As I was looking back on my beer reviews/best beer articles in 2018 I noticed that they were dominated by hoppy beers, 8 of the 10 new additions to the My Favorite Beers list were IPAs or DIPAs. I went into the new year determined to find more balance, I wanted to identify more great beers from other styles. So far, so good. This was an easier task in the winter, when I tend to gravitate towards big and malty beers, so I reviewed lots of stouts. This winter I reviewed 6 new beers that were worthy of addition to my pantheon, and only one was an IPA. Here are the six best beers I reviewed this winter, if there is anything you feel I need to review always feel free to let me know!
Hill Farmstead Legitimacy: The one IPA on this list, and it is one of the best Hill Farmstead IPAs I’ve had. Huge hop flavor, smooth and easy drinking, not a light beer but not overly boozy either.
Hill Farmstead Gin Barrel Aged Brother Soigne: A saison brewed with blood orange and lime and then aged in gin barrels. The base version of Brother Soigne is delicious, but the barrel aging adds another level of complexity that really elevates the beer into something special.
Wormtown Norm: A smooth and rich oatmeal stout brewed with coconut. It was a perfect time to review this beer considering the retirement of Norm’s beer column. Hopefully Wormtown keeps making the beer, it is delicious and it was great to see some make it out to distribution this year.
Barreled Souls Hillrock Bourbon Barrel Aged Deep Space: Everything about this beer is bold and intense, tons of malt flavor, big and boozy, plenty of bourbon. Even with all of that intensity the beer is smooth and goes down pretty easy.
Night Shift Dynasty: A rich and smooth imperial stout that doesn’t need any pastry or adjunct addition to deliver big notes of chocolate and toffee. Incredibly easy drinking for a beer with double digit ABV.
Idle Hands Check Raise: An extremely flavorful American stout, tons of roasted malt goodness along with a solid dose of American hops. It is no surprise that this took top honors at a blind tasting of local stouts featuring some of the sharpest palettes in the local beer scene!
That is it for the winter, lots of quality beers reviewed. I hope to add more to the list this spring, especially some Belgian styles and lagers! Feel free to pass along any that you’d recommend.