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The 25 Best New American Beers of 2010

December 17, 2010  |  7:00am
The 25 Best New American Beers of 2010

After hours of arduous research for this list, we passed out. No we didn’t—we spread the process over 12 months, usually in places like The Brick Store in Atlanta or Trappeze in Athens, and we enlisted the help of proprietors from both (thanks, Dave Blanchard, Mike Gallagher and Eric Johnson). But the bulk of the tasting came from Atlanta Beer Master Reid Ramsay.

We limited our list to American beers that were released to the public for the first time in 2010, but if you’d like some international recommendations, we’d suggest Petrus Aged Pale, any of Mikkeller’s yeast series and De Ranke Saison de Dottignies. We also have to mention that while our absolute favorite new beers of 2010 are Wild Heaven Craft Beers Invocation and Ode to Mercy, the fact that the owner is Paste publisher Nick Purdy and brewmaster is Eric Johnson probably makes us a little biased.

Whether you love hoppy IPAs or malty Russian stouts, you should be able to make a new favorite discovery from the beers below. If we missed a great new beer from your neck of the woods (or you’d just like to fondly remember tasting some of these during the last 12 months), let us know in the comments section below.

Here are the 25 Best New American Beers of 2010:

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25. Lukcy Basartd Ale
Brewery: Stone
Location: San Diego, Calif.
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 8.5%
Blended beers are coming in vogue, and Stone has mixed Arrogant Bastard Ale and Double Bastard Ale with a hint of Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale. That’s a whole lot of Bastards. (and no, we weren’t drinking when we typed the title—it’s actually spelled LUKCY BASARTD ALE).—Josh Jackson

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24. Super Friends IPA
Brewery: Ithaca/Ommegang/Capt Lawrence/Flying Fish/Southampton
Location: All over the U.S.
Style: American IPA
ABV: ?
This beer was brewed by the Justice League in Superman’s fortress of solitude—or at least through a collaboration of epic proportions. Wild yeasts and Citra hops made it as delicious as it is unusual.—Reid Ramsay

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23. Rumpkin
Brewery: Avery
Location: Boulder, Colo.
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 13.8%
Our forefathers brewed with pumpkin. Adam Avery aged his version in rum. The result is everything that’s great about the style, autumn and barrel aging. But it’s a draft-only offering.—RR

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22. The Oracle
Brewery: Bell’s Brewery
Location: Kalamazoo, Mich.
Style: American Imperial IPA
ABV: 10.4%
Kudos to Bell’s for not naming their double IPA the Giant Hoppy Hop Demon of Hops. Subtlety lives. It’s a Double IPA. If you’re not expecting in-your-face hops, here’s hoping you like bitter pineapple-y, citrus-y goodness anyway. *Available in limited quantities in Michigan in 2009.—JJ

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21. Yakima Glory
Brewery: Victory Brewing
Location: Downington, Penn.
Style: Black IPA
ABV: 8.7%
This is a battle between Washington hops and German malts. USA wins in a landslide.—JJ

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20. Tumbler Autumn Brown
Brewery: Sierra Nevada
Location: Chico, Calif.
Style: American Brown Ale
ABV: 5.5%
California fall proved to be just the mellower Sierra Nevada needed to scale back the hops and produce a malty beer, that packs a lot of flavor into a 5.5% beer.—JJ

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19. La Parcela
Brewery: Jolly Pumpkin
Location: Dexter, Mich.
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 6%
Strangely enough, Jolly Pumpkin hadn’t released a pumpkin beer until this year. Brewed back in 2008, the spiced ale has been aging in oak and has hints of the Michigan brewery’s signature tartness.—JJ

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18. Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead
Brewery: Left Hand
Location: Longmont, Colo.
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.2%
With seven malts releasing their flavor during a year in barrels, this is not a beer to approach lightly. Look out Baltic states; Russian imperialism is alive and well.—JJ

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17. Back in Black
Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery
Location: San Francisco, Calif.
Style: Black IPA
ABV: 7%
The battle wages on between Black IPAs and Cascadian Dark Ales, but when a brewer like 21A puts a tasty Black IPA in a can, everybody wins.—RR

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16. Rogue 21
Brewery: Rogue Brewery
Location: Newport, Ore.
Style: Old Ale
ABV: 8%
Brewmaster John Maier celebrated the 21st anniversary of the Oregon Brewers Fest with a 14-ingredient beer that includes licorice and molasses. It was also his 21st different beer at the fest.—JJ

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15. Brooklyn Sorachi Ace
Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery
Location: Brooklyn
Style: Saison
ABV: 7.6%

Scotch has its single malts and now breweries like Mikkeller and Brooklyn are introducing the single-hopped beer. The Japanese strain actually had parents from Britain and the Czech Republic for those of you who care about pedigree. Anyone? No, well, just know that it’s a lemony unfiltered farmhouse ale with a distinct flavor. *This one started trickling out on draught in 2009, but was first bottled this past May.—JJ

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14. Zuur
Brewery: Ommegang
Location: Cooperstown, N.Y.
Style: Flemish Sour
ABV: 6%
A collaboration and a blend, Ommegang partnered with a 331-year-old Belgian brewery. Starting with Brouwerij Liefmans’ open-fermented Oud Bruin and kriek-style Cuvee Brut, Ommegang then aged it with cherries for a year. And that’s just phase one.—JJ

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13. Saison du Buff
Brewery: Victory, Stone, Dogfish Head
Location: All over the U.S.
Style: Saison
ABV: 6.8%
A beer nearly a decade in the making, this saison is an example of what happens when great minds think alike. Each brewery released the exact same recipe—with parsley, sage, estate rosemary and thyme—brewed at each location, but the flavors still varied. It would be interesting to see the water/equipment variables.—RR

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