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Top 10 Beers of 2011

Man there have been a lot of beers in 2011.  Between beer festivals, events, small tastings, big tastings and just personal consumption I have sampled probably more beers this year than I have in any other calendar year.  And there is still one week left!

Well with that I will take on the daunting task of trying to compile a list of 10 of the best.  But I’m up for the challenge.  And while I’m sure I will miss a few here and there and you all will undoubtedly let me hear about it I will do my best.

So I give you, in no particular order, my top 10 beers of the year 2011.

  • Passionfruit and Dragonfruit Berliner Weisse (Cigar City) – This was my absolutely favorite beer from the many that I tried at Hunahpu’s Day this year.  The pink color and head were the first thing that caught my eye from other people drinking it.  Then just the name sold me completely.  Light in body with an outstanding tartness that was just perfect for a easy drinking.
  • Nelson IPA (Alpine) – This small brewery out of California is making a name for itself for extremely well craft beers.  Thanks to friends that are avid traders I have been able to sample a number of their brews.  But the one that really knocked it out of the park for me was Nelson IPA.  An American IPA brewed with an incredible amount of New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin hops.  This hop variety has become my favorite and this beer spotlighted the strain very well.
  • Heady Topper (The Alchemist) – Speaking of hopped up beers, The Alchemist out of Vermont released a double IPA that everyone is talking about.  The 120 IBU brew is a hop heads dream.  Even myself that has slowly been moving away from overly hoppy beers couldn’t help but enjoy this.  Plus it’s from a can, got to love cans.
  • No Crusts (Funky Buddha) – The guys at Funky Buddha have released some great beers this year but one in particular stands out to me.  No Crusts is their take on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a brown ale.  I’ve had a lot of beers that claim to taste like something in particular but none hit the nail on the head as much as this one.  From the peanuts to the fruity jelly tastes all the way to hints of wheat bread.  They have the whole sandwich in a glass.
  • La Parcela (Jolly Pumpkin) – It’s no secret that pumpkin beers aren’t my thing.  It’s also no secret that sour beers are my thing.  So when one of my favorite bars got a keg of this I just had to give it a try.  Let’s just say from there after I probably helped kick that keg more than anyone else.  Pumpkin fans were probably disappointed in this but I was far from a pumpkin fan.  Some subtle spices mixed with a traditional sour JP beer suited me just fine.
  • Hop Scotch (Tequesta) – Tequesta turns out solid beers that are made to style and super easy to drink.  When I heard of their decision to make a hoppy Scotch ale I was excited as this seemed like a new venture for them.  The experiment was a great success as this beer turned out to be my personal favorite that they have ever released.  Here’s to hoping they decide to make it again next year.
  • Veritas 006 (Lost Abbey) – Yes this beer was not released in 2011 but I had it this year.  A bottle I received in a trade and decided to share with a couple friends on a very sour Thanksgiving.  Tons of raspberries in this tart beer made me more than happy.
  • Charkoota Rye (New Holland) – While many people talk about Dragon’s Milk (and rightfully so) there was another beer from New Holland that I just loved.  This smoked rye doppelbock was packed full of bacon and smokey flavors.  Maple syrup and rye notes rounded out this bad boy.  I call it bad because I would want to drink this for breakfast everyday and unfortunately that is frowned upon.
  • Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout (Cigar City) – Yes Cigar City is making another appearance on the list.  I promise it’s the last and the only brewery that makes a second appearance.  I loved Hunahpu’s the first year it came out but this year’s batch was so much better.  More chili peppers, more chocolate, more awesomeness in a glass (side note: my computer did not say that awesomeness was a misspelling so it must be real word now).  I’m glad I have one of each year to build up my vertical.
  • Tart of Darkness (The Bruery) – Everyone wants to talk about Black Tuesday and Chocolate Rain from the Bruery.  While I enjoyed those beers they weren’t mind numbing like so many people make them out to be.  And believe me, I’m a big fan of the Bruery.  It’s their sours that really stand out to me though.  And Tart of Darkness was one of such beers.  A great mixture of a stout and sour brew brings a beer that is memorable to me.

Well there you have it, my 10 favorite beers of 2011.  Have you had any of these?  Did you like them?  Or better yet, what was your 10?  Tell me in the comments.

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