#7: Eddyline Brewery- Inner Glow Chile Porter: (Not pictured) You will see Eddyline in a couple of spots this year. That's because it was the "discovery" brewery of 2013 for me. While all of their beers are very well done, the Chile Porter stands out because unlike most chili beers, it's based on a porter. What's more, the chili is based off of a New Mexico style "red chile" which makes it really unique in the chili beer niche, where most chile beers tend to be based on an ale and a green chile. Inner Glow is an apt name for the taste of this beer as well. The mouth feel of the beer is medium-bodied and the taste of the chile is a longer, slower, milder burn. You get a nice, smoky flavor that is well complemented by the chile flavor. Alas, this isn't a permanent offering at Eddyline so until/if it comes back again, you'll just have to trust me.
#6: Dogfish Head- 120 Minute IPA: Back in February we found ourselves enjoying a weekend in Denver and dining at the Yard House. One of their specials that night was Dogfish Head's 120 minute IPA. The name comes from the fact that they do a continuous hop boil for 120 minutes. A glass cost me about $10.00 and at 15-20% abv, it was definitely strong beer to be sipped and savored slowly. Its boozy taste was unique yet pleasant and made for one of the more memorable beers in 2013. I recently purchased a 4-pack of the 90 minute IPA, and at a slightly lower abv of 9%, it's a good alternative if you can't find the 120 minute.
#5: Harpoon-Rich and Dan's Rye IPA: (Not pictured) I got to sample this one while out in Boston this summer and the Rye IPA was something unique. It's hard to describe the flavor that Rye imparts to an IPA and even the guys at CBR, who may sample more beer than anyone in the world, have a hard time figuring out how to describe Rye beer. For me it just seems to complement the IPA style without getting in the way a lot. Being a bit of a hop head, IPA's tend to be one of my favorite beers to drink, and I prefer a Rye IPA much more than some of the Belgian Style IPA's (sometimes referred to as White IPA's) that seem a little to busy for my taste.
#4: New Belgium Brewing- Frambozen: I'm not really a "fruity" beer person, but I'd purchased a six pack of this last week and I've really been enjoying it. The raspberry flavor in this beer is more tart than sweet and it delivers a kick to the smooth, malty flavor of most brown ales. It's also a great "holiday" beer if you want something to go with the Christmas Season. This is a seasonal offering from New Belgian and it's been around for a while, but it's nice surprise to "discover" it again this year.
#3: Shamrock Brewing-Pueblo American Pale Ale (a.k.a.- P.A.P.A): This beer has apparently replaced the Arch City Pale Ale as the standard pale ale beer for Shamrock. Arch City wasn't bad at all, but P.A.PA. is better. It's just a bit bolder and has more flavor. It's nice to see that they are going to keep it around (Not pictured) some more.
#2: Stone Brewing Company- Levitation Ale: Okay, so I'm a little late to the party on this one. Stone Brewery in San Diego (or at least very near San Diego) is a fantastic beer. This jumped way up on the list because of how well balanced it is. It's a beer that just plain tastes good and I see Levitation becoming one of those "go to" beers that you can pick up any time of year.
#1: Eddyline Brewery- RiverRunners Pale Ale: Okay, so here was my favorite in 2013, and guess what, it also took gold at the GABF in 2012. Just a really well balanced, quality pale ale that I will associate with the "good times" I had in Buena Vista this year. On our last trip, I sat out on the back patio at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs staring out at the Chalk Cliffs and enjoying one of these after a long bike ride from Pueblo to Cotopaxi (about 75 miles).
|Looking towards the Collegiate Peaks and the Chalk Cliffs in B.V., Colorado|
I've talked about the Eddyline Brewery and Restaurant in previous posts, and I can't praise it enough. Anytime you get great pizza and beer together, you can't go wrong. I'm looking forward to a trip up to Buena Vista in the not too distant future, and a visit to Eddyline will certainly be part of the experience.
2013 was a great year for beer and I'm looking forward to everything I'll get to try in 2014. Who knows? Maybe there's a GABF to attend this year? Certain to have some good beer there!