Twenty Best Beers

I want to report out on the 2020 best beers according to Zymurgy magazine. Not familiar with Zymurgy? Zymurgy is the publication of the American Homebrewers Association. The 20 best beers are the opinions of American Hombrewers Association, AHA, members and may not reflect the opinions of drinkers of swill. Swill may be a harsh term but there really is a flavor, aroma, mouthfeel and quality difference for the beers in this list.

I am pleased to report that a handful of my go to beers, including 3 at the top of my list are in the top twenty.

Number 1…. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, from Bell’s Brewery in Comstock, MI. I was introduced to this beer on one of my many work trips to North Dakota and it is now being distributed in Texas…..yes, it is in my fridge. Two Hearted is brewed year round.

Number 2….. Pliny the Elder, from Russian River Brewing Co. It is a double IPA coming in at 8% but….. drinks very smooth with an incredible mix of aromas and broad but smooth bitterness. I have only been able to have this beer on three occasions and can probably give you date, time and location when I was able to enjoy this beer! It really is that good. Drawback, very hard to find……gotta know somebody! Available year round but…..only in limited quantities.

Number 3…… Pale Ale by Sierra Nevada. This was probably my first exposure to real beer nudging me away from my usual swill….the beer came out in 1980, it probably was late 1980’s before I was treated to the wonderful, bottle conditioned ale featuring, new at the time, Cascade hops. Confession, I did experiment with non swill in the late 70’s, Anchor Steam beer after it was reintroduced in 1971.

Number 4……..Heady Topper by the Alchemist in Stowe, VT. This beer has not blessed my lips, but…….I am on the hunt now. This is a double IPA and according to the recommendation printed on the can…..it is best consumed from the can. According to the review in Zymurgy that is to “allow your senses to enjoy the maximum hop experience.”

Number 5……. Hopslam Ale from Bell’s Brewery….. my go to Double IPA. It is best consumed fresh……..but I have hoarded it far into the year, hidden away from the local beer gnomes that raid my stash. Very high on my list. Mark your calendar, this beer is distributed in January and February……then the dearth sets in. Dearth, a beekeepers term when nectar is not available for the bees and also appropriate for this nectar of the gods hoppy beer. At 8% it will help make you toasty….nice!

Number 6 …….. Zombie Dust by Three Floyd’s Brewing Company, Munster, IN. Three Floyd’s describes it as “intensely hopped”. That description places it on my list of beers to hunt down. The Zymurgy review calls it “Insanely drinkable”….. sounds like a gotta have beer. Only 6.2%…..yum.

Number T 7……. Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, by Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City, MO. Very nice beer coming in at 8% …..very good hoppy aroma and and hop flavors. I have been able to track this one down, although not in my top list I would never turn it down.

Number 7 T……. Kentucky Breakfast Stout, barrel aged, by Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, MI. It is a strong Imperial Stout that I find Rivals my favorite Imperial Stout, the barrel aged Parabola from Firestone Walker. It is 12.3 % and best shared in 4-5 ounce glasses with good friends. Complex flavors and aromas and really warms going down. Patting myself on the back, my home brewed Imperial Stout, also aged on toasted and bourbon soaked oak, is on par with this beer.

Number 9………Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA, Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR. This is a beer that almost always graces my fridge. Two of favorite hops are used for this beer, Citra and Mosaic, both during the boil and during fermentation. It is a very fresh and clean drinking beer.

Number 10…….Old Rasputin, North Coast Brewing Company, Fort Bragg, CA. I have had an opportunity to sample this beer and it is treat for the palate with wide variety of flavors and complex set of pleasant aromas. At 9% ABV it will warm you up nicely.

The remainder of the top twenty; Treehouse Julius, sounds delicious, Founders All Day IPA …..a go to session ale loved by me and my beer drinking partner, Focal Banger by Alchemist….I know nothing of this beer but need to hunt it down, Jai Lai by Cigar City….I have had it a couple of times and it is a very pleasant beer, Celebration Ale by Sierra Nevada…..damn good beer, I really like it! Pseudo Sue by Toppling Goliath, the reviewers were very complimentary of this beer – yep another one to chase down, White by Allagash Brewing, apparently a real nice example of the classic Wit Bier style, Sip of Sunshine by Lawson’s Finest Liquids, this is a NEIPA this is an 8% beer, Odell IPA, , been there, done that beer many times and bought the shirt, the Odell IPA knocked my socks off the first time I tried it! Very yummy! Hazy Little Thing by Sierra Nevada Brewing……I love this beer, great aromas and flavors…yum

On hand as of yesterday. My beer order was off a little as I was not specific enough. I am still on my walker due to hip replacement. The Double Bell’s Two Hearted is a nice sub as is the Odell Mountain Standard IPA!
A look into my patio beer fridge. Home brews in bottle include Mosaic SMaSH IPA, Honey Blonde with my Honey and a real nice Wit Bier for my wife.
Don’t believe the tap handles….. I have my Juicy/Hazy IPA on one, my West Coast IPA on another and Scrimshaw Pils on another. Waiting to brew again for the number 4 tap.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Boulevard Amber Ale in Osage Beach MO

Ok, what a day! Should have been just a couple of hour drive from Branson MO to Lake of the Ozarks –

Eight hours later, several U-turns on Highway 54, a dead battery, a people watching event at Walmart waiting on the battery and so freaking hot – we are drinking cold beer and considering a Mac & Cheese gourmet meal.

Walmart gets high marks here in in Osage Beach for their beer but mediocre marks in the auto service dept. they stock a full suite of Boulevard Brewing Co. beers! I bought a sizer of the Amber Wheat Ale- bottle conditioned – just like my home brewskis. There is that home brew feel, in a good way, for bottle conditioned beer – a little yeast is added as they bottle the beer. Adds a nice complex flavor – that is what it says on the label and I do AGREE!

Kathy is drinking Corona Light, I forgive her! She was in need of more beer than I wanted to drink!

A few beers, Mac & Cheese, a few rounds of dominoes and a road trip with my wife – doesn’t get much better than that.

TTFN
Bishop

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Branson Missouri – Dueling Pianos

Looking for local beers while enjoying the fun at the Dueling Piano Bar in Branson Missouri. My wife decided to try the Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Ale and decided that it wasn’t too bad. My first beer, yes I had more than one…is that a surprise. I am on a mission to sensibly sample every craft beer brewed in the local area! I had the Boulevard Pale Ale as the opener. It was pleasant – not a lot of aroma but the hopping was nicely done. It is brewed in what they call the International style…not wildly hopped like some of the American IP’s.

Next  I tried ……….. well it was a darker brown than a Newcastle but with a little more body…..Oh well it was very tasty but as always I want to sample the local stuff – as I was typing the memory came back! It was Three Blind Mice – A brown beer by Mother’s Brewing Company in Kansas City Missouri. Well worth the effort.

The bar keep lead me along and asked me to try another creation by Mother’s…… Anything for Mother’s, eh? He and I chatted a bit about me being a home brewer and he brought me a beer called Sandy – a hopped up wheat ale. He had it in bottles and it was the best of the evening. I like their website…..enough notes included to get me experimenting for the fall brewing season.

The bar – Dueling Pianos in Branson Missouri was a hoot….summer time on a Wednesday evening and it was almost too much fun….it wasn’t the beer, I promise but I sang almost every song they played….

If you look closely in the mirror you can see my wife, son, his girlfriend and me taking the picture!

TTFN

Bishop