It’s demanding to spell out the feeling we get when we come across new beers. It happens to us quite a bit; we’re fortunate enough to get to try a lot of new beers. And yet, every new beer that comes across our desks is really full of promise and hope. Like we’re holding every single time to 12 ounces of Christmas, it’s.
These are the new beers of 2016
French Vanilla Militia
Coming out of Three Floyds’ annual Dark Lord Day, Bourbon Vanilla Dark Lord (BVDL) has always been the headline version. Three Floyds decided to switch it up to celebrate their 20th anniversary with a second variant that stood toe-to-toe with BVDL, French Vanilla Militia (FVM). FVM is Dark Lord which has been aged in Armagnac barrels with vanilla, cocoa nibs, and coffee added. While we all have learned to love the marshmallow mouthfeel of BVDL, the cocoa and coffee provide more dimensions creating a fudgy mouthfeel on the front end and a touch of bitter java on the backend. As the beer warms, an s’mores is created by the Armagnac and vanilla barrel -like coating in your mouth as the coffee and hot chocolate become complimentary flavors.
To put it simply, Melvin nailed it with 2×4. The beer’s medal-strewn resume contains gold at both the Great American Beer Festival (2012) and World Beer Cup (2014), and 2×4 was a two-time consecutive Alpha King Champion (201213), finishing second in that contest in 2015.
This 10 percent ABV double IPA is a hop bomb through and through, with Citra Centennial, Columbus and Simcoe hops layered on a light malt base that gives way to notes of citrus, pine, and tropical fruit.
Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion
Firestone Walker is one of those breweries that can do no wrong. This year, the Cali-based brewery introduced us to a fresh IPA set designed to highlight different hop combos. We’ve been graced with four iterations of Luponic Distortion, with each, at least in our opinion, better in relation to the last. So, if we had to pick one for this list, it would be the most recent, Luponic Distortion: Revolution No. 004, which boasts seven distinct hops and a strong tropical nose. At 5.9% ABV, it’s crushable and, when consumed fresh, as the can implies, is insanely flavorful.
Kent Falls Anachronism
Kent Falls is a dynamic little Connecticut brewery that specializes in bizarre beers of all stripes, and they do fantastic work with Grätzer, or this Grodziskie, an old Polish style of oak -smoked wheat beer. Anachronism’s gentle smokiness is augmented by piney noble hops and a meaty aspect that makes it a great beer as well as a fine meal replacement choice for the adventurous gourmand who doesn’t have time to chew.
TRÖEGS NIMBLE GIANT
If Tröegs had any decency at all, it’d make Nugget Nectar available year-round. That may never happen, but at least it took a step in the proper path in 2016 by introducing this magnificent 9-percent ABV double IPA to help fill in some of the gaps between Nugget seasons. Nimble Giant’s only accessible part-time, too, and it’s also more than worth the wait, with huge pineapple, grapefruit, and pine flavors which were unsurpassed by any DIPA this year, I drank.
Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout
The beer debuted in 2013, moving to Pappy Van Winkle barrels in 2014, followed by a hiatus in 2015. Saboe and his crew returned the beer to Elijah Craig barrels, of which Saboe is a big fan. The result, which will undoubtedly be released when deemed ready this fall, should be another beefy, elaborate, warming brew a great escape from those nasty winters in the upper Midwest.
Todd the Axe Man
Surly’s most recent IPA in a can, Todd The Axe Man-named for head brewer Todd Haug’s other profession as a metal guitarist-debuted last year in the U.S. following a collaboration with Amager Bryghus in Denmark.
Amager brewers are huge fans of Surly’s Angry and Abrasive beers and needed to work with the British malts Surly applies in those brews. In 2014, Haug was able to get some Simpsons Golden Promise malt from the UK to Copenhagen to make Todd The Axe Man for the Copenhagen Beer Fest, and Surly took the recipe back to Minneapolis for creation at its own brewery in 2015.
There’s a welter of heady IPAs and ravishing sours being brewed at the minute, all are ideal for the dinner table, but there is apparently a distinct lack of pudding-friendly beers. Step forward this rich and sensuous imperial milk stout from Sussex brewery Dark Star, which would be a perfect companion to something like a Bakewell tart or Sussex pond pudding. Currently on limited release, it’s dark chestnut in color and yes, it does have the fragrance of a crème brulee, with hints of sweet milky coffee and vanilla in the background. It has an elegant and creamy mouthfeel, with notes of mocha coffee and soft chocolate brushed with vanilla; the dry and bitter finish keep the sweetness from overwhelming the beer.
KMF Pale Ale
Celebrate the dawn of 2016 before ending dry and bittersweet, while the palate chimes using a peel of tropical fruit in style with a brand new beer from Thornbridge, which is a boisterous pale ale with lots of grapefruits and mandarin notes on the nose. The initials stand for Kendal Mountain Festival. This beer was first brewed in November 2015, and it was such a success that it will be going on general release. The brewery is giving a particular amount from the sale of each bottle to the Cumbrian Flood Relief.