Over the next couple of weeks, your favorite college basketball squad will be launching their 2010-2011 Midnight Madness season kickoff with hopes that they will be cutting the nets down in Houston Texas. During this time, your favorite beer will be hoping that they will also make the cut and qualify for our 64 beer March Madness tournament of champions. We will be cutting the competition from a field of 600 down to 64.
As the season goes on, bottle openers start to get dull, livers get saturated, So we must persevere and widdle down to find the greatest beer ever!
Whiskey Goldmine’s group of beer experts, sommelier’s, stewards, flunkies, college and high school buddies, wives and girlfriends alike will be working tirelessly to taste and judge the champion of a 64 beer blind taste test tournament to bring home the proverbial bacon come March. So when you get ready to watch the Final Four from Houston Texas come late in March, you can also root for and drink your favorite beer as well. (We need something to ease the pain of having to listen to Billy Packer for a month)
We have narrowed down the art of beer into regions and categories and the best ones from each will have a chance to compete come March. The top 2 beers in each category that we have selected will get an automatic bid and the rest will be chosen “at large” by our esteemed committee of beer experts.
So far here are the beers that have qualified thus far:
Mexican Beer Category
Begian White Ales/Whitbier
Blanche de Bruxelles
Beers in a Can
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout
Phoenix Pale Ale
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
Founders Breakfast Stout
La Fin Du Monde
Chimay Blue Grand Reserve
Alesmith Anvill ESB
So harvest your hops and man up because champions rise to the occasion!
Port/Lost Abbey brewing is hands down one of the best breweries in the world. Their wide array of beers and styles continue to prove themselves year after year and award after award. From their year round beers like the Wipe Out IPA, to the seasonal beers such as Satna’s Little Helper, Witches Wit and High Tide IPA. So we decided to review every Port/Lost Abbey beer we could get our hands on.
Shark Attack Double Red Ale, 9.0% ABV, Port Brewing Company.
The Shark Attack Double Red Ale has strong hoppy and malty characters with peppery spice notes and a smooth finish. Great American Amber…
Old Viscosity Ale, 10.0% Port Brewing Company.
The Old Viscosity has the scent of a porter but the taste of a stout. The bottle even boasts to tease the drinker by refusing to reveal whether it’s a stout or a porter. It certainly worked because we argued about it for more than a half hour. The Old Viscosity has chocolate and spice notes and is super smooth for a porter but excellent for a stout as well. This imperial porter stout is a flat out A plus.
Judgment Day, 10.5% ABV, The Lost Abbey.
The Judgment Day Quadrupel Belgian has a sweet Belgian nose and a sweet flavor. Dark brown and purple in color, the Judgment Day light on carbonation and lacks bite but is still full flavored with a unique mouth feel.
Devotion Ale, 6.25% ABV, The Lost Abbey.
The Devotion Belgian Pale Ale is intense on flavor with a little kick. It’s also light but has good bite and good carbonation. It has notes of malt and fruit but is a little too light for a Belgian Pale Ale.
Hop-15 Ale, 10.0% ABV, Port Brewing Company.
The Hop-15 Ale is a sour but subtle in hoppiness for a double IPA. Although it’s not too flowery, which we love, there is little carbonation, almost like a Harpoon. The Hop-15 is sweet, malty, and robust with a perfect character of hops.
Wipe Out IPA, 7.0% ABV, Port Brewing.
The Wipe Out San Diego Style I.P.A. struck us as perfect balance of hops. The combination of the Amarillo, Centennial, and Simcoe hops is brilliant. It was quite possibly the best beer we’ve ever drank.
For about $36-38 the Duck Rabbit variety case is a great buy. The Duck Rabbit brewery’s slogan on the side of their bottle says the “dark beer specialists.” That’s a dead on slogan. The Milk Stout and Porter are classics in their respective styles but the Brown Ale really grew on us. Not only is the Duck Rabbit brewery dark beer specialists but their also authorities on creating the perfect head for their respective beers. We’ve never had head on a beer with this much flavor and this much bite. The beer head is in a class of its own.
Duck Rabbit Milk Stout, 5.7% ABV. Beautiful head, smells strong, good bite, sweet but tastes like an imperial stout, milky and tangy with a bitter aftertaste. Excellent beer!
Duck Rabbit Porter, 5.7% ABV, Lots of head, chocolate notes, malty aftertaste, great nose, head has bite flavor. Great porter beer!
Duck Rabbit Amber Ale, 5.5% ABV, Head has a malty bitter bite, the beer is dark red and brown in color, excellent bite. Solid American Red Ale.
Duck Rabbit Brown Ale, 5.6% ABV, Lots of head, bitter flavor and bite on the head, the beer is brown in color and has light bite, bitter malts, smooth dark ale. Excellent Beer! WOW! We love it! It really grows on you.
From the Duck Rabbit website: We are a small packaging microbrewery located in Farmville, North Carolina. We sold our first beer in August of 2004. We specialize in beautiful, delicious, full flavored dark beers. When we brew, we’re happy and we dance. During fermentation, we sing softly to the yeast. Please try our beer and enjoy a taste of contentment!
By Jeremy Thomson, Tom Pittakas, Pat Smith, Paul Reiter, Tim Rodgers and Matt Goldstein
Over the last few years, there has been a serious trend towards beer in a can and Oskar Blues and Slyfox are running the show. Oskar Blues and Slyfox don’t just make 1 good beer in a can; they each make 4 or 5 great beers in a can. As well, you have to admit, the draught can like Young’s Double Chocolate and Guinness is pretty damn cool. Just admit it. You know you love beer in a draught can!
1. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout, 10.5% ABV, Lyons CO.
2. Slyfox Phoenix Pale Ale, 5.1% ABV, Phoenixville, PA.
3. Maui Coconut Porter, 5.7% ABV, Lahaina, HI.
4. Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale, 6.5% ABV, Lyons, CO.
The annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver Colorado had over 3500 entries this year and was completely sold out 5 weeks in advance. The GABF is a 3 day event held by the Brewers Association with over 100 beer judges and 500 breweries. The 2010 GABF went from Thursday the 16th through Saturday the 18th. The original GABF in 1982 only had 22 breweries.
Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Blue Moon Brewing Company, Denver, CO
Dr. David Ryder
Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Crosby & Baker Ltd.
Utah Brewers Cooperative, Salt Lake City, UT
Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Microstar Keg Management
Mad River Brewing Company, Blue Lake, CA
Mad River Brewing Company
Brewpub Group and Brewpub Group Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Country Malt Group
TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Brea, CA
Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group
Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Pizza Port Brew Guys
Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year
By Jeremy Thompson, Don Corino, Pat Smith, Tim Rodgers, Paul Reiter and Matt Goldstein
1. Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, MI:
The Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout is a shoe in to be our #1 overall beer on our next Top 100 beer list. The seasonal Breakfast Stout was already on our top 10 list and the Founders Porter was our Philadelphia Beer Week Champion. Have you ever tasted the Centennial IPA or the Curmudgeon? Please. Founders Brewing Company is the #1 Brewery in the world!
2. Bell’s Brewing Inc, Kalamazoo, MI:
It’s hard putting Bell’s at #2 on this list because these guys have taken the art of beer making to perfection. From the Bell’s Expedition Stout to the Consecrator Dopplebock and the Hopslam are 3 of the best beers in the world hands down. Add the Kalamazoo Stout, Oberon Ale and the Two Hearted Ale and you have a magnum opus in beer making.
3. Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, San Diego, CA:
The Ballast Point Sculpin IPA is largely considered to be the best India Pale Ale in the world. The Sculpin also won a gold medal at the 2010 World Beer Cup. The Calico Amber Ale is made like an English ESB but this American brew is also a gold medal winner. The Big Eye IPA and the Victory at Sea Imperial Vanilla Coffee Porter are entirely world class.
4. Stone Brewing Company, Escondido, CA:
Stone’s Ruination IPA, Imperial Russian Stout, Smoked Porter and Arrogant Bastard Ale are staples of the craft beer world, while their Anniversary Ale is one of the highest rated beers ever.
5. Port/Lost Abbey Brewing Company, San Marcos, CA:
The Lost Abbey Avant-Garde, Devotion and Yellow Bus along with the Port Old Viscosity, High Tide IPA and Santa’s Little Helper Stout put the Port/Lost Abbey Brewing at #5. Throw in the Hop 15 and Port/Lost Abbey competes with any brewery in the world.
6. Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA:
Victory’s Hopdevil, Prima Pils, and Golden Monkey are almost mainstream craft beers at this point but the Storm King Imperial Stout, Hopwallop, Baltic Thunder Porter, and V-12 are all world class while the Saison du Buff might be the best Saison in the world.
7. Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, Milton, DE:
The 60 Minute, 90 Minute and 120 Minute IPA’s are some of the best IPA’s being brewed today. At the same time, the Old School Barley Wine and the Bitches Brew are some of the best beers in their class. Dogfish also collaborated with Victory on the Saison du Buff.
Founders Destroys the Entire Stout Beer World with KBS
By Jeremy Thomson, Don Corino, Paul Reiter and Matt Goldstein
1. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout:
11.2% Grand Rapids, MI. We’re pretty sure that the Founders KBS is a shoe in to be our next #1 Beer pound for pound overall. The KBS doesn’t only take the stout world to a new level; the KBS takes the beer world to a whole new echelon. There are a few things we could compare it to like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Floyd Mayweather, the Wire, Picasso’s Don Quixote, etc… I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably asking yourself, “did they just compare a beer to the theory relativity?” Of course we did. What do you like more, beer or physics? Exactly. There’s no doubt which one had a greater impact in the last century. Kentucky Breakfast Stout TKO3 Albert Einstein.
2. Founders Breakfast Stout
8.3% Grand Rapids, MI
3. Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout
6.0% Kalamazo, MI
4. Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout
6.10%, Newport, OR
5. Goose Island Black Cat Bourbon County Stout
13%, Chicago, IL
6. Deschutes the Abyss
11.0%, Bend, OR
7. Victory Storm King
9.1%, Downingtown, PA
8. Sierra Nevada Stout
5.8%, Chico, CA
9. Bell’s Expedition Stout
10.5%, Kalamazoo, MI
10. Stone Imperial Russian Stout
10.5%, Escondido, CA
11. Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout
11.5%, Tampa, FL
12. Deschutes Obsidian Stout
6.4%, Bend, OR
13. Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout
14. Bear Republic Big Black Bear
8.1%, Healdsburg, CA
15. Rogue Chocolate Stout
6.0%, Newport, OR
16. Dark Horse Plead the 5th Imperial Stout
12%, Marshall, MI
17. Duck Rabbit Rabid Duck
10.0%, Farmville, NC
18. Ballast Point Victory at Sea
10.0%, San Diego, CA
19. Flying Fish Imperial Esspresso Stout
8.0%, Cherry Hill, NJ
20. North Coast Old Rasputin
9.0%, Fort Bragg, CA
21. Sly Fox O’Reily Stout, 3.6%, Pheonixville, PA
22. Hoppin Frog ‘Boris the Crusher’ Imperial Stout