood Brewing
You can rest assured that if I love Stouts, their progenitor the Porter style is going to find it’s way onto my list. Notable entries include Tustin Brewing’s Blimp Hangar Porter, which just seems to keep getting better; and a super impressive offering from South of the border from Cervejaria Dogma. Their Imperial Porter was damn near IMPERIAL. Below is a breakdown of the category and the beer/brewery.
- Blimp Hangar Porter by Tustin Brewing Co.
- Spectral Beast by Relic Brewing Co.
- Modern Dogma by Cervejaria Dogma
I have to admit that in an effort to make this nice and neat, I kinda invented a category…None of these beers is a true sour, but their taste/flavor profiles are similar…think of this as a tart beer list with a Belgian thrown in… Some notable beers on this list were Beachwood Blendery’s 3.3e4 from their Propagation Series (someone brought this to the Week of Logic Wrap Party and it stood out to me in an epic game of “No Skips”); and Troglodyte by Anaheim’s Unsung Brewing Co. My first Grisette and man, what a delicious ultra light brew. Below is a further breakdown of the category and the beer/brewery.
- Propagation Series No. 3.3e4 by Beachwood Blendery
- Guava in Berlin! By Green Cheek Beer Company
- Troglodyte by Unsung Brewing Co.
Tart Wheat Ale
- Hostile Intent by Bottle Logic Brewing
Seems to me like it’s been a while since anybody brewed a worthwhile Pale Ale…with their hoppy brother dominating the beer world, this relaxing/refreshing style has taken a back seat. But luckily 2017 changed that. Not sure if it was me constantly speaking forth the reemergence of the style into the universe or if brewers just got nostalgic, but either way there were definitely some standouts in both the traditional and hazy iteration of the style. Some notable entries are Field to Ferment a Centennial wet/fresh hopped pale from Seattle’s Fremont Brewing that graced SoCal with distribution this year and Tired Hands Brewing Company in general (they were involved with two Hazies that made this list). Below is a further breakdown of the category and the beer/brewery.
- Citra Happy by Artifex Brewing Company
- Dymaxion by Modern Times Beer
- Street 3, Block 2 by Beachwood Brewing
- Field to Ferment (Centennial) by Fremont Brewing
- Shire –Pale New Zealand Biter by Pure Project Brewing
Hazy Pale Ales
- Jean Hands (with Tired Hands Brewing Company) by Monkish Brewing Co.
- Curve My Flight by Green Cheek Beer Company
- Intensely Juicy, Dank, Beautiful (Copy & Paste) (with Hill Farmstead Brewery) by Tired Hands Brewing Company
And now, we come to the payoff! Any best of beers list created by me is more than likely going to be dominated by the IPA category and once again, this list is no exception. With everyone and their grandmother brewing this style it takes a lot to stand out. Every beer listed below stood out to me above the masses. While taste is relative, I’m certain that if you love real IPAs, you want to seek out the beers on this list…
Some notes from the list below:
1) 10 First try breweries made this list (Had my first beer from them in 2017)
2) I’m currently labeling Noble Ale Works the “Haze King” of Orange County. (But look out as Evan and Unsung on your tail…)
3) Sparks, Nevada’s Revision Brewing Company should be on your MUST TRY list.
4) My Top 10 Breweries are all over this list…3 of which just cracked my top 10 this year (Pure, Green Cheek, Fieldwork)…
- Reckoner by Homage Brewing
- Hexagonal IPA by Bottle Logic Brewing
- Old Town IPA by Tustin Brewing Company
- Lush IPA by Fremont Brewing
- Coffee & Milk by Fieldwork Brewing Company
- Juicy Secret by New Glory Craft Brewery
- Hopful 7 by Beachwood Brewing
- Can-a-Bliss (a joint effort with Other Half Brewing Company) by Captain Lawrence Brewing Company
- Melvin IPA by Melvin Brewing
- Gimme by Docent Brewing
- Sidekicks (with Alvarado Street Brewery) by El Segundo Brewing Company
- Clear AF by El Segundo Brewing Company
DIPAs (Double IPAs)
- Blah Blah Blah IPA by 21st Amendment Brewery
- Super Beer Bros – Level 1 (with Grains of Wrath Brewing) by El Segundo Brewing Company
- Leo v. Ursus: Fortem by Firestone Walker Brewing Company
- Lupine by Pipeworks Brewing Company
- Greenshift by Beachwood Brewing
- Tell Shaky and Boxcar Joe DDH IIPA by SingleCut Beersmiths
- Power Glove (with Noble Ale Works) by Fieldwork Brewing Company
- Left Eye, Right Eye by Track 7 Brewing Company
- Tetra City by Modern Times Beer
- PUNCH-OUT!! (with Fieldwork Brewing Company) by Noble Ale Works
- Dank Energy by Beachwood Brewing
- Leo v. Ursus: Inferos by Firestone Walker Brewing Company
TIPA (Triple IPAs)
- Tundra by Fieldwork Brewing Company
- Golden Pineapple by Modern Times Beer
- Centaur Gardens by Modern Times Beer
- Goblin Rock by Modern Times Beer
- Crowler Phil by Noble Ale Works
- Good Googly Moogly by Noble Ale Works
- I Edited It by Noble Ale Works
- Countout! by Noble Ale Works
- Taking It To The Extreme by Noble Ale Works
- UP UP: Konami Code by Bottle Logic Brewing
- LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT: Konami Code by Bottle Logic Brewing
- B A: Konami Code by Bottle Logic Brewing
- Double Dragon by Bottle Logic Brewing
- Sink or Swim by Green Cheek Beer Company
- Soft Skin by Green Cheek Beer Company
- A Salute To Classic Beers (with Cellarmaker Brewing Company) by Green Cheek Beer Company
- Supercollider by Brouwerij West
- Picnic Lightning by Brouwerij West
- Battle-Scarred Shogun by Monkish Brewing Co.
- Galaxy Juice by Fieldwork Brewing Company
- Snacktime (with Finback Brewing) by Civil Society Brewing
- 90s R&B by Mumford Brewing
- Cold Side by Magnify Brewing Company
- 28 Haze Later… by Beachwood Brewing
- Hop Swingers (with Burgeon Beer Company) by Artifex Brewing Company
- Master Shredder by The Veil Brewing Co.
- Altered Dankopotamus by Hog Dogma Brewing Co.
- DDH Rinse/Repeat (with Motueka and Wakatu) by Westbrook Brewing Co.
- Broken Filter (with Beachwood Brewing) by AleSmith Brewing Company
- Planet Lovetron by Revision Brewing Company
- Galaxy Sauce by Fieldwork Brewing Company
- East Coast Bias by HenHouse Brewing Company
- Men at Murk (with Highland Park Brewery & Alvarado Street Brewery) by Noble Ale Works
- Cool Runoffs by Alvarado Street Brewery
- Crucial Taunt by The Veil Brewing Co.
- The Bruff by Revision Brewing Company
- Xylophone Tones by Monkish Brewing Co.
- Foggy Window by Monkish Brewing Co.
- CANniversary by Noble Ale Works
- CANniversary (with peaches) by Noble Ale Works* (this beer improved to near perfection with the last can…)
And there you have it folks, 99 beers from 2017 that shouldn’t be left on the wall but should be taken down and enjoyed ; share them if you have to…
I hope that your 2018 overflows with delicious, soul satisfying Craft Beer!
Peace, Love, Beer!
All Photos by: BrewFiend