Everyone loves lists right? I usually don’t like other people’s “best” beer or brewery lists much, but I do like to take this opportunity to think back to some of my favorite local beers from the previous year. This takes me down a little “memory lane” of beers and I can relive some of the highlights of the year. In the past I’ve done my lists as overall best beers, but this year I discovered that I had a majority of Minnesota beers on that list. I took notes over the year, and perused my top rated beers on my Untappd list to gather this list. I’ve also challenged my partner in crime Dan Beaubien to give me his top 10 Minnesota beers in a written Smack-Down of beer tasting!
The Rules: Has to be brewed in Minnesota. No samples at crowded and chaotic beer festivals. That’s pretty much it!
Eric’s Top 10 Minnesota Beers of 2016
1) Bent Paddle Double Shot Double Black. This one is simply one of my favorite beers of all time. Sweet, roasty, coffee! I managed to snag two bottles this year and try it at Iron Tap in Waconia.
2) Indeed’s Wooden Soul #7. The best Minnesota sour I’ve had this year. Cherry and raspberry make this complex and wonderful. The plethora of mediocre kettle sours out right now has been schooled–consider this your wake up call Minnesota!
3) Bank Brewing Hop Lab Pink. Bank has been putting out some insanely well crafted IPA’s and this one was the crowning achievement for me. I’ve loved each of the beers in the series but the mango character in this one hits my sweet spot.
4) Surly’s Todd The Axeman. Still one of my favorite IPAs of all time. Todd you will be missed.
5) Waconia Brewing’s Double IPA. This is my local brewery, and I spend a lot of time here and some may think this is favoritism. It is not. I’d put this DIPA with up against any in the state and will cry a little when it’s mayfly lifespan on tap is over.
6) Lift Bridge Barrel Age Silhouette. Thanks go out to Randy Ust for this one. One of the very best barrel aged beers I’ve had. Consistently amazing over the past 2 years.
7) Indeed Rum King. This year in cans! I’ve really loved this beer over the past few years and eagerly await its release. I had a snifter of this at Iron Tap in the enclosed patio when my family joined me from out of state. Happiness in a glass.
8) Birch’s On The Lake’s Coffee Chocolate Golden Ale. This was the first Minnesota brewery doing this type of beer. I’ve had some excellent similar versions of this since (Waconia’s Amy’s Blend, Insight’s Banshee Cutter, Modist First Call) but none have beat this one for balance.
9) Insight’s Scotch Barrel Aged Gravity Well. I got to try this direct from the barrel last month at Insight and it rocketed up to my top 10 list. I have not had the final blended bottled product but my suspicion is that I’d like it even more…
10) Castle Danger Mosaic IPA. At this point a recent addition to my line up is this fruity and powerful IPA from Castle Danger.
Yup, I like Imperial stouts and IPA’s the most. Sours are actually my favorite style and we’re starting to finally see some good ones here in Minnesota. I still want more complexity and less quick kettle sour action though.
Stay tuned in the next few days for Dan’s list…I’m interested to see what he posts! Also Dan has challenged me back by making me rank my top 10 non-Minnesota beers of the year, and we’ll be posting those soon as well.