Draft Magazine’s Best of 2014
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Draft Magazine, one of the best magazines in the craft beer world, has published its list of the best beer in 2014.

The list consists in the best 25 brews that has hit the shelves in the last year.

The 2014 list (the sixth published so far) shows the new trends in the market. Innovation is the word that comes to mind to describe the year! We saw creativity in all aspects of brewing, from process to ingredients.

Innovation when some brewers find the next big new ingredient, or even when they search the past to introduce new ideas to drinkers.

You will see another market trend here: a lot of wood-aged beers. It seems that the aged beers is the big thing in the American market.

Here are some interesting facts:

Most of the big american craft breweries are not in list;

A Brazilian brewery that has introduced its products in the U.S. is part of the list this year

Unfortunately some of this beers are available only in some states in the U.S, and some are limited brews that will make your life really hard, if you want to taste it!


Carhartt Woodsman
Brewery: New Holland
Beer Style: Wood-aged beer

A wood-aged pale ale, with 4,4%.
Michigan-grown Cascade hops flood the sip with citrus notes that starts fruity and turns floral near the finish, where the oak shows up to finish it off with woodiness that reads fresh from the sawmill.

Oud Bruin
Brewery: New Glarus
Beer Style: Oud bruin

Brewed in the oud bruin (or Flanders brown) tradition, it’s a masterful example of the age-old Belgian style. A delicate balance of sweet brown sugar and cherries hang with slightly funky tartness, while toasted malt, oak and leather notes add rich complexity to each deep sip.

Home, Sour Home
Brewery: The Rare Barrel
Beer Style: Wood-aged beer

Complex recipe which includes Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, peaches, spices and barrel-aging.
The simple result is a testament to the masterful brewing and blending from this brewery: Pastry malts carry juicy, slightly tart cinnamon-peach notes along a swallow that tastes just like dessert.

Saison du Blé Batch 2
Brewery: Side Project
Beer style: Wood-aged beer

By day, Cory King is the head brewer at Perennial Artisan Ales, and on nights and weekends, he brews at that same facility for his own line, Side Project, dedicated to barrel-aged beer.
A great wheat saison with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus, with 6%, aged in chardonnay barrels. On the tongue, this complex beer starts with firm, tart notes before a spool of beautiful vinous and citrus unravels, including chardonnay-like pear, orange marmalade and pink grapefruit; soft wheat keeps the flavour round while sharp acidity balances the sweetness.

The Kimmie, The Yink and the Holy Gose
Brewery: Anderson Valley
Beer Style: Gose

The German-style Gose was one of 2014’s breakout trends. This beer showcases the star attributes of the sessionable style: Shimmering lemon in the front, a clean tart bite in the back, and a subtle lingering brininess in the finish.

Xocoveza Mocha Stout
Brewery: Stone, Cervezeria Insurgente & Chris Banker
Beer Style: Spice/Herb beer

This beer is the winner of Stone’s homebrewing competition.
Chris Banker’s imaginative recipe—a stout made with cocoa, coffee, dried peppers, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg—was collaboratively brewed by Stone and Cervezeria Insurgente. It’s a creamy, complex, beautifully orchestrated dessert beer: Cinnamon-flecked coffee starts the beer on the right note, with cocoa and vanilla sweetening the silky sip. Pepper spice steps in where the cinnamon ends, eventually joining espresso roast for a long, dry finish.

Lunch
Brewery: Maine Beer Co.
Beer Style: IPA

This year’s IPAs were all about juicy hop flavour, minus hops’ tongue-battering bitterness:
This is, simply, a stellar example of today’s IPA. The creamy mouthfeel carries a beautiful cushion of caramel malt flavour; flavourful hops pop off the tongue with even turns of fresh pine, sweet pineapple, citrusy apricot and grapefruit rind. Bitterness whispers through the sip to dry the mouth, but doesn’t stay long.

Feral One
Brewery: Firestone-Walker
Beer Style: American Wild ale

Considered 2014’s most multifaceted wild ale, this ale was brewed with souring Lactobacillus and two strains of Brettanomyces, and aged in American and French oak barrels. What emerged is a brew boasting layers of hay and barnyard that anchor surprising strawberry, tangerine and subtle white-wine fruitiness.

Tropic King Peach Whiskey Aged
Brewery: Funkwerks
Beer Style: Wood-aged beer

The Tropic King, released in 2011 aged in peach whiskey barrels, creating an impressive, creative hop/barrel pairing. The hop’s papaya, guava and orange blend perfectly with hints of floral, vanilla-tinged oak and touches of peach for a fruity swallow that tastes nothing like ubiquitous whiskey-aged beers; it’s goes towards a fruity white wine.

Southern Cape Sparkling Ale
Brewery: Summit
Beer Style: Australian Sparkling ale

Not only is the beer the bubbliest, fruitiest un-fruit beer released this year, it’s also an introduction to the extremely rare Southern Passion hop from South Africa, which gives berries, lime, peaches and pineapple tasting notes. The beer style is rare, but this delicate execution will likely inspire brewers to try it out.

Daliesque 2011
Brewery: Oceanside Ale Works
Beer Style: Lambic

Brewed in 2011 but held until this year, this lambic counts only on Johannesburg Riesling barrels for wood and melon notes that dart through wheaty, lactic creaminess and haylike funk

Lulu
Brewery: Double Mountain
Beer Style: Spice beer

Lulu is one of the most delicate examples of the hibiscus beer craze, and proof that a saison is the perfect vehicle for the flowers: Soft botanicals and fruity peach lace a wash of rustic dried hay; a warming peppercorn bite caps off each beautiful sip of this celebratory beer.

Tinder
Brewery: Uinta
Beer Style: Rauchbier

The American version on the classic german’s Bamberg style. But where most rauchbiers skew bacony, Tinder evenly balances a smooth woody fireplace smoke with bready sweetness for a seductive beer that doesn’t induce palate fatigue.

Salted Caramel Stout
Brewery: Breakside
Beer Style: Specialty beer

A collaboration between Breakside and Portland’s beloved Salt & Straw ice cream shop.
A dash of sea salt and a dose of the creamery’s house-made caramel went into the beer, blending with the rich base stout for a knee-buckling sweet-and-salty sip that hints at salted brittle, but with a lovely charred marshmallow finish.

Aurora
Brewery: Night Shift
Beer Style: Specialty beer

A wild ale dry-hopped with an exotic Nelson Sauvin hop variety from New Zealand.
A blend of the hop’s herbal eucalyptus, juicy lemon and vinous white grape notes and the ale’s saisonlike rustic spice, grains and slight funk created a symphony of harmonious flavours.

Wheat is the New Hops
Brewery: Mikkeller & Grassroots
Beer Style: Wood-aged beer

A collaboration between Mikkeller and Grassroots Brewing.
A barrel aged version of their 2012 collaboration.
The chardonnay aged notes meet the bright lemon, rustic hay and fresh grassy notes.
Some say this is what a Saison DuPont would taste like aged in wine barrels.

Evolver IPA
Brewery: The Wild Beer Co.
Beer Style: Specialty beer

An IPA crafted by a Brit and an American ex-pat in England.
An aroma of sunny lemon, dank pine and barnyard greets the nose; bready malts and dried hay float a blend of lemon, jasmine and pine across the tongue while barnyard notes lend balance to each sip.

North Country Brunette
Brewery: August Schell
Beer Style: Berliner Weisse

An Märzen weisse, a long-forgotten Berliner weisse/Märzen mash-up that predates World War II. A delicate ale-lager with a Brettanomyces fermentation and an aging period inside the brewery’s 1936 cypress wood lagering tanks. Tight, toasty malts balance clean lemony sourness for a creamy, tart sip unlike anything around.

Carry On Citrus Ale
Brewery: Golden Road
Beer Style: Fruit beer

Brewed with SoCal oranges with a bitter mouthfeel with orange and lemon tasting notes.
Brewed exclusively for some states and regional airports across the country.

Serenity
Brewery: Wicked Weed
Beer Style: American Wild Ale

This beer is the DRAFT’s first-ever 100-point wild ale. Effervescent carbonation with lemon, gooseberry and peach notes, complemented by a slightly bite.

Easy Swinger
Brewery: Trinity
Beer Style: Specialty beer

Easy Swinger was the showstopper beer of the Red Swingline line (which started with a hoppy sour ale that made our 2013 list), a testament to how many trends a single beer can encompass in a low alcohol recipe with 4.1%.
A wine-barrel-aged Brettanomyces session IPA brewed with tangerine zest.
A nice pairing of tropical flavors and tangerine connects with fruity chard notes; barnyard and wood underscores the bright, bubbly sip.

Belô Ipê Brazilian Quadrupel
Brewery: Cervejaria Wäls
Beer Style: Belgian specialty ale

The Brazilian brewery Wäls did the unthinkable: It medaled twice in the World Beer Cup’s Belgian categories, beating out actual Belgian brewers. One of those beers  was Belô Ipê, a quad aged with cachaça-soaked wood chips.
An ultrasmooth swallow carries luscious raisins, sturdy toasted malts, black pepper, and a hint of spicy cachaça, creating a subtle Brazilian spin on the Old World style.

Trappist Ale
Brewery: Spencer Brewery
Beer Style: Patersbier

Spencer Brewery is the first Trappist brewery in the United States, and only the 10th worldwide—The first beer out of Massachusetts’ St. Joseph’s Abbey, came in the form of a Belgian-style patersbier. A lower-ABV ale (6.5% ABV), akin to a Belgian blonde.
Traditionally brewed exclusively for monks, the style is rarely available to the public.
This beer’s subtle banana, clove and mint mark a wash of soft, bready malts for elegant swallow.

Maple Bacon Coffee Porter
Brewery: Funky Buddha
Beer Style: Specialty beer

This beer begins with strong roasted coffee flavour before sweet maple-syrup-drizzled pancake rolls through the center of the sip. Smoky bacon rounds it out for all you could want on your tongue in the morning, evenly expressed and wrapped in the liquid silk of one of the smoothest porters we’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting.

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