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 February 2022

Birthday week and month is now over and it was an easy pick for best of the month, Eagle Rock Brewery and their nitro pour of Umi Kumā Lua, their anniversary IPA.

The IPA in standard form has nutmeg in the recipe but that is amped a notch with the nitro pour that has fresh ground nutmeg over a super creamy top plus umbrella to get the full effect. The hop and that cream layer with that spice really work as a whole. No nitro cans but the non-nitro version is also quite good with notes of pear and pine.

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

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

Best Beers of October 2021 + IPA Rankings

Some months, the best beers arrive unexpectedly throughout the month, this time though, my three favorites were had on one day just before the month went ghostly.

I can always count on Enegren to make a crisp beer and their 2021 Festbier hit the markers at every turn. Crisp, malty with a touch silky sweetness.

I followed that up with the last fresh hop can of Arachne from Ogopogo and Three Weavers which had held up quite well. Nice fresh fruity notes.

Lastly, a gray day outside asked for a gray label and Change of Plans is one of the best hazies that El Segundo has put out though I know they prefer West Coast clear.

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

2. Offshoot Beer Co. DDH Visions

1.Beachwood / Highland Park Natural Born Shredders

Best Beers of September 2021 + IPA Ranking

Let’s reverse order and cut to the IPA chase, there was a close contender to crack the Top 3 but the collaboration between Ogogopo Brewing and Three Weavers on a Strata Fresh Hop ale didn’t quite climb the heights so the list remains

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

2. Offshoot Beer Co. DDH Visions

1, Beachwood / Highland Park Natural Born Shredders

Other than Arachne, the Strata beer previously mentioned the other winners for September were Radiant Beer Co. and This is Happening DDH, There Does Not Exist’s Vague Future Black IPA and then my winner, Single Fermented Duvel. Damn, this is a beer that I need to drink way more often. Best two words to describe it are sparkle and spice.

In the Tap Lines for September 2021

header_attractionsHello September.  Where the first two weeks are filled with Fest and Pumpkin beers which then disappear before tge month is over.  Why? Cause ‘Merica needs to move on to the next holiday pronto.  But let’s drink in the here and the now this month.

~ e-visits to (3) breweries in college football towns
~ special featured reviews of beers bought from City Beer Store
~Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Gene & Roger
~ Great Beer names and Best Beers of the Month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

Best Beers of July 2021 + IPA Ranking

Let’s go straight to the top, my favorite beer of the month is Natural Born Shredders from the combined talents of Beachwood Brewing and Highland Park Brewery. This IPA has a Wonderful aroma.  Bright with dried fruit and pine. As it warms sone cat pee notes creep in. Loads of tangerine flavor.  Overall light mouthfeel.  Nice bitterness bite that lingers.

So let’s update the IPA rankings before mentioning a couple honorable mentions.

3 – Crooked Stave Idaho 7 IPA

2 – Offshoot Beer Co. DDH Visions

1 – Beachwood / Highland Park Natural Born Shredders

Two other really great beers wowed me this month. Total Boss Red IPA from Smog City was malty and hoppy and filling in equal measure. Radiant Beer Co. and their Can Down By the River Motivational Lager which from can design to flavor was great.