Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017- The Year in Beer ( THATs' where my money went!)

2017 was a year of beer "firsts" for me.
  • My first ever Bourbon County brand Stout in February
  • My first Ever trip to Treehouse Brewing in July.
  • My first time standing in line for a beer (see above)
  • My first ever time ever ordering a sour beer, at the Springdale Barrel room on opening night.
Yes, I was a busy beer geek, even if I wasn't writing much about it. As it often does, Life interrupts, and 2017 may have a set a record for untimely life interruptions. 

But I'm still here!

While I started out attempting to be "IPA Free" for 2017, I failed in July, succumbing to the inevitable IPA weather. But seven months IPA free is no small feat in today's beer world, and the experiment did push me out of my beer comfort zone and got me to try beers I'd NEVER typically try, like sours. While I'm still not a sour fanatic, I have found several that I sincerely love, and thanks to Meryl at Springdale, I have a serious appreciation for how light and delicate a great sour can be.

Pro-Tip- When a great bartender/beer expert offers a tasting, take it. Meryl led me on a guided flight that went through several sours and an IPA and it blew my mind. A properly ordered, guided tasting can be so damn educational.There is so much cool stuff in the beer world, it never ceases to amaze me.

So, 2017, \the year in beer. What was it?  How would I describe it? Easy, for once.

In my mind the year in beer 2017 was very clearly the year of the New England IPA

Yes, I want to gouge out my eyes for saying it, but it's true. The style has been popular since its inception, but this year it just seemed to go to another level. Want a non-hazy IPA? Good luck with that. Want some hop bitter? Sorry, its all "juicy" IPA now. 

(Did I ever tell you that I've never had a Heady Topper? Seriously.) 

Yes, 2017 was unquestionably the year of the Hazy, "Juicy" IPA.

My favorite? It was this one, right here:

Exhibit "A" Demo Tape 12. My "NEIPA of the Year" 
 Exhibit A Brewing's outstanding "Demo Tape 12", which, coincidentally, they just re-released!

This is the original, photographed in the brewery. Brewed with Mosaic and High Oil Cascade hops, with a grain bill of American 2-Row, Warthog Wheat, Golden Naked Oats, and Caramunich III, THIS beer blew my mind. Think West Coast style meets NEIPA.

Not just the best IPA I had this year. Possibly EVER, and I am not kidding. The flavor in this beer is absolutely amazing and unlike anything I've ever had.

If you get a chance to try this beer, its a must. An absolute MUST.

About that other NEIPA, that I'm sure some of you may have thought I was going to place as my favorite....

Tree House Brewing's legendary "Julius" NEIPA. It is good.
Julius is very, very good.

Just because I prefer a different take on the style doesn't mean I don't like it or appreciate it.

So please, spare me your hate mail. It's a damn good beer, but I don't love the "juicy" side of IPA.

I like more malt balance, some bitter as well. Julius has great flavor, I'd definitely buy it again, but I wouldn't stand in that line again.

Standing in line once to experience the craze that is Tree House was a fun one time thing. Their beer is excellent. 

There were many other NEIPA's I enjoyed this year, but to name one would require me to name another, and well, frankly, there are so damn many.

Let's hope this NEIPA thing sorts itself out in 2018. "Hazy", after all, is not an actual flavor (although yes it contributes to it). Great beer can in fact, be clear.

What did the year in beer mean to YOU in 2017?