Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009's Beers of the Year

I was going to write several posts on my favorite and least favorite beers of 2009, but since it's already three days into 2010 I thought it best to write one, because I am ready to look forward not backward. My favorite beers of 2009 were:

1. Alpine's Nelson. I finally got to try this beer in early 2009 and it did not disappoint. Nelson is a unique IPA experience and it's now, thankfully, available in bottles.

2. De Proef Reinaert Flemish Wild Ale. This funked up beer was bought after reading a review on the Hedonist Beer Jive. It was delicious, and a beer that sticks in your mind long after the beer has been consumed.

3. Russian River's Damnation. This was another beer purchased after reading a Hedonist Beer Jive review, although he had a special batch. This spicy Belgian Golden Ale is outstanding and it's a shame I had seen it for so long without trying it.

4. The Bruery's Saison de Lente. I loved this beer and can't wait to try this year's version. This is a bold saison, but bold in a good way. The Bruery continues to push the boundaries of styles while still making drinkable, accessible beers. It is concocting a Belgian Golden Ale for release early this year that I am expecting will be amazing.

I limited the list above to beers I had not tried before, while excluding Christmas beers. If I had not, Ballast Point's Sculpin and Brewery Dupont's Avec les Bons Voeux would have made the list. I have to give credit to Bear Republic's Racer 5. I have been drinking this beer for several years, and in 2009 I really came to appreciate how great an IPA it is. Finally, 2009 could be considered the year of Sierra Nevada. The formerly staid brewer released a slew of excellent beers including its Torpedo IPA and its Anniversary Ale.

So much for the good, on to the bad. I try to avoid bad beers, but sometimes you just get a clunker or two. My worst beers of 2009 were:

1. Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing's IPA. This beer was in a class by itself. The flavor profiles of an IPA can be argued, but cooked vegetables and asparagus should never enter the debate.

2. Elysian Brewing's Immortal IPA. I have a problem with this beer's name. If you're going to be arrogant, you better deliver. Immortal IPA is Samson without his hair or Hercules fumbling on his Labors. This beer probably would not have made the list if it had been named Northwest Milquetoast IPA. I had this beer on two occasions and it came up short on both.

3. Dogfish Dead 90 Minute IPA. I was expecting an entirely different beer than the actual 90 Minute. It was way too malty for my West Coast IPA trained palate. I need to try it again with new expectations, and I suspect my opinion would soften.

4. Aventinus Wheat Doppelbock. When I read BeerAdvocate reviewers and other beer bloggers rave about this malty barf bomb, I tell myself that my beer palate is still developing and I have a long beer education ahead of me. But then I realize that Germans are just freaking strange.

Cheers in 2010!


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Jay said...

Thanks for the shout-out and glad I could help. For what it's worth, YOU introduced me to Ballast Point Sculpin, one of my favorite IPAs. Thanks!

Beer Retard said...

Damn...I really wanna try Nelson. Agreed on the Immortal. Very tame when you're used to drinking San Diego IPAs.

Rational Realist said...

Jay, glad I could help, but I have a long list of beer I've read about on your blog that I've yet to try.

Beer Retard, the bash on Immortal is not a bash on Northwest IPAs. I really like Northwest IPAs, just not Immortal.