Fifty Best Beers
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  Country: Belgium  
  Style: Gueuze  

Brouwerij Fonteinen Oude Geuze
Beersel, Belgium

The Brouwerij Fonteinen uses a blend of one, two and three year old lambics to make Oude Geuze. At 6% ABV, this unfiltered unpasteurized ale is aged in the bottle for at least a year. Refermentation takes place in the bottle giving this ale a rather spritzy head. The base is 60% barley malt and 40% unmalted wheat. Wild yeast works spontaneously to ferment the bright and tart pinkish looking liquid. Aromas of leather, grapes, berries and melon rind come off tasting quite sour before fading to a dry, invigorating end.

Brouwerij Fonteinen Oude Geuze

 

  Country: Belgium  
  Style: Quadrupel  

Brouwerij Westvleteren 12
Westvleteren, Belgium

The Brouwerij Westvletern is situated inside the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in the Belgian municipality of Vleteren. Introduced in 1940, a yellow cap distinguishes it from the other two beers made here by the monks. The production remains rather small, and due to its extreme popularity, is very hard to come by. So difficult in fact, Belgium locals must register their license plates with the brewery in order to secure even one or two cases. Popperings hops are most likely used due to the close proximity of the poppering growing region of Belgium and its many hop yards. The liquid tastes of sour grapes and cocoa, along with a depth supported with raisins and toffee notes. “Westy,” as it is playfully referred to by beer enthusiasts, consistently rank it among the top beers on Internet beer sites. At 10.2% ABV, with a lingering warm finish and multiple layers of various complex tart flavors.

Brouwerij Westvleteren 12

 

  Country: Belgium  
  Style: Lambic  

Cantillon Blabaer Lambik
Brussels, Belgium

Brasserie Cantillon is a lambic producer where Old School traditions prevail and the production style of their ales have not changed since 1900. This is a blueberry lambic brewed in conjunction with Olbutikken in Copenhagen, Denmark, (the Danish counterparts supply the blueberries). Blabaer is light golden in color with tints of violet and shades of light purple. The tart flavor from the blueberry skins tastes as if picked fresh off the bush. 2005 was the first ever release of this ale, which contains over 200 lbs of blueberries per 100 gallon of beer. The sour qualities will increase with age.

Cantillon Blabaer Lambik

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: Tripel  

Captain Lawrence Golden Delicious
Pleasantville, New York

Captain Lawrence Brewing Company wants to be the Empire State’s beer of choice. Especially since their products are not available outside of New York State. To produce the Golden Delicious, Captain Lawrence takes their popular Xtra Gold and ages it in apple brandy barrels from one of the country’s oldest distillers. The Xtra Gold is a hoppy American-style Tripel, which uses all American Amarillo hops with a Belgian yeast strain. The hop bite is present up front, with at least 10% ABV, if not higher due to barrel aging. Flavors of whisky and brandy abound, infused with apple pie and hops. There are some oak and vanilla notes on the back end, along with a very long, warming finish reminiscent of brandy.

Captain Lawrence Golden Delicious

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: Red Ale  

Cascade Kriek Ale
Portland, Oregon

Cascade Brewing is one, if not the only traditional Belgian-style lambic blending house in the U.S. Cascade Kriek ale spends about six months aging in small oak barrels with lactobacillus bacteria and lactic fermentation. The ale is then refermented for eight months with fresh whole Bing and Sour Pie cherries before being bottled by hand. This Northwest-style red ale is outrageously tart and bright with sour cherries up front, and a very subdued cherries nose. Sugary, sour flavors overload and envelope the tongue before fading on the back end to a smooth, oak, malt sweetness. Tart cherry flavors linger for a long while on this 7.1% ABV beer, with a taste reminiscent of Sour Patch Kids candy.

Cascade Kriek Ale

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: Imperial Stout  

Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout
Tampa Bay, Florida

Cigar City Brewing Company is a bastion of craft brewing in southern Florida. Cultural influences of the Tampa Bay area leak into Cigar City’s brewing resulting in experimental styles with unique ingredients. According to Mayan mythology, Hunahpu brought the gift of cocoa to the Mayan people. The Hunahpu by Cigar City is a more decadent version of their classic Marshall Zhukov Imperial Stout. The Hunahpu takes that stout as a base and ages it with pasilla and ancho peppers, adding Madagascar vanilla beans, cinnamon, and cocoa nibs. The result is a jet black liquid with the consistency of motor oil. Whiffs of licorice, alcohol, espresso and chocolate waft up the nose. Goes down smooth despite an 11% ABV. The Zhukov has more roasted bitterness than Hunahpu, while the Hunahpu has more chocolate flavor. The spices added to the mix from the chilies are subtle and delicious, coming out at the long, peppery finish. Velvet, moist chocolate cake flavors lingers over a pleasant alcohol warmth and 80 IBU bite.

Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: Imperial Stout  

Deschutes The Abyss
Bend, Oregon

Deschutes Brewery was founded by Gary Fish in 1988 as a small brewpub. By 2010, Deschutes was the fifth-largest craft brewery in the U.S., riding the craft beer wave on their quality beers. The Abyss is a Special Reserve Series brew available only for a limited time during the winter. Abyss is an appropriate name since the beer is rather viscous and permits absolutely no visibility of light through its dark colored body. Ingredients include licorice and molasses that become extremely evident in the sweet aromas. 33% of this beer is aged in French oak barrels and oak bourbon barrels. Extremely rich and complex in taste, with hints of licorice playing over the smooth oaky flavors and overlying boozy finish. Abyss sucks you into sweet, toffee, vanilla, semi-sweet chocolate and raisin driven goodness. It sports an 11% ABV, and is a fine sipping beer with a cigar or decadently rich dessert.

Deschutes The Abyss

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Milton, Delaware

This is an imperial IPA conceived in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and created in larger quantities in Milton, Delaware. The 90 Minute is an orangy-copper color and lingers on the sweet side. Pine and citrus sail over a boozy, caramel sea of malts. The combination of Warrior, Amarillo and “Mystery X” hops give off a sticky mouth feel with tons of resinous qualities. The hops are added to the boiling wort leaving the ale at 90 IBUs (measurement of bitterness). At 9% ABV, the key to this beer is the massive amount of malts used to bring balance to the piney hop overload. The 90 Minute was named by Esquire Magazine as “perhaps the best IPA in America.” This big beer would pair very well with grilled fish and just about any well-prepared cut of meat.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Milton, Delaware

Dogfish Head calls this beer the “holy grail for hopheads.” The extreme triple IPA is continuously hopped with high-alpha American hop varieties for two whole hours. The ale is then dry-hopped daily in the fermenter for a month, then aged for another month with whole-leaf hops before leaving the brewery between 15-20% ABV-- and outrageously bitter. This year’s batch is 18% ABV and ages extremely well. 120 Minute is a resinous, ultra-sweet and bitter, dark amber colored liquid registering at 120 IBUs. This 12-ounce bottle beer tastes like making out with a Christmas tree and its piney sap. All the piney hops and boozy malty sweetness can be a bit overwhelming, but enjoyable amongst friends.

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

 

  Country: Belgium  
  Style: Pale Ale  

Duvel
Puurs, Belgium

An epic beer that is the prototype of the Belgian Strong Ale category. The Moortgat Family developed this beer in Breendonk-Puurs, Belgium over four generations. It was originally created while experimenting with ways to make beer using the light colored Pilsner malts, but with a more dynamic approach. Duvel is bottle conditioned with a very specific yeast strain that leaves a ripe melon quality to this ale. Created using the aforementioned Pilsner malt and Bohemian hops, the light malt gives the liquid its very pale golden color. For a taste that is intense and very complex, this can be deceiving. The hops, snappy and slightly fruity, play over the spicy, fruity effervescence brought about by the Belgian yeast. The most notable feature is the gigantic head that explodes off the surface and looks great in its namesake glass. The head sits cloudlike over a boozy tasting 8.5% ABV.

Duvel

 

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