In terms of beer, 2013 was a HELL of a year for me. I got the chance to try a ridiculous amount of new beers, which compared to a lot of more hardcore beer nerds out there is probably barely a drop in the bucket. So looking forward to what’s in store for the new year I wanted to touch on some new breweries that have come to my attention and other beers I’m looking forward to trying to track down this year.
Before that though I want to take a moment to highlight some of my favorite beers I was able to try for the first time in 2013 and hopefully won’t be the last I see of them.
Top 5 Beers of 2013
5. Jai Alai (Cigar City Brewing Company)
4. Modus Hoperandi (Ska Brewing Company)
3. Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Bean (Stone Brewing Company)
2. Zombie Dust (Three Floyds Brewing Company)
1. Heady Tooper (The Alchemist)
Of the beers listed only Modus Hoperandi and Stone’s Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean are ones I can go to my local bottle shop and buy whenever I want. Additionally some standouts for me are Surly Brewing Company’s OverRated, Bender and Furious. I was also treated to other Florida offerings that include Cycle Brewing’s Freewheel Pale Ale and Cigar City’s Good Gourd. I could go on and on about all the delicious beers I was able to try for the first time but I think it’s time to move on to the new year.
2013 saw the distribution of Stone, Deschutes and Founders to my neck of the woods here in Nebraska, along with some other less high profile releases such as Grimm Brothers right at the tail end if December. I can’t wait to see what happens here in 2014 but here is a list of the top fivebreweries I’d like to see here in Nebraska in the near future. Maybe six since my number one is going to be a real longshot where as the others I’m pulling from distribution in states surrounding Nebraska, and the number one is nowhere close as of yet.
Brewery Wish List
6. Schlafly Brewing Company
5. Bells Brewery
4. Oskar Blues Brewery
3. Firestone Walker Brewing Company
2. Southern Tier Brewing Company
1. Cigar City Brewing Company
How many of these are likely in 2014? Probably none, at the most maybe one, but I’m holding out hope to be able to head down the street and pick one of these up in the near future. Currently I can drive approximately 30 minutes to get a Bells fix if I feel so inclined which isn’t bad, but I’d rather be able to drive a couple minutes if I’m craving some Two Hearted. The other 5 require much longer drives- 3 hours to be exact and much longer that that if we’re talking about Cigar City.
Lastly, I want to get into some breweries I have had no experience with as well as some beers I’m looking forward to trying in 2014. The breweries listed I haven’t had a chance to try any of their releases where as the beers listed it is possible I’ve had offerings from that brewery just not the specific beer.
What I want to try in 2014
Toppling Goliath Brewing Company – Only in the last couple weeks did this Iowa brewery come to my attention. I was born and raised in Iowa so it always gives me a little bit of pride when I taste a beer from my home state and am really happy with the result. I am seeing a growing presence of Toppling Goliath on some of the trading forums I look at from time to time and unfortunately they don’t distribute far enough west in Iowa that I can take a 30 minute drive to pick some up- though I plan to possibly make a trip that direction in the next year for a visit. Luckily my wait to try won’t be long since the brewery will be present on February 22nd at the Extreme Beerfest which I will be attending.
New Glarus Brewing Company – Okay, I might be cheating a bit because technically I’ve tried two beers from New Glarus. I had Spotted Cow a few years back when I first started trying new beers at a point that I wasn’t really keeping track and another I don’t remember the name of because I was already a little inebriated at the time. Regardless, the two beers aren’t exactly what I’m excited to try- what I’m really excited about and have had my eyes on are the fruit beers that I hear nothing but good things about. Specifically I’m really looking forwarding to getting a hold of Serendipity, Strawberry Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart. Fingers crossed 2014 is the year I get to try all three.
Hill Farmstead Brewery – I hear nothing but good things about everything coming out of this brewery. So I won’t waste much time except to say I’m excited to try just about everything from these guys.
Pipeworks Brewing Company – One last brewery I hear nothing but good things about. In reviewing their offerings I found myself most interested in the Truffle Abduction lineup and any number of their hoppy offerings.
Indeed Brewing Company – I’m only assuming this is the lesser known of all the breweries on this list, but my desire to try Indeed’s lineup of beers I’m attributing exclusively to the episode of The Beerists podcast in which they tried and loved many of their beers. Specifically the one I’m excited to track down is the Daytripper Pale Ale. Surly is certainly the brewery most think of when it comes to Minnesota, but if some of these beers are as good as advertised then who know, maybe they have a shot at giving Surly a run for their money.
Modern Times Beer – My neck of the woods recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign which, well, kickstarted their business. However, it wasn’t nearly as successful as Modern Times campaign- in fact the government shutdown is still having an affect on their production- because there is none. Modern Times is up and running and from the sounds of it putting out some pretty tasty beer. Which is why I’m excited to give it a shot.
The Bruery White Chocolate – I love white chocolate so I cannot express enough just how delicious this wheat wine sounds to me. The price tag would be enough to drive some people away, but it’s a price I’d be willing to pay to try it at least once. If I was desperate enough I’d try like hell to clone it, but I have faith that I will get a hold of one at some point this year, though all my trade attempts have come up empty thus far.
Boulevard Brewing Company Chocolate Ale – After taking 2013 off from this release Boulevard decided to take another run at this chocolatey concoction and I couldn’t be happier. Set to release sometime in the middle of February I plan on treating myself to a little Valentine’s Day indulgence.
Maybe I’ll stick with just the two specific beers for now to keep my expectations for the year a little lower. Ideally I’ll have an unbelievable year of trying new things and getting my hands on some rarer releases, but I don’t want to overextend myself too much. Anyway, here’s looking forward to a year of fantastic beer!