Thursday, 21 March 2013

Chris & Emma's Champion Beers of the US Beerodyssey 2012

Given that we covered a lot of ground and beer on our 2012 US trip, we decided to list our champion beers of the Beerodyssey.

Well first things first, how do I go about this? There was soooo much good stuff, I considered just listing the top 10 or 20 but then that wouldn't be fair on some ranking them above others. I'm more a fan of those robust IPAs than Emma is, whereas she likes the bold flavours of some of the Belgian style beers. So I've gone for a 'by-style' approach. I'll admit to still being a beer novice so if I put something that's a different style into a category that it technically doesn't belong to then feel free to correct me.

So first off, the IPAs.
So the two for me that stood out where the Deschutes Inversion IPA (OR) and the Firestone Walker Double Jack (CA). The Bear Republic Racer (CA) and the Greenflash Imperial IPA (CA) were close behind. Damn those West Coasters can brew some good IPAs. Emma is less of a fan of those big, bitter IPAs but she really liked the Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA (OR).

Next up, the Pale Ales.
For both of us, the
Deschutes Mirror Pond (OR) was one of our stand-out Pale Ales of the trip. Reminded us of the Dark Star APA that we had at the GBBF in August that took silver in the Champion beers. Some worthy runners up were the Firestone Walker Pale Ale (CA) and the Magic Hat #9 Not Quite Pale (VT), which Emma quite liked.

Now for the amber ales.

Oakshire Amber (OR) and Bridgeport Kingpin (OR) were two of the standout amber ales for the two of us but going through the list, I'm not sure that they had that much competition. The Oakshire Amber was probably one of the best beers of the trip for me.

Dark Ales
Not sure if it counts as a dark ale or not but I had to put this one somewhere and I couldn't figure quite where it should go. One of my favourite beers of the trip was the Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale (CA). Definitely a treat for a thirsty Irishman! However, worthy of a Mention in Dispatches is the Rogue 15K Belgian Dark Ale (OR) which was a worthy second place.


Deschutes Black Butte XXIV (OR) was the champion porter for me. In saying that, we were slightly spoiled by our friend Doug, who highlighted this one as a special beer but it didn't disappoint. If I see it on sale in the UK, then I'm buying it whatever the price (within reason of course). But it wouldn't be fair on a couple of worthy runners up - the Ninkasi Oatis (OR) and the Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Bier (MI) which were both excellent contenders. Just a really hard one to beat.

Oakshire Espresso Stout (OR), Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal (Nitro) Stout (OR) and the Brooklyn Black Ops (NY) were my three favourites. Difficult one to call this one. If we hadn't been drinking all day in NYC, I suspect I'd have a much better memory of exactly what the Black Ops was like, I remember it being really good but my judgement may have been clouded by too much beer and good company. I'll have to call it a draw between the Black Ops and Rogue's Oatmeal Stout with the Oakshire Espresso running very close behind.

Wheat Beers
Emma's favouritea were the
Slumbrew Happy Sol (MA) and the Heartland NYS Wildflower Wheat (NY). My choice is the
Dogfish Head Raisin D'Etre (DE) of which I bought a few bottles of when we were in Bar Harbour.

Belgian Style Beers
Allagash Curieux, Confluence and Fluxus (ME), Great Divide Belgian Yeti (CO) and Unibrew Ephemere (Quebec) [does this count as a Belgian style beer?]. Some really awesome beers in this category and its difficult to pick a champion. However, we each can choose our own champion, so Emma's is the Ephemere and mine is the Curieux. Though if we could get any of the above in the UK, we would drink them readily.

Seasonal Ales
Rising Tide Entrepôt (ME), Heartland Smiling Pumpkin Ale and Oak Aged Imperial Pumpkin (NY) were the three for us but not in that order. Emma really liked the Smiling Pumpkin Ale and I preferred the Imperial Pumpkin but to be honest, we both liked them a lot. The Entrepôt was just edged out by the fact that we both really quite like the taste of pumpkin in our beers.

Honourable mentions
Unibrew La Fin de Monde (Quebec) just didn't make the Belgian Style category but it deserves a mention along with the Maine Beer Peeper Ale (ME), Bridgeport Witch-hunt (OR) and the Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA (ME).

I think that's it. Hopefully I've not left anything out that deserves to be mentioned. Hopefully I've not offended any beer afficiandos in terms of how I've categorised (don't beat me, its just beer!).

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