Andrew: First of all, I really can’t believe it’s already been one year of Guys Drinking Beer, it really does feel like it was only yesterday when Ryan had the idea putting our thoughts on a web site.
Me? A beer blogger? Can’t say I’ve even come close to mastering the art of dissecting a beer with my palate, and then transferring those thoughts into words, musings and otherwise interesting pieces of, um, art. But it’s been fun trying and hopefully we’ve all improved as we move through this process.
A lot has happened in the last 12 months, many personal changes for the three of us – a marriage, job changes, a break up and new apartments. But I’m pleased that we’ve been able to keep up with this project regardless of what life throws at us – thanks for anchoring this, Rye-dawg.
OK, no more sentimental stuff…on to the beer! Of the tens of dozens of beers we’ve tried this year, how in the world can any of us be expected to narrow that down to a list of Top 5 Beers? I’ve had my mind blown by “motor oil“, by a palate destroyer and by some mouth-puckering goodness. So where do I start…
5. New Glarus Unplugged Cherry Stout: I don’t need to remind folks how much we love the New Glarus Unplugged series, nor do I need to remind folks how much we’ve swooned over New Glarus’ use of fruit in their beers. The Cherry Stout was a beautiful combination of Wisconsin cherries and chocolate…and not just a hint of cherries either, a “we are not afraid to to use fruits” amount of cherries which left us with a beer that tasted more like a chocolate/cherry milkshake than just a beer. Great offering.
4. Brewdog Tokyo: We’ve opined that Brewdog is typically more bark than bite and that their works are more stunts than works of art, however Tokyo does not fit that mold at all. A boozy mix of coffee, dark fruits, chocolate and malts work wonders in a beer that probably shouldn’t come in more than a 4oz pour…this one’s a sipper folks.
3. Boulevard Rye-on-Rye: A Jack-and-Coke in the form of a beer. That’s what the Boulevard Rye-on-Rye turns out to be, except it was a 10 on the complexity scale. The whiskey wasn’t overwhelming, nor were the citrus, spice or oaky notes. A fantastic beer that I hope we get the opportunity to try again.
2. Sweetwater Festive Ale: I’ll go ahead and blow the surprise and say that we were able to, um, acquire another 2010 bottle of Sweetwater’s Festive Ale…along side a 2006 and 2008 bottle as well. Vertical here we come, and I couldn’t be more excited. This was probably the best winter warmer we tried all year, and we’ve tried a ton. It’s a picturesque ruby red beer that just oozes sweet, bready malts and all the spices you expect to find in a Christmas beer, cinnamon and nutmeg. I thought the addition of dark fruits, some nuttiness and a little brown sugar complimented the spices, hops and malts quite nicely.
1. The Bruery Two Turtle Doves: Maybe it was the novelty of it, but I loved the offering from The Bruery in their Two Turtle Doves from the 12 Days/Years of Christmas Series. Anyone who is able to brew a beer that tastes like a chocolate, caramel and peanut turtle deserves due recognition. It didn’t hit home as a traditional winter warmer, so their willingness to step outside the box a bit to give us this was fantastic.
Thanks for a year of reading our beer-related blather, and here’s to more in the future. We’ve got crafts to save and brews to review, so we’ll keep it comin’ if you keep on reading.