Top 5 Brews for 2015
We drank some good beers in 2015. Here are a few selections from four Mash Tun cholos. Some of the beers were released in 2015. Some weren’t. Forget a gym membership. Track down these beers.
Calvin Fredrickson’s Picks:
The Commons Brewery – Urban Farmhouse Ale: When I visited Commons this past summer, their menu was loaded with tons of low-ABV, flavorful, and expressive beers. Urban Farmhouse Ale was a standout. My girlfriend and I enjoyed a couple bottles while camping along the Oregon coast.
de Garde Brewing – The Boysen: Boysenberry funktown. Yogurt and berry goodness. Moderate acidity, tannic, and boasts a beautiful color. It’s beer’s purple drank.
Anderson Valley Brewing Co. – The Kimmie, The Yink, & The Holy Gose: Gose hit its stride in 2015. This one carried the banner. Kimmie was my go-to. I brought it to BBQs, bought it at divey concert halls, and drank it at home. I don’t understand Anderson Valley’s nomenclature. I do understand this beer. Very well.
Half Acre Beer Co. – Pony: It’s local, it’s hoppy, and it’s always fresh. I drank buckets of this stuff in 2015. I expect 2016 will be no different. Pivo, I love you, but…
Spiteful Brewing – Vote of No Confidence: Dankness and tropical fruit with a creamy mouthfeel. Dangerously drinkable. This beer fueled some good times.
Doug Veliky’s Picks
BrickStone Brewery – American Pale Ale: Some call it the Zombie killer [3 Floyds Zombie Dust]. There are definitely similarities, but this one has more malt backbone, and, most importantly, it lasts on the shelf for more than 30 minutes (for now).
Oskar Blues Brewery – Death by Coconut: This is the type of beer that could convert casual beer drinkers into enthusiasts, if only they could get their hands on it. Very approachable at 6% ABV, with big coconut and rich chocolate flavor.
Spiteful Brewing – Barrel Aged Malevolence Chocolate Caliente: Spiteful has always been on the map of Chicago’s enthusiasts who seek out the freshest beer possible. Their FoBAB winner in the category of Speciality Strong Porter/Stout puts them on the radar nationwide with this well-integrated, big-bodied, spiced chocolate stout.
Desthil Brewing – Dosvidanya: Like a Russian nesting doll, each layer stacks perfectly into this Russian imperial stout, aged in bourbon barrels. Be prepared for a big fudge brownie, covered in rich chocolate sauce.
Moody Tongue – Steeped Emperor’s Lemon Saison: Pair this complex, flavorful Moody Tongue saison with your next meal featuring chicken or fish to really enhance the dining experience. Bright grassy and lemon flavors, mild cracked pepper, and bready malts.
Marz Community Brewing – Jungle Boogie: One of the most original beers I had all year, Jungle Boogie seamlessly intertwines the juicy, dripping flavors of exotic U.S. hops with rooibos tea.
de Garde Brewing – Hose: A trip to de Garde Brewing earlier this year was an eye-opening look at the cutting edge of American wild ales. A 100% spontaneous fermentation brewery, de Garde somehow manages to brew a clean, lactic gose. It takes them a year to produce and they sell it for $6 per 750ml….I still don’t know how this beer is possible.
Penrose Brewing – Wild X with Cherries: Perhaps the best American wild beer I tasted all year, Penrose took the already stellar Wild X and turned it into something magical.
Scratch Brewing – Spring Tonic: My introduction to Scratch came by way of this beer. Technically a gruit, spring tonic is a vibrant, light, and refreshingly quenching beer. It’s a perfect introduction to one of the more innovative and ambitious breweries in the country.
August Schell Brewing Co. – Starkeller Peach: Yes, you read that correctly. August Schell, the brewer of Grain Belt lager, decided to start a sour program. And they killed it. I’m as confused as you are.
I decided to review my favorite beers of the 2015 by thinking about how they pair with video gaming, the frequency of their ingestion, and expressing yearnings for those whales that come only once a year. I also picked one of my favorite beers by the brewery I work at. And I used lyrics written by Morrissey of The Smiths to describe these selections.
Spiteful Brewing – Alley Time:
On a hillside desolate
Will Nature make a man of me yet?
When in this charming car
This charming man
Why pamper life’s complexities
When the leather runs smooth on the passenger seat?
(The Smiths, “This Charming Man”)
Almanac Beer Co. – Barbary Coast
When it comes down to virtue and truth
No one can hold a candle to you
And I dim next to you
No one can hold a candle to you
When it comes down to old-fashioned virtue
(Morrissey, “No One Can Hold a Candle to You”)
Perennial Artisan Ales – Barrel-Aged Abraxas
Haven’t had a dream
In a long time
See, the life I’ve had
Can make a good man
So for once in my life
Let me get what I want
It would be the first time
(The Smiths, “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”)
Marz Community Brewing Co – Jungle Boogie
You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way ?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does
(The Smiths – “The Boy With the Thorn in His Side”)
Maine Beer Co – Lunch
And if a double-decker bus
Crashes into us
To die by your side
Is such a heavenly way to die
And if a ten ton truck
Kills the both of us
To die by your side
Well, the pleasure, the privilege is mine
(The Smiths – “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”)
3 Floyds – Broo Doo
Dear hero imprisoned
With all the new crimes that you are perfecting
Oh, I can’t help quoting you
Because everything that you said rings true
And now in my cell
(well, I followed you)
And here’s a list of who I slew
Morrissey – (The Last of the Famous International Playboys”)