Fifty Best Beers
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  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: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Firestone Walker Double Jack
Paso Robles, California

Master brewers at Firestone Walker Brewing Company first attempted to brew an Imperial IPA and came out with this winner of multiple beer awards. Double Jack is part of the Proprietor’s Reserves Series. Amber or copper in color and resting at a 9.5% ABV. The Double Jack has a long, malty finish with tons of pineapple and pinecone up front. Typical California IPA citrus flavors sprinkle through the malty cream base— making this ale a real creamsicle. The malty middle aptly hides the alcohol and the bitterness. Firestone Walker accurately describes the beer as “Huge tangerine, grapefruit and juicy fruit aroma blossom over the herbal blue basil and malt earthiness of this aggressive beer.”

Firestone Walker Double Jack

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: Imperial Stout  

Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout
Grand Rapids, Michigan

The CBS is a new addition to the Founders Brewing Backstage Series. A combination of fine, imported chocolates and coffees formulate this richly flavored Imperial Stout. Aged in bourbon barrels that have most recently contained pure Michigan maple syrup. CBS is extremely smooth, inordinately sweet and exceptionally rich. The body is as thick as a milkshake and just as creamy. The molasses-like quality of the maple honey flavor interplays nicely with the bitter chocolate. An ample bite of bitterness comes in on the end, providing the perfect accompaniment to a fine cigar.

Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: Lager  

Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold
Cleveland, Ohio

The Dortmunder style of lagers are usually modeled after pilsners, but a little darker in color, a bit more pronounced on the sulphurous taste, and a somewhat sharper hop bite. It has a very distinct, soft, rounded character. The Great Lakes Brewing Company's Dortmunder Gold is a smooth lager with a delicate balance between sweet malts and dry hoppy, floral flavors, and a grainy finish. At 30 IBUs, look for a subtle hop kick. Winner of the Gold Medal in the World Beer Championships every year from 1994 to 2011.

Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: Traditional Ale  

Hair of the Dog Adam
Portland, Oregon

Hair of the Dog Brewing Company is a small brewing outfit producing unusual beers using traditional craft brewing techniques. The Adam is the brewery’s first beer. It is a re-creation of an “Adambier”, a style of altbier brewed in Dusseldorf which uses top-fermenting ale yeast. The Adam is much like stock ale—, very malty and extremely high in alcohol— great for aging in the cellar. Made with northwest hop varieties, organic pilsner malt, and a collection of specialty grains. A very thick brown, almost black color with an off-white head. Aromas of leather and chocolate abound. The flavor is of the dark fruit variety— figs, black cherries, and raisins. Slight smoke lingers on the back end. Adam is sweet and warm with its 10% ABV.

Hair of the Dog Adam

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: Porter  

Hill Farmstead Twilight of the Idols
Greensboro, Vermont

A unique American porter from the Hill Farmstead Brewery. This ale is a collaboration with Grassroots Brewing in Fano, Denmark, where Shaun Hill, owner and brewmaster of Hill Farmstead served a stint as head brewer at both Fano Bryghus and Norrebro Bryghus. Twilight of the Idols is a “Winter Porter”, with cinnamon spicing added, as well as vanilla beans, chocolate and coffee beans. The beer is dark brown in color with a nut brown colored head. Vanilla and coffee are dominant, bringing about a subtle French vanilla aroma, while the spice enhances the holiday-themed pick me-up.

Hill Farmstead Twilight of the Idols

 



 
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