10. Sixpoint 3Beans
This boozy baltic porter pairs coffee beans, cacao beans, and romano beans into a trifecta of dark, rich, malty goodness that hides a wicked 10% ABV. The beer is aged in oak for a hint of vanilla, because the coffee and chocolate in this thing just weren’t interesting enough on their own.
9. Terrapin White Chocolate Moo Hoo
Take Terrapin’s standard Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout, then add white chocolate to the mix. Sweet Baby Jesus, this beer is decadent. Wait, is it even a beer? Or is it an alcohol-infused ice cream pint? Maybe it’s a little bit of both. Either way, it elevates dessert to a whole different level of awesome.
8. Deep Ellum Numb Comfort
This American Barleywine was packed with malty goodness and balanced with fruity hops—like drinking caramel velvet with a light hop chaser. The Dallas brewery put the Barleywine into rye barrels last year and released it this year on 4-20, a date that apparently has some significance in popular culture. We also like any beer named after Pink Floyd. Sadly, unless you were drinking in Dallas last Spring, you probably didn’t get a chance to sample this beer, as it was only released on draft locally.
7. Founders Doom
Being aged in bourbon barrels for four months gives this resinous, sweet imperial IPA a boozy quality to match its intense flavor. Take the hop forward character of the base beer, Double Trouble, and layer it with notes of bourbon and vanilla. It’s hard to imagine how hanging out with bourbon could mellow something, but that’s exactly what happens here.
6. Three Floyds Permanent Funeral
Gory and badass, this mighty powerful pale ale collaboration with the grindmetal band Pig Destroyer is a tour-de-force for your tastebuds. Permanent Funeral packs 100 IBU’s and 10.5% ABV, which makes you think you have to be in a grindmetal band yourself to handle this bottle, but you’d be wrong. There’s balance here. Malts. Just don’t take your pint to the mosh pit.
5. Ommegang Take the Black Stout
pop culture reference. Ommegang’s second Game of Thrones inspired brew is more fruity and Belgian-inspired than your average stout, but that turns out to be a great thing. The roasted chocolate character is given depth by an array of fruit (banana, cherry) and light hop bitterness.
4. Gigantic The Future is Now
Look at that, there’s an Amber Ale on the list! But it’s an Amber from Gigantic, so you know there’s more to it than just the typical caramel, malty sweetness. Yep, this Amber ale leans towards the hoppier side of the fence than most, injecting a surprising IPA-ness to the Amber equation. This beer is so bright it pairs perfectly with a nice pair of shades. You know, because you’re future’s so bright
okay, that was better in my head.
3. Avery Uncle Jacob’s Stout
Part Imperial Stout, part whiskey, Avery takes its already robust stout and ages it for six months in bourbon barrels for an incredibly rich, decadent Bourbon Barrel Stout. 2013 marked the second batch of this annual release, which comes in at a hefty 17.42 % ABV. The 12 ounce single bottles were sold for $12 each. I’m not good at math, but I think that’s $1 an ounce.
2. Stone Southern Charred Double Bastard Ale
Packed with malts, packed with hops, Stone found balance in their Double Bastard by weighing the hell out of both sides of the scale. Then they aged the beer for 10 months in Kentucky bourbon American oak barrels. The result is an incredibly boozy (12.6% ABV), incredibly malty, incredibly hoppy, incredibly bourbony beer that Paste rated a 9.2 this year. In a year of bourbon barrel-aged beers, this one made the biggest impact on us.
1. Westbrook Gose
The relatively new Westbrook Brewing turned to Old Europe for inspiration for its Gose, a sour wheat beer that dates back to 16th century Germany. Few American breweries attempt to brew the Gose because, well, maybe they don’t like history. Westbrook’s fondness of history pays off here. The brewery uses sea salt and coriander in the brewing, for a sour and salty experience unlike anything else in the “summer beer” category. Light, refreshing and only 4% ABV, we’re still looking for a reason to stop drinking this beer.