Home Beer The best beers we tasted this week

The best beers we tasted this week


Draft's Best Beers of the Week

Side Project Brewing

There’s a reason #bonersforcory is a hashtag that exists: Side Project co-owner and head brewer Cory King makes priapism-inducing sour ales. Smooth, aged two years in French oak foeders before it spends additional time on Missouri nectarines, is one of his best. An intense aroma—detectable from several feet away—is like a pile of peach slices splashed with white vinegar, but give it a swirl and the oak emerges: vanilla, almond, lemon custard. The depth of the wood is what really makes this beer incredible, but the fruit flavors also brighten it up nicely and combine to give the impression of velvety peaches and cream. But dear god, is the brew ever sour. At the swallow, lovely nectarine, eggy custard and just a hint of haylike funk shift into extreme lemon-juice acidity. It gives you heartburn and is worth every flare-up.

XIX Anniversary Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Each year, Firestone invites California winemakers—who have some experience in blending—to help create a special cuvee celebrating the brewery’s birth. The final blend is always a little different; 19’s composed of 33 percent Parabola (Firestone’s bourbon-aged imperial stout), 33 percent Stickee Monkee (a bourbon-aged Belgian quad), 17 percent Bravo (an imperial brown ale aged in bourbon and brandy barrels), and 17 percent Velvet Merkin (a bourbon-aged oatmeal stout). It premiered in November 2015, and nine months later exhibits well-knit flavors of sweet coconut, cherry, fig and maple. Deeper gulps draw out notes of red wine, whiskey and sherry, while edges of toffee, tobacco and a hint of espresso keep things from getting too saccharine. Allow the beer to warm up and it becomes even more complex, with plum and amaretto appearing before the swallow lifts up vanilla, cotton candy and butterscotch rounded off by bitter dark chocolate and espresso. Even nine months in, the fruit flavors are still bright and the sugars bold; this could age another year or two and keep improving.

Moonlight Meadery

If you’ve never had the pleasure of tasting Utopias, the 28% ABV, massively complex quasi-liqueur released irregularly by Boston Beer Co. under its Sam Adams brand, this mead from New Hampshire is the next best thing. That’s because it’s actually fermented and aged for five years in the same port, bourbon, cognac, sherry and rum casks in which Utopias slumbers. The integration is seamless: honey threads through the barrels, drawing notes of toasted oak, coconut, dates, maple syrup and cognac to augment its soft, rounded sweetness. The mead’s alcohol level isn’t nearly as high as in Utopias—it only 18%—but it’s nigh undetectable.

pFriem Family Brewers

Sometimes you just need a break from the pulpy juice bombs and tropical umbrella drinks many IPAs have morphed into. Earthy-herbal hops, pepper rind and dried bread crusts characterize this Portland-made IPA’s classic nose, while the flavor has a tangy blood orange quality accented by onion root and brioche; a flash of OJ fades to a perfectly even finish. There aren’t any bells and whistles here; it’s just a really good IPA.

SeaQuench Ale
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

This new “session sour” from Dogfish is actually a cuvee of three different beers: a gose made with pungent black limes (those are limes that have been dried, usually in the sun), a Berliner weisse brewed with lime juice and zest, and a regular old Kölsch. The combination results in an aroma that balances lime zest with ocean spray, soft wheat and a dash of sulfur. Dried floral notes—lavender, rose petals—appear initially on the tongue but soon segue into pithy lime, and cinnamon-like spice rises at the finish (this is the black lime) alongside clean parsely notes. Unlike in the aforementioned Smooth, the tartness here is mild and manageable, working in tandem with a really pleasant salt character, almost like you get the minerality of the sodium chloride without its saline bite.




Zach Fowle is DRAFT's beer editor. Reach him at zach@draftmag.com.


Brewery Travels: My Favorite Brewery/Beer from Each State

In my ongoing quest to visit breweries all across this great land, I have now surpassed the 400 mark, and they’ve been spread across 37 states and 175+ cities. To celebrate this landmark, I’ve put together a ‘Special Edition’ of Brewery Travels: A rundown of my favorites in each of the states visited so far.

CATEGORIES: Beer   Feature   Midwest Breweries   Midwest Feature   Northeast Breweries   South Breweries   Travel   West Breweries  


Why a Miller Lite Was the Best Beer I’ve Ever Had

I’ve worked in craft beer for nearly five years now. I’ve had the fortune to try some truly amazing brews: Pliny the Elder, Heady Topper, Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout. Supplication? I’ve got one in my mini-fridge. The reason I’m telling you this is because I want to frame my statements here properly. I’ve had good beer, trust me. The best beer I’ve ever had, though, was a Miller Lite.

CATEGORIES: Beer   MIDWEST   Midwest Feature  

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

192 queries in 2.553 seconds.