Best Beers of September 2022

Part of the month was spent in Kentucky but only one beer made the Best of the Month roster.

Let’s harshly rank this month…

  • 4th – West 6th Brewing Dankechain Oktoberfest
  • 3rd – Malibu Brewing First Point IPA
  • 2nd – Firestone Walker / Green Bench Dabbling in Decoction
  • 1st – Ambitious Ales Dream Tea Hazy IPA

Best Beers of August 2022

It was a bit of a hoppy month, was August. The three runners up were all in the pale to IPA categories. My first beer from Wagon Wheel, their Pintail Pale ale made an impression as did two collaborations. MadeWest + Alvarado Street and Short Lived as well as Common Space + Riip Beer with Three Hop Drop. But the best was Magnificent Everything from the new Everywhere BeerCo..

It was super, super soft and the ABV was well hidden and the fruit and wheat were allowed to shine.

Best Beers of July 2022

With all due respect to the beers that I had during the other three weeks of July, the beers tasted in Portland were the clear frontrunners.

From the three (yes, three) Grodziskies that I had to the retro All Cascade IPA at Assembly Brewing, the Best of July was picking from one week.

Tied for second for me were the two beers at brand new Living Haus including this tangerine bomb done with Great Notion, Little Haus of Horrors.

One of the juiciest beers I have encountered that also steps aside to be a big burly Imperial IPA.

But the winner was a can picked at random from a line-up of Rosenstadt beers at a tiny gourmet market near Mt. Tabor. Houblon, a French-style pilsner was just perfect. Crisp and hoppy, just a lively fun beer that made me wish I had bought all of their beers.

Best Beers of June 2022

LABW13 ran its course this month and I have picked a beer tasted at the Cellador Friends Fest as well as an L.A beer as my four best for the month. It’s just not the sane beer.

Non-LA favorites were the Ledge Bier from Great Notion Brewing. It was a very gin and botanical lager to me and it was more silky than I expect a lager to me. And yet, really struck me as good. Staying with Great Notion but with a collaboration with Fremont Brewing, Mr. Sun II. This hazy DIPA ticked all the hazy boxes that I have and was just fruity all the way.

In LA, Chilloo IPA re-gained the winning ways of Brouwerij West and revived an interest in driving down to their coastal brewery. That leaves North Park and my favorite beer of the month with a fantastic name as well, Ancient Civilization West Coast DIPA which I liked more than its sibling, City of the Future Hazy DIPA.

Best Beers of May 2022

The Premier League finished this month and with it came post-mortems and best of and worst of lists. What these lists has in common was expectations. A player expected to score goals who did vs one who didn’t. A player who was injured vs one who wasn’t.

Or a player who came cheap and overperformed vs an expensive player that was just OK.

Same can be said of beers, a beer gifted to you vs. a beer you hunted down and paid top dollar for.

This month, I was kindly gifted two beers from Shades Brewing in Utah. Had never heard of the brewery before and they were sours which I have less of due to stomach responses.

But the Passion Fruit Sour and Plum Berliner Weisse were easily the best of the bunch and if ever in the Salt Lake state, I would encourage a visit.

Best Beers of April 2022

I do not drink a lot of sours these days. One is that there is a tilt toward the smoothie sour which is a little to kids candy for me and second, that acid rumbles my tummy big time.

All preamble to April and the choice of two sours for my best of the month. First is Honey Mile from Cascade. No surprise that the NW masters of sour made something tasty but the mix of chamomile and honey was excellent. Second was French Twist from Smog City. A barrel-aged “cocktail” beer. Saison aged in gin barrels with lemon and vanilla.

Same story for both beers. A base sour with adjuncts that added layers and depth of flavor.

Best Beers of March 2022

Some months the frontrunner is clear. March led me to some tough choices. Re-tasting Maudite Dubbel from Unibroue was a delightful visit. The coffee Kolsch from Los Angeles Ale Works, Bengal Brew was a nice change-up from IPAs but the dual winners are from Highland Park.

Fireweed Lager was a chewy and malty revelation using a new to me ingredient and tied for first was the High 8 Anniversary pilsner which again shows that for as well as HPB does IPAs (they have High 8’s in that style too), it is hoppy pilsner where they truly shine..

Best Beers of January 2022

Time to check in on what caught my fancy this month. Sometimes a low or no expectation beer or brewery can get a Best of… nod because of that surprise. That is what happened with new-ish brewery La Bodega whose Pale Ale wowed me because I didn’t know a darn thing about the brewery.

In other cases, a beer blast from the past can make a case. Nut Brown from AleSmith really hit the different from most of the beers spot and I had not had it in such a long time that it was fresh.

But the winner was a multi-player collaboration from Ogopogo Brewing in San Gabriel. It was an 8% IIPA that probably could have been called a double but that was the only mark against it. It was bright and crisp and straight down the middle hoppy.

Best Beers of December + Final IPA Rankings

Time to check in on the best of the last month of beer drinking in 2021.

This month three beers caught my fancy and one almost cracked the IPA top three. That was the Tarantula Hill / June Lake winter DIPA collab, Tomahawk Yard Sale.

Two chocolate beers rang in second and third with Mason Ale Works Naughty Hot Chocolate Stout edging out a surprise contender from Uinta with their Peppermint Patty beer.

That means that the IPA standings are the same. And if you had told me back in January that a HPB meets Beachwood beer would win, I would have said, “sounds about right.”

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

2. Offshoot Beer Co. DDH Visions

1.Highland Park / Beachwood Natural Born Shredders

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.