DRAFT Magazine has released their annual Top 25 beers of the year list, and it includes three beers from northwest breweries. The list is not just for new beers. These beers can be new, long-time favorites, perfect examples of a style, or crazy experimentations. Essentially, it is a list of personal favorite beers from 2010 for the guys that run DRAFT Magazine. If you don’t like their list, then get your own magazine…
From Washington, Elysian’s Avatar Jasmine IPA makes the list. This beer is well-known to local beer drinkers, and it is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it addition to the list. The first inclusion from Oregon is Deschutes Brewery’s Hop in the Dark. This Black IPA (CDA, if you’d prefer) really was one of the best examples of the style I have ever tasted; perfect balance of hops and roast. The second inclusion from Oregon is the Kiwanda Cream Ale from Pelican Pub & Brewery, which is on the list for the third year in a row. The full comments from the magazine on the three northwest beers follow below. Other notable beers on the list that local drinkers may recognize include Lost Abbey Angel’s Share, New Belgium Ranger IPA, Duvel, Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo, 21st Amendment Monk’s Blood, Westmalle Tripel, Stone Emperial IPA, Dogfish Head Bitches Brew, Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Jack & Ken’s Ale, and Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin (Ok, Merlin). Make sure to check out the entire list.
Avatar Jasmine IPA
Elysian Brewing Co.
Elysian’s specialty IPA accentuates its floral hop bouquet with a wealth of jasmine, creating an aroma that’s paradise in a glass. The beer’s base IPA recipe is already top-notch, but the addition of floral, peppery jasmine is what floored us. Easily the most elegant example of an herbed IPA, this beer remains one of the industry’s best examples of how to tweak a standard style with an unusual ingredient.
Hop in the Dark
This year saw a tidal wave of bottled black IPAs, but none caught our attention like Hop in the Dark, a Cascadian dark ale. It may not be credited as the first of its kind, but after 22 attempts to perfect the recipe, it tops the list. Cascade, Citra and Centennial hops offer citrusy, piney hop flavors over a bed of lightly roasted, coffee-infused malts. It’s a blend of two worlds and a standard for those exploring this new style.
Kiwanda Cream Ale
Pelican Pub & Brewery
This brew is an exemplar of its style, a refreshing everyday beer and one we can’t keep stocked in our beer fridge. Kiwanda Cream Ale wins our hearts—and this year’s gold medal for golden/blonde ales at the GABF—by proving subtlety is just as inspiring as shock and awe. Lightly toasted grains segue into balanced bitterness, and its bright citrusy finish never disappoints. Representing a classic, American-designed style, this cream ale keeps our country’s brewing history alive one sip at a time.