Happy New Year! I enjoy reading year-end best of lists. Below are three best of 2014 lists that I liked, and I am amazed that there are so many beers on these lists I have not tried or even knew about. The first article is from The New School and a blog post written by Mike Sardina who works at Societe Brewing. His article is more than just a list and is not limited to San Diego but includes beers and breweries from all of California. His top two beers are session IPAs, a style I have not embraced. The top pick was Firestone Walker's Easy Jack, and honorable mention was Karl Strauss' Mosaic Session Ale, which I agree was one heck of a beer.
The WestCoaster, in its December/January 2014-2015 magazine editorial, lists its three favorite San Diego beers of 2014. Two were not released in 2014, while the third was 2014's Karl Strauss' Mosaic Session Ale. Again, two session IPAs make the list with Port Brewing's Pronto SIPA joining Mosaic. WestCoaster's third entry was Modern Times' Lomaland saison, which was one of four core beers released when Modern Times opened in 2013. This is a great, no frills saison that deserves more recognition.
Finally, Brandon Hernandez, writing in the San Diego Reader, did not limit himself to four or five beers on his best of 2014 list, instead he selected fifty beers. Karl Strauss' Mosaic completes the trifecta. Many of the beers on the list seem like draft-only beers that were available only at the breweries, which is OK because it makes me realize I need to get out more in 2015. Mr. Hernandez works for Stone Brewing and its beers were conspicuously missing from the list, so I suspect the list would be closer to 60 beers if it included his favorite 2014 Stone releases.