Death Toll Scholl Top Beers of 2013
2013 was an extremely good beer year for me. I enjoyed sought after beers such as Dark Lord variants, KBS, Heady Topper, King Henry, and Firestone Anniversary Ale verticals. I had a great time at Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers, Dark Lord Days, and drinking countless BCBS’s in Goose Island Beer Co.’s barrelhouse. This list supposed to be top 5 best beers I drank of 2013 and I couldn’t narrow it down to just 5 because the world of craft beer is offering so many winners. I decided to select the beers that blew me away so much that I had to pause, pick myself off of the floor, and rethink my tastes on beer. Here are six that did just that. -Death Toll Scholl
In The Name of Suffering – Black IPA – Three Floyds Brewing
Catchy name, makes me think of reasons why people drink. I tried many black IPA’s and have always thought, “meh, it’s like a hopped stout”. Then this beer happened. Huge hop nose, literally like you’re smelling a bucket of hops that were just harvested. Taste has a great balance between hops and maltiness where you’re not hit with high bitterness right away. In The Name of Suffering set the Black IPA bar and few other black IPA’s have come close to reaching it.
Raspberry Truffle Abduction – Imperial Stout – Pipeworks Brewing Company
As a Chicagoan, I should be crazy about this brewery. Hell, they even won some sort of national “best of” award in 2012. But even after trying 3 or 4 bombers from them, I wasn’t a fan. Then I started to see some buzz about Raspberry Truffle Abduction on twitter, so after 8 months of not buying their beer, I decided to try them again. This stout starts with a tart raspberry with a smooth chocolaty finish. Very balanced. Well done, Pipeworks – you’ve won me over.
Rosa Hibiscus Ale (first canned 2013) – Herbed/Spiced Beer – Revolution Brewing
The first time I had this beer was in 2010, and it quickly became my summer go-to beverage. Revolution Brewery started canning Rosa this year, so I made it a mission to get my friends to like this beer too. Keep in mind this it’s named Rosa, made with hibiscus, and is pink, so winning over stout-drinking motorcycle riders wasn’t an easy task. After talking them into taking a drink they became enthusiasts within a few sips. Piquant hibiscus, light, effervescent beer is perfect for those 83-degree patio afternoons. One word to describe this beer: refreshing.
La Folie (Lips of Faith) – Flanders Oud Bruin – New Belgium Brewing
I’m not a worshiper of Fat Tire by any means, but have great respect for New Belgium Brewing’s business model. Earlier this year I was hanging out at one of those swank hipster places in Logan Square (aka my kind of place) and they had La Folie on draft. I decided to try this beer instead of the restaurant’s famous whiskey cocktails. This beer opened the door to sour styles for me. It explodes with sourness, but not in a displeasing way. On draft it has a unique carbonation but I didn’t get that from the bottle. Draft and bottle are both highly recommended.
Pliny the Elder – Double IPA – Russian River Brewing Company
Getting your hands on a bottle of Pliny in the Midwest is difficult. Finding someone who has a bottle and wants to share is even tougher. Lucky for me, I was hanging out with some great friends on a brew day and a few bottles just happened to be cracked open. I know there is a ton of hype around Pliny, and I will add to the hype by stating this is the best IPA I ever had. Unfortunately, when I went to get more after a 4oz sample, the bottles were empty. 4oz of Pliney the Elder is all I ever had, so if you have a bottle and want some company, give me a call.
Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout – Imperial Stout – Goose Island Beer Co.
If you can find this beer, get it, and drink it. Then hunt for another bottle. I was lucky enough to get a bottle to review before the release (2013 BCBS Review). I literally said “holy shit” on my first sip. This beer is outstanding and I’m not going to sit here and try to describe it to you, as there are plenty of reviews raving about Proprietor BCBS already. I will probably pay way too much money for another bottle and won’t even hate myself for it.
The Godfather’s Top Beers of 2013
I drank a LOT of beers in 2013; (I assume this is how my stint in a 12 step program gets started) and I spend a borderline unhealthy amount of time drinking and talking about good beers with Death Toll Scholl, so some of our favorites were the same. Beers like In The Name of Suffering and BCBS Proprietor’s were a couple of the highlights; beers that I could drink on an almost daily basis, if my liver wouldn’t shut down. -The Godfather
Unholy Mole Stout-Stout-Lake Effect Brewing/ManBQue
It’s like asking a father who the cutest kid is, of course he’s gong to pick his own. On a serious note, it was great brewing with Clint from Lake Effect. He really took time with me to figure out what flavors I wanted and how we could make it work. The result was a perfectly balanced stout with perfect complimentary flavors. There was enough sweetness from the lactose, chocolate notes from the malt, roastiness from the chiles and just enough heat to assure they were in there. Plus, at 6.5% ABV, this was exactly the session beer that I hoped it would be
Backyard Rye Bourbon County Stout-Goose Island Brewing
I have a very great love for Bourbon County Stout. I knew I was going to like the Backyard Rye, but I didn’t realize how much. This beer tasted like a chocolate covered raspberry. Read more about what we had to say about this delicious beer.
Velvet Merlin-Oatmeal Stout-Firestone Walker
This was very enjoyable beer. It had all of my favorite flavors for a stout – oats, chocolate and espresso. The ABV came in at 5.0%, which allows you to have more than one so you can fully enjoy this beauty. This a deliciously creamy and smooth beer that must be tried by all.
Barrel Aged Shipwrecked Porter-Porter-Arcadia Brewing
When I first tasted this, I referred to it as “poor man’s Bourbon County Stout.” As I had more, other flavors came out that separated it from BCS. This had a more sweet, raisiny flavor to it, and even though it’s billed as a porter, it was heavier than some stouts I’ve tasted.This is definitely a beer worth tasting.
Scurry-Dark Honey Ale-Off Color Brewing
I’m a sucker for good, malty beers. This beer is excellent. You’ve come to expect great things from a guy with the beer pedigree of John Laffler. He does not disappoint with Scurry. This malt forward ale had the perfect hints of molasses and honey. The carbonation was subtle and there was just a touch of bitterness. This beer will get you excited to see what else Off Color Brewing has in store for 2014.