The Lady & I went on the road a lot in 2014. We visited New Orleans for Wrestlemania, Richmond VA for my niece’s confirmation, Manitou Springs CO to visit her sister, which led to me being stranded in Chicago so I found a Sun King Brewing in Indianapolis on the drive back to Cbus and made more than enough trips into Pennsylvania for various events. I figured these beers were worth their own post even if I have reported on most of them. Time to give a different top ten to make it feel different.
10. Abita Brewing Co. – Andygator – I’ve got to say, New Orleans is much better with their mixed drinks than their beer. Abita is a popular Louisiana staple and they make sure you aren’t in a craft beer oasis in the Big Easy. This beer was a Helles Bock which made it one of the more interesting beers I have tried this year.
9. Sun King Brewing – Fistful of Hops (2nd Quarter) – I got this beer in Indianapolis on my unintended drive back to Cbus from Chicago because an exhaust fan had caught fire in the control tower in Chicago. I’m glad I laughed about all of the problems or else this could have been a miserable situation. This beer was the better of the two mini-growlers I got on my pit stop. If you like hops, give this one a try.
8. Goose Island Beer Co. – Ten Hills Pale Ale – I had this beer for dinner at midnight in Chicago. It is another beer that helped stoke my love of pale ales again this year. It had just a right amount of hops and floral flavor to it. I was looking for Revolution Brewing beers, but I’m quite happy I got to try this one from the longer established Chicago brewer.
7. Quest Brewing Co. – Silence of the Yams – I’m sure that I tried more beers in Greenville SC than I did at any other stop on my travels. That is why this trip is well represented on this list. Quest Brewing is the only company in Greenville from that list though. They deserved a spot for his luscious stout. It was thick and just a little sweet from the yams. I also love the name.
6. Erie Brewing Co. – Rail Bender Ale – This beer may not make it on the list next year as I spotted some Erie Brewing Co. products in my craft beer store I hit. I first saw this company though on one of my travels to Altoona PA. This beer is the first of two Scottish beers on this list. This beer is worth bending your arm to your mouth though.
5. Strangeways Brewing – Desdemona – This beer is the only one on the list that I haven’t reviewed. I purchased a three pack when I was in Richmond VA called the Wyrd Sisters. They were three tripels with different yeast strains. This one used a traditional Trappist Yeast and it was my favorite. It had a red hue to it and had an extremely clean flavor. I only wish I hadn’t had two liters of beer at the Hofbrauhaus. It has an ABV of 9.0% so it’s no wonder it was the knock out punch. I’m glad Fred downed his half of the 22 though.
4. Lone Rider Brewing Co. – Sweet Josie Brown Ale – This beer was one of the ones tried in Greenville but it’s from Raleigh NC. It’s a brown ale which isn’t seen enough in my opinion. They don’t have the sweetness of malt heavy beers or the bitterness of pales or IPAs. Browns have a fantastic nuttiness and go down as smoothly as any beer can. This beer is a perfect example of that style.
3. Bristol Brewing Co. – Laughing Lab Scottish Ale – Bristol helped me celebrate American Craft Beer Week this past year in Manitou Springs CO. Their best beer was their flagship beer. Scottish ales have quickly become a favorite with their sweet malty goodness. I liked this one just a bit more than Erie’s because it was cleaner and less bitterness while continuing not to be one note.
2. Triple C Brewing Co. – Smoked Amber – In the original review, I noted that Jeremy got me this amber ale by accident. It was the best accident Jeremy has ever had. Unlike other recent ambers, this one wasn’t very bitter. It had just the right amount smoke which is an impediment in many smoked beers. The sweetness came through too. Fantastic beer out of Charlotte NC.
1. Strangeways Brewing – Freeze Ray Eisbock – As I noted the previous mistake, this stop in Richmond was also a mistake. My brother likes Hardywood Park Brewing more (I think) so we were set to go there but when it was closed, we moved to Strangeways. My brother does not like this beer. This ranking shows how much I disagree with him. It had a creamy smoothness while supplying that malty doppelbock flavor. This will also knock your block off at 10.24% ABV. Great beer with a high ABV without the bitterness of an IPA. I’ll take it every day of the week. – Kevin