OK, it's over two weeks into 2012 and I finally finished this post I started nearly a month ago. I did not have that adventurous of a beer drinking year in 2011. I tended to stick with the familiar, so my options for favorite beer were not that deep.
I am not not going to crown one favorite beer in 2011, instead I'll list the three beers I enjoyed the most. I can't honestly write that I liked one more of these more than the other, as each was different and unique. I included a style in my list of favorite beers, because I really came to appreciate and enjoy sour beers. In no particular order, here are my favorite beers of 2011:
Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA. I wrote about it here. This beer was huge, black, roasted, hoppy and best of all drinkable. An amazing, approachable beer at an 11% abv. Stone Brewing's best Anniversary Beer since its tenth anniversary, and one of its best special releases ever.
Pretty Things Jack D'Or. A hoppy American saison. I had it on the Fourth of July and it was the perfect beer for a quiet, relaxing day. It was refreshing, yet spicy enough to keep my attention. A wonderful beer that I discussed here.
Green Flash Le Freak. Whoa. I had seen this beer for years but had never bought one. What a waste. I had my first Le Freak on cask at The Linkery during San Diego Beer Week. This may be hyperbolic, but Le Freak was nearly transcendent. Transcendent to where I'm not sure, but I know I want to go there. Le Freak was one delicious, complex ale, and now I have some lost Le Freak beer drinking to recoup.
Sours - I paid more attention to sours in 2011, and came to enjoy them. My favorite sours have a moderate abv (6% to 8%), a tart, upfront sourness with a faint sweetness for balance. A few of the sours I liked were Allagash's Confluence, The Lost Abbey's Red Poppy and from Belgium, Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge. I can assure you I will be drinking more sours in 2012.
I will have a few more posts on the beer year that was, where I discuss the Bad and my favorite brewery in 2011.