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Top 25 Favorite Beers of 2013

It’s been a busy year. I havn’t even posted a review in a couple months, I’ve been so busy. Luckily, there’s been some great beer along the way. A few that made the list were sent to me from friends across the country. I know I owe a couple of you, but don’t worry, you’ll get a nice package at your doorstep soon. I’m pretty lucky to be involved in such a passionate community and to continue getting people passionate about beer. It’s so much more than just a beverage. It’s an art, a science, and most importantly brings people together. Here’s to 2013 and Cheers to another year of amazing beer!

1. Schell’s Star of the North”

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Pretty much every beer that I’ve had from this brewery this year is on this list. But, by far and away, the most intriguing beer that I’ve had all year is this Berliner Weiss. It’s a very uncommon style, but it shouldn’t be. It’s refreshing, crisp, and acidic. I’m also willing to bet that it’s the most complex 4% beer you’ve ever had. I loved everything about this beer, even the packing. It’s a Champagne bottle! Champagne of the North, as the style was known. This is the stuff I geek out over.

2. Firestone Walker Solace

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Firestone Walker is a great brewery, but I didn’t know they had it in them to produce a beer that tastes like it was imported from one of the great breweries in Germany. I bought so many six packs of this last Summer. This beer is a symphony of balance. I can’t wait till next Summer!

3. Southern Oregon Holy Water

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I had absolutely zero expectations for this beer. It’s a cheap looking label and a style of beer that I’m usually pretty “Meh” about. But, wouldn’t you know it, the liquid inside is pure gold. It’s got a surprising amount of complexity with great balance. I know I won’t take that brewery for granted anymore.

4. Anchor Porter

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Believe it or not, this year was my first time having Anchor Porter. It’s considered a classic, but I usually only find the Steam Beer. Man, am I glad I finally got to try it. This might be the best smelling beer in the world! Seriously, give it a good whiff before you drink it.

5. Stone RuinTen

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So many IPAs, and so many from Stone. This happens to be one of the most interesting that I’ve ever had. The flavors and complexity will blow you away.

6. Alaskan Imperial Red

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Several times I have written off Alaskan. Not that they have bad beer, but the prices they charge are just out of line. This is the exception. One caveat, this is really an IPA with some darker malts, but who cares, it’s delicious.

7. No-Li Born & Raised

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One of this year’s most striking bottles also happens to be one of this year’s best IPAs. This is the Washington IPA that many other Washington IPAs try to be. Just look at that head.

8. Full Sail LTD 07

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It’s no surprise considering my high opinion of Full Sail Lagers, but this still took me back. One of the best Lagers I’ve had all year, and just a great Oktoberfest.

9. Iron Horse Double Rainbow

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I KNOW WHAT IT MEANS!!! This is the kind of beer that I just love. It reminds me of the Ninkasi Believer which is one of my very favorite beers of all time. It’s a hoppy red, that’s luscious and overflowing with flavor. Great label, too.

10. Midnight Sun Arctic Devil

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13.4% hides itself in this dark, brooding wine of barley. Easily my favorite of the year.

11. 10 Barrel ISA

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I’m sure most of us can agree that the term India Session Ale is ridiculous, but I’m sure we can also agree that this beer is delicious. These hop flavors of tropical and citrus fruits will get me every time.

12. Schell’s Chimney Sweep

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“Nice amount of smoke, and almost beef jerky kinda thing going on, with a little bit of vanilla, honey, chocolate, and apples.” How can that not be good?

13. Rince Cochon

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Hogwash is one of the best Belgians I’ve had this year. Lovely flavor and complexity, but who can resist the cute pig?

14. Deschutes Fresh Squeezed

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I love citrusy IPAs, so if you are going to make one based on citrusy hops, I’m gonna be all over it. The Bond Street Series continues it’s epic IPA amazingness.

15. Big Sky Brush Tail

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If you don’t think they can make a Saison in Montana, then you’ve got another thing coming. This beer is fantastic. Keep it up Big Sky.

16. Belhaven Wee Heavy

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I’ve never been a big fan of Scotch Ales. They are usually sweet and often coying. This just has a lovely caramel flavor that doesn’t overwhelm.

17. Schell’s Fresh Citra Pils

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There we go again with the citrus. Tropical fruit for days in this beer.

18. Laurelwood Portland Roast Espresso Stout

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Easily the best coffee beer I’ve ever had. Meaning, I hate almost all coffee beers, but I didn’t hate this!

19. Ninkasi Vanilla Oatis

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Take a great beer that I already love and add vanilla. Boom, top 25.

20. Ninkasi ReNEWale 2013

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Have I told you how much I like Ninkasi? This year’s ReNEWale is an ESB and a damn tasty one. Just take my money, Ninkasi. Take it all.

21. Widmer Columbia Common

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Let me list out the Steam beers that I’ve had before this: Anchor. Good on Widmer for making a beer so ingrained with another brewery.

22. Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung

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God knows how to pronounce this, but what I can pronounce is “yum”. It’s got some weird German hops in here that give it an earthy, floral, and even a tobacco note.

23. GoodLife Mountain Rescue

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I think this is the only beer that I’ve had from this brewery, but it’s just a nice, well-made brew at a decent price.

24. Elysian Savant IPA

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Another great Washington IPA and another favorite for this year. Check out their Manic IPA series, it won’t disappoint.

25. Dick’s IPA

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I guess I’m a fan of repetition, but here’s yet another great Washington IPA.

I’d like to give one special shout-out to Ninkasi for their Oktoberfest. They made a Dortmunder and it’s just brilliant. Did I review it? Of course not. But if they make it again, I can already tell you it’ll be on next year’s top 25. See you all in the new year, Cheers!

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