Beer of the Week is cool and all, but top five beers of the year? Now that’s something that carries a bit more weight. How does one choose the tastiest brews they’ve had throughout an entire year? Through the miracle that is Untappd, I’m able to track the beers I try. A quick search through my ratings provided the answer.
There were many standout beers this year, but from all of the things I tried these stood out the most. Enjoy!
PDXBeerGirl’s Top Five Beer Picks from 2018
1. Nectarine Golden Ale by Pfriem Family Brewers
We age pFriem Nectarine Golden Ale in fresh Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc barrels, before adding perfectly ripened Flavortop Nectarines, grown right down the road by our friends in Maryhill. After another six months of aging, the resulting aromas of marmalade, graham cracker and citrus zest, and notes of peach nectar, cantaloupe and Sauvignon Blanc practically leap from the glass.
I gave this beer a near perfect rating of 4.75/5 because it blew me away. White wine barrel-aged beers have been a thing of fascination for me over the last year or so, and this particular one hit all the right notes. Not too sour, perfect amount of citrus, and stellar mouthfeel. I’m so happy to have an extra bottle in the cellar!
2. Matryoshka (2018) Bourbon Barrel Aged with Vanilla Beans and Marionberries by Fort George Brewery
Russian Imperial stout aged with vanilla bean and marionberries
I gave this 12.75% monster of a beer a 5/5. It was one of the stand outs from the Festival of Dark Arts, an annual event that Fort George holds in Astoria every February. While my memory did get a little fuzzy that day, there was no way I was forgetting this beer. Matryoshka is a regular barrel-aged imperial stout from Fort George, but with the vanilla and marionberry additions? This beer sang.
3. Vamanos with Apricots and Honey (Cask Firkin) by The Ale Apothecary
Initial ferment of unboiled wort with lactobacillus followed by a spontaneous fermentation in our sour wort barrel. The wort went into an oak puncheon with 100# of apricots and 5# of marionberries for 13 months. Honey was added prior to being casked. “Brewed” 6/2016, Casked 7/20/2017.
Another close to perfect beer. The crew at The Ale Apothecary sure know their way around sour beers, and this was no exception. The cask variation gave it a smoother mouthfeel than their normally effervescent offerings, with just the right amount of sweetness from the honey to balance out the tang from the fruit. If you haven’t yet traveled to Bend, Oregon, to check out their tasting room, GO!
4. Blanc On Blanc On Blanc On Blanc by Modern Times Beer
A brand new edition of this beer, now with one more Blanc. Made with Sauv Blanc wine must, Nelson Sauvin & Hallertau Blanc hops, and New Zealand Sauv Blanc wine yeast.
While this may not have been my overall highest rated Modern Times beer of the year, it stands out. They were just getting ramped up in Portland when I tried this beer back in February. It’s not your typical double IPA hop bomb, as you can see with the wine ingredients. The recipe creativity definitely pushed it into my top beers for the year.
5. Fluorescent Animals by Ruse Brewing
Tart Wheat ale conditioned w/ blackberries, syrah grapes, and fresh lime juice.
This beer was incredibly easy to drink. It’s sour, for sure, but it was more mellow than I was expecting. The color was beautiful, a deep cranberry, with head to match. Ruse has been knocking it out of the park this year, and I look forward to what they have in store for us in the new year!