30 Notable Beers of 2008

Whitbread Brewery, origin of the London Porter recipeAllagash Fluxus 2008
This year’s Fluxus was a ginger-spiced witbier. It was rather tasty.

Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel Rosée d’Hibiscus
Another wit – but this one is flavored hibiscus. This is possibly the only ‘girly’ beer I’ve ever enjoyed.

Brooklyn Brewery Flemish Gold
A saison from
Garrett Oliver’s arsenal – lots of flavor.

Brouwerij de Molen 1914 London Porter
All beer-geek archivists read
Shut Up About Barclay Perkins, yes? If you do not already, you should begin, since the blog and, hence, the beer are the fruits of researcher/author/blogger Ronald Pattinson’s hard work in various European beer archives. And it’s great.

Brouwerij de Molen SSS 1914 Triple Stout
Like the beer above, this is a fantastic recreation of a historic recipe – one I’d be happy to drink every day.

Dogfish Head Sah’tea
Also something of a historic recreation (this time of a Finnish
sahti), but as this is Dogfish Head, it had a modern twist – actual tea in the brew, and a weizen yeast. More refreshing than it is possible to convey.

Dogfish Head Theobroma
It sometimes seemed that every new beer I tried this year featured chocolate in some way, but nothing could compare to the latest archaeological beer from Dogfish Head. Unique, and a very different brew in tap and in the bottle.

Earth Bread + Brewery The Bradley Effect
A winner from the much-anticipated brewpub (see below, and try the flatbreads – they are amazing) with a very unusual style – it was a black gruit (and was on tap just in time for the election).

Earth Bread + Brewery Here’s Brucker
I seemed to have enjoyed many alts this year – this was one of the best, despite the
terrible pun.

Earth Bread + Brewery Love Your Mother
After much wrangling over a liquor license, Earth Bread + Brewery finally opened; this mild was in their starting lineup. Really a nice beer, especially for someone who is stuck driving later.

Norwegian Wood
It was too smoky for me, but I could appreciate the work that had gone into it – the juniper was a nice touch, and I look forward to their other offerings.

Harviestoun Ola Dubh 16
I am generally not a fan of anything wood-aged, but perhaps there’s something about whisky casks that makes it OK. Harviestoun took their reliable Old Engine Oil and deposited it in some
Highland Park casks for a while (I also tried the 12 and 30 varieties), with a very tasty (and, for completists, individually-numbered) result. This one was just right.

Moa Noir
I am often suspicious of a beer that has made a long journey in a bottle, but this dark lager from New Zealand was great – more, please!

Nils Oscar Kalasöl
A märzen from Sweden, and a good one, too – not to mention an excuse to use two umlauts in rapid succession.

Otter Creek Sea Otter
My favorite from the Otter Creek World Tour series – a Baltic porter with a ton of flavor.

Port Brewing/De Proefbrouwerij Signature Ale
Possibly the oddest beer I’ve had this year, and one I thought I would dislike since I am not the world’s biggest fan of
Brettanomyces. This works perfectly for me, though.

Ridgeway Bad King John
A dark, bitter stout, but in a very good way.

Rogue Double Dead Guy
As per usual, Rogue can get away with front-loading the hops – there’s still plenty of malt to make this a perfect Halloween brew.

Rogue John Locker Stock #10, Oktoberfest
This was something of a departure for Rogue – the malt finally got a chance to shine.

Russian River Blind Pig IPA
West coast brewers truly understand how to do the über-hoppy thing while maintaining great flavor.

Southern Tier Choklat
Rather like its sibling below – I wish these came in airline-sized bottles.

Southern Tier Crème Brulee
Definitely a ‘dessert only’ beer – very, very sweet and lives up to its namesake.

Southern Tier Oat
It’s an imperial oatmeal stout. It’s very tasty. It needs to come in a smaller bottle.

Stone XII Anniversary
Another chocolate beer, this one a bitter chocolate oatmeal stout. Really nice, but it was hard to match the memory of the
XI Anniversary, which remains my current favorite beer. Can it please become a year-round offering? Pretty please?
Update: Thank you, Stone Gods!

Struise Black Albert
I know every other beer geek loves it. I see how it’s well-crafted, really I do – but it’s too wine-y for me; the grape flavor and I are not friends. Nice maltiness, though.

Struise Mikeller

Belgium and Denmark came together to make a strong golden ale (or something along those lines). It was tremendous.

Struise Tsjeeses
It was blond tastiness.

Troegs Scratch #6
The Troegs Scratch series has been great fun; I am not normally a huge fan of the Dortmunder Export style, but this won me over.

Troegs Scratch #7
Who doesn’t like a weizenbock?

Victory Yakima Twilight
It’s something like a dark double IPA (not quite a Stone XI Anniversary, but perhaps a distant relation) and quite hoppy for Victory, whose stable of lagers made me realize lagers could be Good Things. I hope to have more.

So, there you have it – a partial sampling of Things I’ve Really Liked this year; if I had to pick a favorite, it’s going to be a narrow victory for the 1914 London Porter, just edging out the SSS 1914 Triple Stout. I wish you good luck in obtaining a bottle in time for New Year’s Eve.