Founders Brewing Co. – Doom

There is a big difference between a pain to get in your area and impossible to get in your area.  Living on the east coast you know it is doomgoing to be nearly impossible to find certain things.  I can’t find Deschutes, 3 Floyds, or Russian River.  Of course there are countless other items that are hard to find in this area, but those are a few of the big ones for sure.  Hard to find in this area is a much different challenge for sure.  I can’t even list the amount of times I’ve had to hear a beer store tell me they only got one case of something in.  I’d almost rather hear that something didn’t come into the area, than the fact that they got one box in but I just missed out one it.  It’s even more painful to know it was in the area but you couldn’t get it.  It seems like a lot of the bigger beers that come out of Founders tend to be of the hard to get variety.

All of the beers that come out of Founders are able to be found around here, but they are not alway easy to come by. Lately Founders has been coming out with some great brews in their Backstage Series, which makes me glad I live in an area that gets their brews, but I can’t stand how hard it is to get their stuff.  The first big brew I managed to get from them was their Canadian Breakfast Stout.  From there I managed to miss Better Half, get Frangelic Mountain, get Boltcutter, and grab one bottle of Doom.  I tried desperately to find another bottle of Doom so I could age my first bottle, but I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere.  Sometimes it’s just hit or miss on finding some of these rare offerings.  The Kentucky Breakfast stout was a pretty hard one to find, but you can find the regular breakfast stout anywhere.  So it ultimately seems to be about who you know in terms of the local beer stores.

Barrel aging beers isn’t anything really all that new to the craft beer industry.  People like to age lots of different brews in different types of barrels. I’ve enjoyed brews in all different types of barrels.  I’ve had beers in oak barrels, steel barrels, wine barrels, brandy barrels, bourbon barrels, whiskey barrels, and tequila barrels.  Ultimately each one has added some different aspect to the beer flavor.  I had a tripel in pinot gris barrels that was amazing and more than enough stouts in bourbon barrels that are all great.  This, however, is the first time I’ve had an IPA aged in bourbon barrels.  I’m not certain Founders is the first one to try this, since I have a few others in my collection right now, but I was very interested to see how it worked out.  Founders creates some really great beers, so I was hopeful they would set the precedent for the rest of the breweries out there.

As I’m sure you can see from the picture, this beer pours a rather bright orange color.  I wouldn’t call it a neon orange because it does have somewhat darker tones to it.  It’s almost visibly tangy.  There is some very light white head that develops.  This was equally surprising to the brighter color.  I figured time aging in the bourbon barrels would mean both darker beer and darker head.  doom glassThe beer has some pretty good clarity, which means you can see some very small floaters and the occasional evidence of visible carbonation as well.  Overall the beer has some pretty good lacing and quite a bit of sticky lacing.

Picking up a bourbon barrel aged double IPA, you have to figure the aroma will be dominated by one of two things: hops or barrel.  I can safely say that the bourbon barrel wins.  I’m not sure of the entire process on this bottle.  Someone said that they make the beer, age it, and then dry hop it after that.  Maybe that is true; I just don’t know.  Anyway, you get a very distinct oaky woodiness on the nose from the barrels.  The hops seem quite muted on the nose.  I would have to assume this is all due to the aging process.  There is definitely some vanilla in there somewhere as well.  The maltiness seems to win in the end, while the hops hide.  There is only a very slight lingering pine scent.

The flavors start with a mostly malt intro.  The malts have a very distinct tangy citrus quality to them.  The pine is very slightly there in the middle, but it really doesn’t take center stage.  The one distinct quality that traverses start to finish of the flavor profile is the booziness and oak qualities; however, both of these flavors really kick it up in the second half of the brew.  Interestingly the booziness takes a somewhat tangy turn near the end, which I would blame on the eventual influence of the hops in the brew.  The beer finishes with some slight pleasant vanilla notes.

Overall I would say the mouth of this beer is rather thick and slightly syrupy.  There is enough carbonation there to do some balancing, but it has a quite heavy body overall.  Between the overall thickness, big booze, and slight alcohol burn, this beer doesn’t let you forget you’ve got a big beer in your hand.

I am a huge IPA fan, and I’m also a pretty big barrel aged fan as well.  Therefore, I was quite interested to see what happened when those two worlds collided.  I wouldn’t say it’s something everybody should start doing, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.  Founder’s let me down a little bit with Frangelic Mountain and Boltcutter.  Frangelic tasted rather artificial and Boltcutter was way too sweet.  This one is definitely back on the right track.  Unfortunately for most of you, you’ll probably have a tough time picking it up.  I’d be surprised to find a single bottle hanging around a store’s shelf somewhere.

Teacher Grade: B+

UFC and Beer

As I said in my post yesterday, one of the best things about acquiring rare or hard to find beer is actually turning around and sharing it with your friends.  I’ve certainly been placed in the situation where you’re a little disappointed that the people you’re sharing with don’t quite appreciate it as much as you do.  But, if you put the right people together in the same place, it can be a lot of fun.  Saturday night frequent beer reviewer guest John and I traveled over to our friend Gavin’s house for a night full of shared beer and watching two grown men try to punch each other in the face until one of them stops.  Okay, that makes it sound like I don’t really like watching the UFC.  I actually really enjoy watching the fights, so I knew it was going to be a good night.

We’ve gotten together to do this one time before.  The previous event didn’t get a post because it seemed to be a bunch of bottles that all ran into each other without really a goal or thought in mind.  We drank about everything we could that Gavin had from 3 Floyds, and we supplemented those with a few others like Heady Topper and Ghandi Bot.  This time we decided to try and outline a little more of what we would be drinking.  Much communication took place prior to the event to try and figure out what bottles would be prioritized for the night.  Many of them were selected because of our own personal tastes right now; however, a few were placed in there because of the very high alcohol content and the need to be split three ways and enjoyed by all.  Here was the end result of our planning and prepping, as well as, a few we decided to include last minute.  This is also the order they were consumed in.

1. Gingerbread Stout – Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

2. Wee Heavy – Iron Hill Brewery

3. Bolt Cutter – Founders Brewing Co

4. Pere Jacques – Goose Island Beer Co

5. Saint Botolph’s Town – Pretty Things Brewery

6. Bourbon County – Goose Island Beer Co

7. La Bk Stout – Birrifcio L’Olmaia

8. Big Hoppy Monster (oak aged) – Terrapin Beer Co

9. Robert the Bruce Scottish Ale – Three Floyds Brewing Co

10. 10 Commandments – The Lost Abbey

11. Racer X – Bear Republic Brewing co

12. White Hatter – New Holland Brewing Co

As I’m sure you can see from the list, this was no small undertaking.  These are some big beers and many of them were a first a try for us.  The night was full of discussion on both the ups and downs of each bottle.  In the end we really geeked out by trying to arrange the bottles from best to worst.  Ultimately we all had different opinions on the ordering of the bottles; however, there were certainly a few that were the best and the worst.

The Best – Ultimately Bourbon County won the evening on everyone’s arrangement.  Really the top beers were fairly similar for all of us.  It was hard to put anything up over the bold booze and complex flavors packed into the little 12 oz bottle.  I’m excited I have a four pack to age for a few years.  Hardywood’s Gingerbread Stout was second on everyone’s list as well.  Having just consumed Sam Adam’s version the day before, I was most excited for this beer.  It was an incredibly complex milk stout that really tasted like gingerbread.  My biggest problem with Sam Adams was that it lacked stout quality and instead tasted like a weak pumpkin beer.  This one was all stout and all gingerbread.  Allowing it to warm only increased its impressiveness.  The beer to round out the top three wasn’t all that surprising either.  Founders Brewing Co – Bolt Cutter rounded out the top three favorites on all lists.  At 15 % Abv, it figured to be a huge hit to the head barleywine.  Instead, it didn’t pack the punch we thought it would, and it had some nice hops to help keep the beer cleaner than expected.  There were some change-ups in the lists from here on out; however, most of the beers in the middle portion all stayed in the middle.  They simply moved up or down a place or two.

The Worst – Keep in mind this is a relative term.  These beers weren’t horrible at all, but they were the least favorite relative to the rest of the beers.  Looking back at the pictures, we all had some slight differences of opinion when it came to the least favorite ones.  These were my beers that had the low marks.  Third to last came Saint Botolph’s Town – Pretty Things Brewery.  This one was the worst for Gavin and didn’t make it into the bottom for John.  I personally did like it, but I just thought everything else above it was better.  I have a feeling it may have just come in a little too standard in comparison to the rest of the beers on the list.  The second least favorite for me was a little bit of a surprise: La Bk Stout – Birrifcio L’Olmaia.  This was a stout from Italy that had been aged in wine barrels.  We weren’t really sure what it would be like, but it was a really big surprise.  There was no stout flavor to it at all, and it ended up tasting like a big sour beer instead.  I’m not a big fan of sours, so I actually found this one a little tough to get through.  It made it into the bottom three for all of us. The big loser of the group for me was the Wee Heavy from Iron Hill Brewery.  I really like wee heavy beers, but this had some strange sweet fruit quality to it that I wasn’t feeling.  It was a strange addition to a style I really like, and I just couldn’t hang with it.  It was bottom two for John and I, but Gavin decided the Botolph was the worst beer of the night.  I disagree!

All in all it was a great night with some great beers.  So far we’ve done two of these events; hopefully it isn’t too long before we can get another one going.

ufc and beer

Aging Dilemma

I’ve found myself with a slight dilemma on my hands lately.  Winter is a great time for really big beers to come out.  You can get heavy imperial stouts, huge barleywines, or really good scotch and old ales.  These beers are delicious and all I want to do is get them home, chilled, and consumed.  There is a different way to think about this though.  Why not get them home, put them in a box, wait a year or two, and then get them out to drink.  I know, for those reading who aren’t beer enthusiasts, this sounds like a crazy idea.  You buy alcohol to go home and consume it.  Why would you ever buy a beer with the intention of letting it sit around for a year or two before you consume it?  For those of us who are slightly more well versed in the language of beer, some beers only get better with time and you want to allow it to reach its full potential before you open it.  My question is: how do you fight the urge for instant gratification?

The best way I’ve found around this is buying in bulk.  Bourbon County recently landed on the soil of Washington DC, and it has created quite the stir amongst the beer nerds.  I was presented with this dilemma at first when I was only able to find a single bottle of it at a local store.  Then, walking to my second job one day, I saw a full case sitting right in the window of the shop next door to the restaurant.  Problem solved!  Yes I had to pay a pretty penny for a full 4 pack, but I now have 5 bottles of it.  I can drink one or two and age the remaining for different increments of time.  It was a beer miracle!  This, however, isn’t the way things always work out.  When possible, I always try and buy more than a single bottle of a beer I am considering aging.  I can get that instant gratification, and I can age the crap of the other bottle.  What do I do though, when I can only find, or afford, a single bottle of a big beer that would benefit from a few years in the dark?

The beer that actually sparked the thought for this blog comes out of Founders Brewing Co.  Founders produces beers that are big, bold, and tasty.  So, I couldn’t help but search with all my might to find a bottle of Bolt Cutter.  Bolt Cutter is their 15 year anniversary barleywine release.  Doing some slight research, I found that Founders released a barleywine for their 10 year anniversary, but it doesn’t seem like they brew a celebratory beer every year like Stone Brewing Co.  Therefore, I really felt like I had to find it.  I managed to procure a bottle for $24, but I only found one bottle in my area.  Now the dilemma kicks in.  Do I wait a few months to drink it, do I wait a few years to drink it, or do I crack it open the next time I have a gathering at my house?  I did manage to solve a similar problem with my bottle of Lucky Bastard from Stone Brewing Co.  I found it on tap while home for Thanksgiving break. I really doubt that ends up happening with Bolt Cutter.  Maybe I manage to find another bottle, or maybe I manage to find another way to taste it, but if I don’t, I’m not sure what do with a singular bottle.  I would love to crack open this 15% Abv right now, but I want to drink it at its optimal time.

So beer geeks, what do you do when faced with this dilemma?  Do you give in to the desire for instant gratification, or do you suck it up and age the beer to its prime?  I’ve certainly gone both ways with beers in the past, but I find myself most confused with this bottle of Bolt Cutter.  Help me Obi Wan, you’re my only hope!

Elysian Brewing Co – Rapture Heather Ale

Living within 10 miles or so of three different states presents some interesting beer hunting for sure.  Most of my beer purchasing takes place in two of the states.  I live in DC; therefore, it makes total sense that I purchase some of my beer in my own city.  However, it may surprise some of you that most of what I actually purchase comes from Virginia.  This is mostly due to the way the system has started to work with a few stores.  I have a store out in Va that I call to try to reserve their special stuff.  Things have kind of changed since I started going there, so now it’s harder to get their rare stuff, but I get lucky every once in a while.

Last Tuesday I ran into a problem with their system. I had a friend give me a heads up they got in one case of Founder’s Franglic Mountain Brown.  He told me to call right away and reserve a bottle.  I called, but they said it wasn’t in the system, so I had to call back when they put it on Facebook.  As I’m sure you can see where this is going, I missed out on the bottle.  I was frustrated, so on my way home we stopped in Maryland to see if a bottle was at Corridor.  Maryland of course doesn’t get Founders.  So I was forced to get some other things.  That’s how I happened across this bottle.

I’ve seen some things from Elysian online, but I figured they weren’t available in my area.  I was looking around Corridor, built my own six pack and doubled back to find a big bottle or two.  This one stuck out to me cause I didn’t know Maryland got it.  Elysian is a brewery out of Seattle Washington, and they started this particular idea this year to coincide with the Mayan idea that the world would end this year.  So they are releasing a beer every single month that they think would be something someone would want to drink if it was their last beer ever.  According to their schedule, this is actually from February, but I’m glad I found it.

This beer is called a Heather ale which Beer Advocate says is another name for a Scottish Gruit or Ancient Herbed Ale.  According to the style analysis on beer advocate, “Gruit is mainly a concoction of : sweet gale (Myrica gale), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and wild rosemary (Ledum palustre). Other herbs, spices, and berries might be used to create interesting and pleasant aroma and flavor of green- and herbal-tea.”  I’m not sure if that is what Elysian did here.  But the bottle wasn’t too descriptive of what was on the inside and the website has no description either, so I’m going with that.  I was still excited to try it for the concept and a different style of beer.

The beer pours a orangey reddish hue.  There is certainly very little head that develops as well.  It’s a very light white head to it, but it does manage to garner pretty good lacing and sticky residue as well.  Interestingly, the beer was certainly cloudy, and I actually think I located a floater of something left over from the brewing.  It didn’t indicate it was bottle conditioned, so I’m guessing something just got through a filter.  You could see a little visual carbonation, but it really wasn’t too much.

The beer hard a lot of very light citrusy aroma to it.  It’s kind of hard to nail down some of the scents I get out of it.  I am kind of just comparing it to things I think of when I smell it.  I get some sweet apple cider aroma here.  There seems to be some berry sweetness to the aroma.  This is the kind of beer that helps me realize my sense of smell really sucks.  Anyway, I get a some herbs and floral notes going on as well.

The flavors of the beer were a little easier to nail down, but I think I’m just talking about what it tastes like and not what it actually is.  Anyway, it starts with your typical sweet malts; however, it get pretty herbal and floral after that.  The herbal quality is certainly more like the stuff you find in your spice cabinet.  I feel like I’m getting some rosemary and thyme type of flavoring.  From there you get some nice bitter hop quality.  The hops lead into some interesting tea quality tastes near the finish.  I almost get a little sweet honey quality on the finish as well.  Certainly one of the more interesting beers I’ve had in a while.

The mouthfeel has a bit of a syrupy quality to it, but it has some good carbonation especially in the middle portion of the beer.  This helps it certainly have a very crisp and clean feel to it .  The herbal and floral quality is really nice and easy, but I was surprised how much it came through.  Really I thought it was very interesting and pretty different.

I would really like to find the rest of this series, and I know where to get it, but I don’t want to spend a ton of money having to get it all.  It’s a really interesting series, and I’m surprised it took me this long to find it out about it.  Maybe some of you are more privy to it than I was, but I think it’s a great idea.  Now I’m wondering their regular beers are good too?

Teacher Grade: B

Buy Me a Beer Online

Recently a few different breweries have become available in this area that you couldn’t get here.  These distribution deals are killing me.  I dream of the day when I’ll go to the store and have Russian River, 3 Floyds, or various other breweries to peruse amongst the various other beers we currently receive in the area.  Don’t get me wrong, we have some pretty good breweries already available here. I appreciate that I can find various releases from Founders, Bells, Victory, and other really good breweries.  I guess I just can’t be content knowing there are great brews out there that I have to work extra hard to find.  I do enjoy the thrill of the hunt, but I also enjoy being really lazy.

A couple of weeks ago I did a review of Ninkasi’s Total Domination IPA.  I had to have my brother bring it with him when he visited from Oregon.  It was of course nice of him to do this, but I would appreciate not having to burden him with the job of bringing me beer when he comes.  Anyway, this post also resulted in another blogger making me aware of an online site where I could find some Ninkasi along with a few other brews I can’t get in this area.  Suddenly there seemed to be a new world available to me.

I in no way get any kickback from the site for reporting on this, but I wanted to share it incase anyone was interested in trying it out.  Anyway, letspour.com is a site that pretty consistently updates their site with different beers you can order.  I have tried ordering beer once before from a different website; however, the shipping seemed so insane it really didn’t seem cost efficient to continue to use it.  One nice feature I found from Let’s pour is that they offer free shipping when you purchase 6 bottles or more.  That still sounds like a lot of money; however, I also played spin the bottle on the site with them (gross I know) and managed to get an additional $10 off my order.  I ended up ordering their predetermined 6 bottle Imperial IPA set.  This was initially $49, but I got 10 off and I got free shipping.  So I got each 750 ml bottle for $6.50 a bottle.  Now I have gone back to try to spin the bottle a few more times; however, I have consistently lost ever since then.  Maybe they rig it so you get a deal the first time you try, but you won’t get it again for a while.  I’m actually almost certain this is possible.  Anyway, it was a good one time deal.

The other online store my friend John purchased from, which I also reaped the benefits from, was certainly more expensive; however it did have some pretty good selection.  It’s where we eventually enjoyed our bottle of Pliny the Elder from.  So, I’m wondering if there were any other good online beer stores to purchase from.  I really want to continue purchasing different beers that are hard to find around here; however, I want to find another one to start looking into.  Are there any good online stores I’m missing out on?

Founders Brewing Co – Old Curmudgeon Ale

Trying to figure out when to drink a beer can be really confusing.  I have somewhat bought into the notion that you drink certain beers in specific seasons.  I think it’s safe to say I didn’t have a single Hefe over the entire winter.  I had a ton of porters, stouts, and other dark beers during that time though.  I felt like you don’t drink light and refreshing beers.  I really turned into the bear who was going into hibernation for the winter.  Now that we are heading into summer I’ve kind of given up on the big rich dark beers.  It’s not that I don’t like them or anything, but I have felt a little like they wouldn’t feel as good drinking after a long hot day at school.  Therefore, I have kind of put off drinking this beer.  It isn’t a stout or anything so dark, but it is a pretty dark and boozie beer that I have kind of put in that winter category.

Old Curmudgeon is brewed in the style of an old ale.  Old ale is a style of beer I’m not really all that familiar with.  It’s one that I’ve had before, but it isn’t one that I set about to buy or drink very often.  Of course, when you hear Founders released something, you can’t help but jump at the opportunity to drink it.  Old ales, also known as stock ales, were transferred to vats back in the day for aging.  Hence the reason they were referred to as old ales.  They typically were quite old.  Founders states that their specific edition is brewed with molasses, a big malt profile, and aged in oak barrels.  As I said, it’s a beer that has some age behind it.

This one pours out a very orangey brown color with some slight hints of red in it.  There is some rather light head that develops on top of the beer; however, it dissipates rather quickly.  There is a lot of light lacing on the side of the glass; however, the sticky residue remnants are quite ample.  The beer is quite hazy; although you can definitely see through it some, and you can see some very light carbonation in the glass as well.

There are a few overwhelming aspects to the aroma of the beer.  I get a lot raisins, figs, and other rich dark fruit on the nose.  They have a sticky sweetness to them.  Another really apparent smell is the quite boozy scent that the beer gives off.  I can’t say I was entirely all that surprised by the very apparent aroma of alcohol.  One smell that I get, although I’m a little surprised by it, is a light aroma of cinnamon.  The finish is a very slight spicy aroma.

The most striking aspect of the taste is the very apparent boozy flavor.  It pretty much invades the entire palate.  The beer starts with some very sweet malts.  These malts have some really big fig and raisin flavors to them.  Surprisingly, the fig and raisin flavors really stick with the developments of the different tastes in the flavor profile.  I think this is also the nature of the molasses combined in there. The biggest hit of booze follows the fig; however, the booze is quickly met by some ample hops.  If you’re not looking for them, you may not notice the fact that there are so many hops here.  They blend quite well with the alcohol bite.  That light hit of cinnamon follows, which I’m still slightly confused by. I’m thinking it might be a little bit of that oaky flavor from the aging. I don’t know if I’m getting something that isn’t actually there.  The finish has a lot of the remaining raisin and booze with a lot of hops on the aftertaste.

There is some moderate carbonation at the start of the beer.  This is the met by some of the big booze.  The high amount of alcohol combines with a lot of the syrup on the ending to really give the beer a very rich and sweet quality.  I really like the fact that they didn’t back off on the hops on this one.  It really compliments the sweet and boozy nature of the way the beer starts off.  It is a quite nice blend of favor.

Founders makes a lot of great brews, but I’m not sure if this is my favorite brew of theirs; however, it is still a really good one.  I only bought a single of this, but I don’t think I would really want to have a bunch more of these.  I think it’s good, but it’s a style I would want to save for another time.  Of course, I would be interested to see what a little cellaring would do to this one.  I could put it right next to my Backwoods Bastard.

Teacher Grade: B

Top 5 Breweries

A little while ago I saw a few different beer bloggers talk about their go-to list of breweries.  These were breweries they were guaranteed to buy from or look at every time they went to the beer store.  I’m not sure why, but I never ended up doing my own list of go-to breweries at that time. So, since I don’t have a music review ready for today (which is what I typically try to get done for most Thursdays), I figured I’d give you a little info on the breweries I am guaranteed to look at when I head to the store on a weekly/bi-weekly basis.  As I’ve said before, I get weekly updates on all of the new things that are coming into the store.  Of course, I love to fill my basket, and yes I do at times walk around with a basket to fill, full of new and exciting beers.  However, I can’t help looking at what is available from my top five.  I don’t always pick up something from these breweries every week.  Sometimes I can go weeks without drinking anything from them, but I always seem to be most interested in them.

These breweries have done one thing to earn a special place in the brewery section of my heart: they are consistent.  I wouldn’t say I’ve never had a bad beer or beer I didn’t like from them, but I would say they get it right nine times out of ten.  For most of these breweries, I have tried just about everything in their regular line-up, and I have enjoy most if not all of the beers you can get standard from them.  They release interesting and enticing special brews that keep me consistently interested in what they are doing.  Plus, I know I can always turn to them on a slow release week.

Stone Brewing Company – I don’t think I’m putting these in any particular order, but I want to start with Stone because I seem to always have something from them in my fridge.  I love their regular line-up.  They have some great in your face IPAs, and they manage to head in the completely other direction with rich malts and coffee flavors as well.  My favorite beer from last year was their 15 year release.  I actually still have a bottle that I think I’ll be opening this weekend, and I have been thinking about it all week.  They are collaborating machines as well.  It’s quite impressive how they consistently collaborate with breweries from all over the country.  I think I check them out every week because I manage to forget how amazing some of their regular releases are.  I spend so much time picking up their collaborations that I forget their line-up is still awesome.  Plus I’m paying homage to them with my next release: Pretentious Hopster.

Founders Brewing Company – If you have read my blog before, you’ll know I end up reviewing a lot of different beers out of Founders.  I think they tend to be one of my favorite because they have some of the biggest and most flavorful beers that are out there.  There is one beer that put me over the top on them.  I of course enjoy their stouts.  Imperial, Breakfast, Canadian Breakfast, and Kentucky Breakfast are awesome beers; however, it was the Devil Dancer that really caught my eye.  While I love big coffee and roasted notes, I will always come back to big hops in the end.  Devil Dancer is a big triple IPA, and it will have you wondering how they managed to get the beer to smell and taste so herbal.  Unlike Stone, I don’t really remember consuming a lot of their standard line-up.  I think I instead manage to consume most of their specials most of the time.

Dogfish Head Brewing Company – I know people who have read my reviews will be confused here.  Doesn’t he talk smack about Dogfish all the time?  It is always done out of love!  I want to love everything I get from them.  Before succumbing to my inner beer geek, Dogfish was my bread and butter.  Then, after fully investing myself in analyzing and brewing beer, I have found myself frustrated by them so many times.  They push boundaries!  No one is going to deny that; however, I can’t give them props for a lot of what they do.  They use ingredients I don’t care about, and they focus on things that just don’t matter to me.  Read beer gimmicks from earlier this week.  In the end, I love a lot of the standard brews they do, and they do produce some good specialty brews once in a while too.  I mean, if I appreciate Stone for producing so many new and specialty brews, then I definitely need to give a big thumbs up to Dogfish for their ability to always try new things too.

Mikkeller Brewing Company – Mikkeller is a newer addition to this list, but they are quickly becoming one of biggest favorites.  They are sure to surpass one of these breweries above them if I keep trying different amazing beers from them.  There is more of a combination reason why I love this brewery.  They produce amazing beer, and they have a great way of producing it.  I’ve talked about it before.  They are the gypsies of the beer industry.  They travel all around both Europe and America using other breweries equipment to produce crazy incredible beer.  I can’t say I love their specialty beers or their traditional line-up because it seems like they are always producing something new, and I can only find a handful of their stuff here and there.  But, they got me to enjoy a pilsner, and I always look for their stuff at the store, so they get a place in the line-up.

DC Brau – I have to give the hometown heroes a place on this list.  I know most people on this list won’t have had anything from
this brewery, but I promise you they are a good brewery that I hope you get a chance to try in the future.  They have only been around for a year, and they have managed to produce their three brews in their main line-up and quite a few different collaborations and special releases.  Where I love the other breweries for particular aspects of their brewery or brews, I love just about everything from this brewery.  I love the heart, the passion, the beer, and the drive.  Thankfully they aren’t just a brewery coming out of DC, but they are a great brewery coming out of DC.  They produce great beer, and I can’t wait to see what they have on tap next.

So there you have it!  Some of these breweries are available near you, and I’m sure a few of them are much harder to find.  What are some of your favorite breweries?  I would love to find out about one or two I haven’t even tried yet!