The Hot 25 of 2013 PART 1!

25Deviating a bit from my last posts as the best “new” beers of the year, I’m going back to a topic that usually gets a lot of great beer talk going throughout the Eastern Iowa beer lovers: The Best Beers of 2013!

Now, all of these beers have to have been available for purchase at any Eastern Iowa beers stores, brewpubs, or breweries. There are a few that stayed on from last year and some brand new ones this year. Overall, it was a really great year for beer in Eastern Iowa and the future continues to look promising. These are all beers I’ve TRIED this year, I have some that are still in the cellar that haven’t been cracked, so I might have left some off. Feel free to email me your list of the best in Eastern Iowa or your state this year! I’ll do this in 5 installments, so without further ado…….

big grove**Big Grove Brewery Good Day to DIPA**
My favorite release so far from the folks in Solon, IA. A wonderfully balanced double IPA that gives you the citrus, reisonous pine, and the balance of the malts that we seek in our double IPAs. If you haven’t visited this place, the beer is excellent and food is just as good. A must visit location if you are in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area. A dynamite combo is this double IPA with their Korean Chicken wings. My mouth is watering!

RATEBEER: N/A
BEERADVOCATE: N/A

mornin' delight**Toppling Goliath Mornin’ Delight**
I’m not sure if I’ve wrote about a beer as much as I have about Mornin’ Delight. The original release garnered a bit of publicity, but it has blown up into much more since that wonderful Saturday morning in Decorah. This and the Kentucky Brunch release might highlight my favorite beer moments of 2013! The trade demand out there is incredibly high for this brew so if you still have a bottle of the greatness, count yourself lucky!

From the brewery:

Brewer’s Choice, debuted at Great Taste of the Midwest 2011. A Russian Imperial Stout. Breakfast of champions, just add pancakes. Made with real maple syrup and a super secret brewers’ ingredient.

RATEBEER: 100/100
BEERADVOCATE: 100/100

backwoods**Founders Backwoods Bastard**
When I think of the fall/winter season this is the first beer that pops into my head. One of the first real “big beers” to hit the chilly months and it is the perfect accompaniment to a chilly autumn or brutally cold winter day. Didn’t finish your case of this? No worries, it ages pretty damn nice as well. From the brewery:

Big and delicious for your ’perty mouth. Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts. A bit of earthy spice and a scintilla of dark cherries. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate.
RATEBEER: 100/100
BEERADVOCATE: 96/100

Goose Island**Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout**
As much as I try not to support Anheiuser Busch, I just can’t ignore this brew. It really is that damn good and the variants I’ve had are also excellent. I was fortunate enough to be in East Dubuque, IL area during the release and walked right in to get my allotment. If you haven’t visited Family Beer and Liquor the management there are some of the nicest, most helpful people around. Black Friday will never be the same! From the brewery:

“I really wanted to do something special for our 1000th batch at the original brewpub. Goose Island could have thrown a party. But we did something better. We brewed a beer. A really big batch of stout-so big the malt was coming out of the top of the mash tun. After fermentation we brought in some bourbon barrels to age the stout. One hundred and fifty days later, Bourbon County Stout was born-A liquid as dark and dense as a black hole with a thick foam the color of bourbon barrels. The nose is a mix of charred oak, vanilla,carmel and smoke. One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer. It overpowers anything in the room. People have even said that it’s a great cigar beer, but I haven’t yet tried a cigar that would stand up to it.” Brewmaster Greg Hall; 
RATEBEER: 100/100
BEERADVOCATE: 100/100

enjoy by**Stone Enjoy By….**
For my last beer on this installment I go with one of my all-time favorites. Say what you will about Stone, they turn out some fantastic beers and this one is my favorite. A brewery that isn’t scared to push the envelope and give us beer drinkers a unique experience which we enjoy 9/10, hits a major home run every time with this brew! And the good news? We should be seeing more of this on our shelves next week! From the brewery:

You have in your hands a devastatingly fresh double IPA. While freshness is a key component of many beers- especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs- we’ve taken it further, a lot further, in this IPA. You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We’ve not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you’re getting this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn’t randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the bottle, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and beer fans. Instead, we’ve sent a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA.

RATEBEER: 100/100
BEERADVOCATE: 96/100

There’s part 1 of “THE LIST”, stay tuned to more in the next few weeks! Don’t agree or do agree? I would love to hear your thoughts, unless you’re an uppity prick, then nevermind!

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6 thoughts on “The Hot 25 of 2013 PART 1!

  1. beer_broad says:

    I feel a few of those beers don’t really deserve the Beer Advocate and RateBeer scores they received. BCS is close after some aging. I find fresh BCS to be more bourbon in the nose and on the palate than I feel a beer should have, a bit of aging helps to balance the flavors. Personally I was underwhelmed by EnjoyBy. A lot of hype and the flavor profile was pretty much in keeping with most IPAs Stone has put out.

  2. joe says:

    My favorites this year (there have been many) would be some of the following:
    1. Zombie Dust
    2. Saison-Brett 2013
    3. Founders Imperial Stout
    4. Ten Fidy – like a fudge-cicle in a can
    5. Stone Espresso IRS
    6. SOSUS – just incredible
    Would love nothing more than to make it to Toppling Goliath for some Mornin’ Delight and/or KBBS this year. Even thinking about they way those beers are talked about and traded for, I feel even if I made it to Decorah I would be 1 of 1,000 people trying to get 1 bottle.

  3. poge05 says:

    I’ve had the bourbon county and the enjoy by….enjoyed both of them greatly. I’ll have to get my hands on some of that founders as they’re quickly becoming one of my favorite brewers.

    • beer counselor says:

      To be honest I rarely use RB or BA ratings unless I am out of town and am trying to choose between unknowns. I don’t like to look at those until I have made my own decision. Flavor is subjective.

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