Paste's 10 Top Beers of the Month: May 2017

Drink Lists Craft Beer
Share Tweet Submit Pin
<i>Paste's</i> 10 Top Beers of the Month: May 2017

When it comes to beer, there are a ton of choices out there, with more being added everyday. Each month, we round up some of our fave new finds. Some of the brews we did full reviews on, while others are just special gems we found on tap while we were out and about that we think you should know about.

Check out our favorite beers from April here.

By no means a comprehensive list of everything new that came out in May (we can only drink so much!), here are some of our favorites that we’d recommend you grabbing a pint of while you’re out with friends, or picking up a few bottles of at your local bottle shop.

Discover something new this month that you absolutely love? Be sure to tell us about it in the comments!

Santa Cruz Giant DIPA

Admittedly, I was a bit reluctant to try this one at first. Clocking in at 8.9%, this is a heavy one to walk around with at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk where I currently was, and where the beer is primarily sold. And let’s be honest, sipping on a big can of DIPA doesn’t sound like the best idea on a hot summer day, except that it is. From my first sip of Giant, I was hooked. It has a medium mouthfeel and clean finish. Malt plays a huge role, more so than other California DIPAs, but there are just enough aromatic hops to balance that out and make it a well-rounded DIPA.

North Coast Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse

After passing this one around a table of friends at a local craft beer bar, veryone ended up ordering one as their next beer. I can tell you that in a group of beer nerds at a beer nerd bar that pretty much never happens.It’s light-bodied, as you might expect from a Berliner Weisse (presuming you realized you were ordering one), which is also what made my mind immediately go to cider. Light malt and hints of vanilla pair nicely with the tart from the cherry to make a beautifully balanced beer. I found myself almost wishing they added a tiny bit of spice to the mix to give it the perfect “cherry pie” flavor.

Indeed Mexican Honey Imperial Lager

Indeed Brewing, out of Minneapolis, has released a limited edition imperial lager with a bit of Mexican orange blossom honey added to the mix. The result is something that’s one part easy-drinking lager, and one part large-format sipper.

Owl’s Brew Radler Wicked Watermelon

It’s summer, which means it’s time for lighter beers and radlers. Wicked Watermelon is a wheat beer brewed with spices and blended with white tea, fruit juices, and agave nectar. On the nose, it smells just like your standard wheat beer. So much so, in fact, that I wasn’t convinced that that once I took a sip I’d be able to detect any watermelon. Part of a new line of tea-based radlers by Owl’s Brew, this is one you’ll definitely want to try.

Fair State Brewing Co-op Flyover Country

This beer comes from the developing mixed culture series at Fair State Brewing Cooperative, a Minneapolis brewery that opened in 2014 and is one of a few coop breweries in the country. The beer itself takes its name from the locally-minded ingredients. There’s a lot in here, including Minnesota-grown Cascade hops, but more notably from the local microbes that influenced the fermentation process as the beer came of age inside Minnesota-made oak barrels. The end result is also fitting of Minnesota: It’s surprisingly balanced, a bit earthy and with subtle surprises. It’s different, but non-confrontational. So Midwest.

Southern Prohibition Brewing Devil’s Harvest

Thumbnail image for southern-pro-devils-harvest (Custom).jpg

This month we did a side-by-side blind tasting of 52 of the best session IPAs, and Southern Prohibition Brewing Devil’s Harvest took home top honors. Pasties News Director Jim Vorel said “Now I can see why we’ve been hearing about Southern Prohibition lately. Devil’s Harvest is the first beer we’ve ever had from the brewery, and it’s our #1 session IPA. The brewery cheekily calls it a “breakfast IPA,” which might lead the unwary to expect a coffee-infused beer, but they’re more accurately referring to either the ABV (which is actually on the higher end as far as the style goes) or the juicy, citrusy hop profile. Either way, this stuff is delicious.

With a soft, creamy mouthfeel similar to the previous beer from Night Shift, Devil’s Harvest takes more than a few cues from NE-IPA brewing techniques. A “moderate dose of oats” enhances the creamy mouthfeel in a way we tend to associate with Maine Beer Co.’s IPAs, and that comparison isn’t too far off. Big waves of orangey citrus give way to lots of apricot-like stone fruit character that is particularly lovely. Bitterness is more or less nil—this beer is an aromatic powerhouse, but it leans entirely on texture rather than bitterness to keep it from coming off like fruit juice. To quote one score sheet, “This is effortless drinking.” To quote another that didn’t exactly mince words: “People will like this beer.” True enough. If the goal of session IPA is to deliver a decadently hoppy, but still drinkable profile in a small package, then Devil’s Harvest is a beer that exemplifies the spirit of the style. If session IPA is your thing, then you need to seek this one out.”

Night Shift Morph

Thumbnail image for night-shift-morph-2017 (Custom).jpg

Coming in second in that blind tasting was Night Shift Morph. On this one, Jim said “Morph holds the odd distinction of being the only beer in this tasting that also appeared in our massive blind tasting of 247 IPAs, although the similarities are only skin deep. As a rotating IPA series, Night Shift makes Morph differently in every single batch, and it was just our good fortune that the most recent iteration of Morph happens to be a session IPA. And what a session IPA it is, too—a lovely, soft, very creamy mouthfeel delivers subtle citrus and stone fruit (peach, nectarine) flavors that gently roll over the tongue. The overall volume of flavor on this beer is actually on the lower side compared to most of the others at the top of this list, but its subtleties of both flavor and texture are divine. To quote one of the scoresheets, “lovely artistry in this mouthfeel.” Soft, doughy malt offers minimal balance to the juicy citrus and stone fruit flavors. In terms of impressive accomplishments, Night Shift can now say that they’ve made the finals of Paste’s blind tastings twice with the same beer, even though that beer had totally different recipes each time.”

Founder’s All Day IPA


It’s summer, which means it’s time to replace those stouts and porters with lower ABV brews like session IPAs, goes, and Berliner Weisses. This month we rounded up a handful of our favorite summer brews. Near the top of that list is always Founder’s All Day IPA. As you can guess by the name, this delicious beer IPA is one you can sip on all day long. It’s great to have on hand in the fridge when friends come over , or to throw in the cooler when you’re headed out to tailgate foe the big game or attend an outdoor BBQ. Be sure to check out our full roundup of summer beers for more choices.

Westbrook White Thai

Trying to get a friend into beer? This month Graham rounded up 10 Gateway beers to help bring a buddy into the fold. One of his picks: Westbrook White Thai. Take a straightforward Belgian wheat and run it through a “Southeast Asian” filter by adding coriander and orange peel as well as lemongrass and ginger root. It comes off like a refreshing piece of lemon candy with faintly spicy, ginger edge.

Drake’s Hop Vice White IPA


This one is a wonderful representation of the white IPA style, with hints of Belgian yeast and coriander helping round it into a beautifully balanced beer. This is the kind of beer you want in your bag at the park, or out with friends. It tastes light enough that you could definitely drink it like a session beer, but at 6.2%, if you’re going to drink a bunch of these do so cautiously.