The Firkin for November 2021

For this Firkin opinion piece, with the turkey merely a leftover memory and Christmas fast approaching, I want to get a little grumpy.

Just a little. Then I can get back to my cheerful but wary self. Here is a short list of beer items that I am NOT thankful for…

  • the lactose-isation of beer from pastry stouts to milkshake IPA’s
  • the slowed but still going IP theft labels
  • anyone not feeling welcome in a taproom
  • Whole Foods not being able to scan a single can, only 4-packs
  • lack of half pint pours in many places
  • the font size on labels growing ever smaller
  • idiots not wearing masks

That feels better. Now onto the final month 2021.

Best Beers of November 2021 + IPA Standings

Time to check in on the best of the 11 month.

I did crack open an eleven year old Widmer Brrbon for Christmas decorating time but I was more impressed by the re-release of Two Turtle Doves from The Bruery. Spicy, warm and Belgian-y. I do like a holiday’d Belgian Strong Ale.

Also a pair of red IPA’s caught my attention. Rhinestone Red from Silva Brewing and Morbid Curiosity from Trademark Brewing.

That means that the IPA standings are static but I do have Sierra Nevada’s Celebration waiting in the wings.

3. Chapman Crafted Old Towne Block Party Year 5 DDH DIPA

2. Offshoot Beer Co. DDH Visions

1.Highland Park / Beachwood Natural Born Shredders

Santa’s Pint Glass – Day 4

Santa is off to Germany for his next pint from Landskron

“The elegant festival beer for special enjoyment in winter. A beer with a balanced aroma, in which the malt notes are harmoniously paired with floral hop scents. It promises a pleasure with a full, round body, in which a fine hop bitterness is perfectly integrated and which ends with a full malt body.”

Fresh Hop Winner # 3 – Single Hill Brewing Company

The Gold medal went to Energy Cone from Single Hill Brewing in Yakima.

Here are my choices to guide you when you visit…

Adams Pilsner– “Naturally brewed from the finest Northwest malts and Yakima Valley hops, Adams is a refreshing, every-day drinker. A pilsner that is true to the craft and easy on the palate, this crispy mountain beer has been deemed: “The bubbly of gold ribbon feast beers.”

Future Echoes Bold IPA – “Future Echoes is back, and this time it’s showcasing Simcoe, Bravo, and experimental hop 17701 from Hopsteiner. This Bold IPA leans into the bitterness of a traditional west-coast IPA, while bringing the noise with modern hop flavors of peach, pear, & bitter orange peel.”

Raz Rocketship – “Carrying a massive payload of raspberries on board a German-style sour wheat base, Raz Rocket is jammy, tart and refreshing. Try it yourself and see why we think it’s out of this world!”

Osa Major Imperial Stout – “Featuring deeper black color and darker chocolate and fuller roast flavors than in its little sibling, Osa Major is a roaring, intense Imperial Stout.”

Santa’s Pint Glass – Day 3

Staying in the land of holiday hops for another day so that we can celebrate another year of what is probably the second most iconic seasonal ale. Celebration Fresh Hop IPA from Sierra Nevada.

Described thusly, “Once we pick fresh hops, the clock starts ticking. Each year, we visit the Pacific Northwest to hand-select the best Cascade and Centennial hops, race the harvest home, and brew immediately to capture citrus, pine, and floral notes at their absolute peak — aromas and flavors for the perfect winter beer. It’s a magical time at the brewery — has been for 40 years now! — when our brewers huddle around the fermentation tanks, toasting the start of a special season. Wrapped in red, consider Celebration IPA your first present of the holidays.”

and the Best of’s Start

November is not even finished but in beer punditry world, the year is done and dusted and it is time to rank the beers!

Here are some notables (in my view) from Craft Beer & Brewing magazine and their 20 Best of 2021

Maplewood Barrel Aged Cuppa Vanilla Rye  (Chicago) That sounds like a breakfast beer.

Vitamin Sea Tropical Envy (Collaboration with Civil Society Brewing (East Weymouth, Massachusetts) Usually TIPAs don’t make the list.

Green Bench Postcard Pils (St. Petersburg, Florida) Always a pils on the list

Oxbow Crossfade (Newcastle, Maine) Oxbow is one of those who almost always make the list.

Wild Provisions Metes & Bounds: Red Globe Peach (Boulder, Colorado) Now I am interested to try a red globe peach.

Resident Culture Static God (Charlotte, North Carolina) Always a lager on the list.

Breakside True Gold (Portland, Oregon) Go Oregon!

Triple Crossing One and the Same (Richmond, Virginia) 

WeldWerks Starry Noche (Greeley, Colorado) Perennially added brewery

Green Cheek It Just Works (Orange, California)  I have had this one! Wasn’t super impressed by it.

Santa’s Pint Glass – Day 1

Let’s fill Santa’s shaker pint with a SoCal beer to start the holiday season strong, with Christmas Bock from Enegren Brewing

Here is the description of their first ever holiday beer: “This medium bodied amber bock bier has rich caramelly flavors paired with mild, Christmassy spice characteristics from the German Hallertau and Herkules hops. A perfect combination with its higher ABV to celebrate Christmas all month long! Frohe Weihnachten!”