Best Beers of 2011

December 31, 2011

I had a good 2011 when it came to beer. I probably drank less beer by volume than any year in recent memory, but the quality of the beer I did  drink was much better than in years past. I decided this year to not drink beer just for the sake of drinking beer, but to drink only if the choices were genuinely appealing. No more knocking back a Shiner Bock just because that was the best beer available at the taqueria; I went with water (or sometimes soda) if that was the case.

Drinking only good beer meant less time spent like this

My 2011 Best Beer list is Texas-centric. There are two reasons for that: First, I live here now, and these beers are readily available to me. Second, Texas is home to some damn fine brewers, although most are relatively unknown outside the state. Texas is the best kept secret of the craft brewing world, but the better brewers are starting to get some attention elsewhere.

Here are the best beers I had in 2011:

8.5 Scores:

1. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

2. Deschuttes Black Butte XXIII

3. Super Des Fagnes Brune

4. Dogfish Head Burton Baton

9.0 Scores:

1. Real Ale 15th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout

2. Ithaca Excelsior Thirteen Anniversary Ale

3. Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 11

4. Mikeller Chipotle Porter

9.5 Scores:

1. Jester King Wytchmaker Rye IPA

2. Real Ale Barrel Aged Empire IPA

3. Real Ale Sisyphus 2009

If forced to choose one beer as the best of 2011, I’d go with Jester King’s Wytchmaker Rye IPA. That is one tasty beer. Jester King has a busy and creative 2012 planned, so much so that it would not shock me if one of their new beers knocked out the Wytchmaker to take the title in 2012. On the other hand, at the beginning of 2011, I had not even heard of Jester King, so there may be some as yet unknown brewer who will take the crown. We will have to see how 2012 plays out.

*Photo courtesy of Aaron Goldfarb, Author of How To Fail


Mister JK’s Belgian Beer Adventure

October 16, 2011

Mister JK is a Mover and Shaker, a Titan of High Finance and Commerce.  If I were to publish his address here, the Occupy Wall Street Gang would camp out in from of his guiding to protest him, chanting “Hey! Hey! Mister JK! Send Some Bacon Our Way!”  HA! The joke would be on them because Mister JK always keeps a six month supply of premium bacon in his deep freeze. HA! again, I say!

Mr. JK spent the better part of this past summer working in London.  He says he was just working out of the London office, but I suspect he was part of negotiations concerning the dissolution of the Euro and the return of the Deutsche Mark to its rightful place as the Kaiser of Currencies.  Knowing that Mister JK has their back is giving the Germans the intestinal fortitude to tell those lazy shiftless idlers to the south to go Nehmen Sie fine Wanderung. Read the rest of this entry »


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