Local Beer Observations: December – 2015 Top Ten

File Dec 24, 10 32 57 AM

This month I’m using my Beer Observations post to list my top 10 beers of 2015.  Most of these beers are not super rare.  I’m not including anything on this list that you can’t find locally at least part of the year.  Don’t get me wrong, getting your hands on an ultra-exclusive once in a life time beer that you can only get if you’re a part of a barrel aged society or some underground bottle trade group is an awesome feat.  For this list, I would rather talk about beers that don’t take as much effort to procure.  This blog is geared toward the discerning beer drinker who has hobbies other than their craft beer affinity, for beer snobs that are content being just slightly elitist.  So with that in mind, here are my top 10 beers this year in no particular order.


Moylans Hop Craic XXXXIPA

10.4% ABV

BA Score – 90

This is a serious hop bomb with tons of Lupulin resin flavor.  My favorite Imperial IPA this year.  I found it earlier in the year in 22 oz. bombers.  This is a special release beer and I’m not sure if they will have it again next year.  Found: Imbibe, Sully’s Chevron


Stone Xocoveza Milk Stout

8.1% ABV

BA Score – 96

The terribly delicious and perfectly spiced Xocoveza comes out the beginning of winter for the holidays and it’s not to be missed.  The flavor is a mix of coffee, chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon and peppers.  This is the second year Stone has released this beer.  It was available locally on tap and in six packs.  Found: Savemart, Imbibe, Moo Creamery, Bevmo, Eureka Burger, other locations


Knee Deep Lupulin River DIPA

8% ABV

BA Score – 94

Lupulin River is a year round release by Knee Deep and can be found numerous places around town in 22 oz. bottles and on tap.  So much hop resin, this sucker is dank with a really nice flavor profile.   When you find this one fresh, you are in for great ride.  Found: Savemart, Imbibe, Lengthwise Pub, Moo Creamery, Sully’s Chevron, other locations


Laguanitas Born Yesterday Pale Ale

6.5% ABV

BA Score – 97

So fresh, so good.  This is the freshest Fresh Hop beer of the year.  Made from whole-cone, un-kilned hops, Born Yesterday ships as soon as it’s bottled and is on shelves within 24 hours.  It’s a crisp, fruity extremely drinkable pale ale that must be experienced.  Born Yesterday was available locally late October in 12 oz. bottles and on tap.  Found: Savemart, Lengthwise Pub, Moo Creamery, Sully’s, Bevmo, other locations


Stone Enjoy by Black IPA

9.4% ABV

BA Score – 91

Another best when fresh beer, this darker cousin of the original Enjoy By is wonderful.  Found locally on tap and in 22 oz. bottles it looks like Stone is planning to release this version more often throughout the year.  The flavors are vibrant fruit and dank malts.  Found: multiple locations


Modern Times Blazing World Amber Ale

6.8% ABV

BA Score – 91

Blazing World is one of the easiest beers to find on this list.  It’s available at a wide variety of spots around town in 16 oz. cans and on tap.  Great hop forward, dank flavor that is so drinkable with lots of fruit and a nice malt backbone.  Found: multiple locations


Lengthwise Citra-Simcoe Centennial Ale IPA

6.5% ABV

BA Score – N/A

This is the best locally brewed, easily attainable, available year round beer in my book.  Citra-Simcoe is the perfect example of what Lengthwise brews.  Not overly flashy or oddly complex, just a great tasting west coast IPA.  You can find this on tap at all three Lengthwise locations and in 22 oz. bottles all over town.  Found: Lengthwise, multiple locations


AleSmith Speedway Imperial Stout

12% ABV

BA Score – 97

This is certainly the biggest beer I’ve included.  It was showing up in town in limited supply this summer/fall on tap and in 750 ml bottles.  It’s a year round release for AleSmith but without consistent local distribution we only get to see it every once in a while.  It hits you hard with coffee and dark chocolate with roasted malt flavors.  It’s a bit boozy in a good way.  Found: Moo Creamery, Imbibe


Green Flash Hop Odyssey Mosaic Session IPA

4.5% ABV

BA Score – 86

This session is easy to find when it’s fresh.  I love a good session, easy drinking and a relatively low ABV is perfect for certain occasions.  Available locally on tap, in 22 oz. bottles and in six packs, this single hop beer brings tropical and floral notes which are what you would expect with Mosaic hops.  Mosaic Session IPA just really worked for me this year.  Found: multiple locations


Kern River Brewing Company Citra DIPA

8% ABV

BA Score – 100

OK, so this one is pretty tough to get your hands on.  A couple of times a year they have a lottery (via brownpapertickets.com) to win the right to buy bottles of this coveted beer.  The good thing is when a batch is brewed, they have a pretty good supply on tap at the brewery and since we are only about an hour away, it’s not too hard to at least get a pint.  They also had a surprise keg tapped at this year’s Bacon and Craft Beer Festival.  Lots of citrus and other fruit flavors with a sweet malt profile make this a great example of a west coast style DIPA.  Found: Kern River Brewing Company