As I was looking through my Facebook feed today, I noticed this list of the top beers enjoyed in 2015. Of the 50 beers on the list I had the pleasure of trying some of them. As much of the beer I consumed in 2015 came from small breweries along the Front Range, there were a lot that I enjoyed that never would have made the list. So that got me to thinking, “What were the best beers I enjoyed in 2015?” So I jumped over to UnTappd and looked it up. Without further ado, here were my top 10 beers in 2015 as determined by my ratings on UnTappd. I rated all of these beers as 4.5 or higher with the top three all earning ratings of 5 from me.
- HopSavant Sour IPA by Crooked Stave Brewing in Denver
- Swingin Udders Milk Stout by Copper Kettle Brewing in Denver
- Racer 5 IPA by Bear Republic Brewing
- Bourbon County Brand Stout, Goose Island Brewing, Chicago
- Runoff Red IPA by Odell Brewing in Fort Collins
- Holiday Cheer Winter Ale, Caution Brewing, Lakewood, CO
- Samuel Adams Adams Octoberfest, Boston Beer Company
- Odell IPA, Odell Brewing Fort Collins, CO
- High Noon Chili Pepper Ale, Freedom’s Edge Brewing in Cheyenne
- St. Lupulin Pale Ale, Odell Brewing in Fort Collins
- Brainless on Cherries, Epic Brewing in Denver
- Brainless on Raspberries, Epic Brewing, Denver
- False Alarm Jalapeno Cream Ale, Firehouse Brewing, Rapid City, SD
- Speed Goat Blonde Ale, Ten Sleep Brewing, Ten Sleep, WY
- Scuba Steve IPA, Black Bottle Brewing, Fort Collins, CO
- Belligerent Ass Nut Brown, Portneuf Brewing, Pocatello, ID
- Dale’s Pale Ale Blood Orange, Oskar Blues Longmont, CO
- Saranac Octoberfest, FX Matt Brewing in Utica
- Blueberry Wheat, High Hops Brewing, Windsor, CO
- Big LeBEERski Imperial Stout, Barrels and Bottles Brewing, Golden, CO
- Amidon Blonde Ale, Henneberg Brewing, Cazenovia, NY
That’s quite a list, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the number of beers I enjoyed this year. It’s kind of neat to look at how it breaks down, 5 IPA’s 2 Blonde Ales, 2 Marzens, 3 Full disclaimer, many of these were enjoyed in taster flights and then a follow up pint as my favorite in the selection. What were your favorite beers of 2015? Share them with us in the comments, and as always, reach out to me on Untappd.
(Update: Yes, I know how to spell udder. I went off the Untappd spelling of this beer and it was spelled utters. You just never know what play on words a brewery is trying to go for when it names a beer!)
I find it interesting how a palate changes over time. I remember when I used to drink primarily wine, I transitioned from big dry reds to the crisp dry whites. I still enjoy both, but beer has taken the top shelf in refrigerator, and my palate for that is continually evolving. There was a time where Molson Canadian was the best beer ever which was slowly replaced by craft amber lagers and ales. Eventually I became super hop crazy and tried to murder my taste buds with the hoppiest and biggest beers I could find. Stouts? Porters? Nope. I drink my coffee in the morning and not with my beer. That’s starting to change again.
Last week I had some time to kill before picking up Loriana at the airport in Denver, so I stopped by Copper Kettle Brewing off of South Valentia Street. Copper Kettle is in a little strip mall type building and has a small tasting room along with an outdoor patio .A food truck was saddled up on the sidewalk and it being a Friday afternoon, the tasting room was bustling.
I grabbed a two top and ordered up a Basil Cherry Blonde and took in the atmosphere. As the first beer drew down I decided I needed to try their milk stout. I’ve been taking a liking more and more to stouts, and when I saw they had theirs on nitro it convinced me even more that I needed to try it.
I don’t rate many beers as a five on Untappd, but this one made the list. First off, nitro beers are the best. The creamy mouth feel and smoothness makes for a fantastic mouth experience. Milk Stouts are usually already fairly smooth thanks to the brewing process with the lactose, add nitro to it and you’ve got smooth beyond your wildest imagination. Pair that smoothness with deep dark chocolate flavors and it is one of the best things you can put in a glass. Now I couldn’t drink four or five of these, but as a punctuation on a visit to a great tasting room, it was perfect.
The great thing about an expanding palate is the change in attitude while looking at a beer list. My stop in to Copper Kettle a year ago would have meant trying the IPA and Pale Ale. This time I went fruit and then stout. I’m glad I did.
March is silly season for our family. Both Lorrell and I have two out of town trips for business during the month and Loriana has a couple of dance competitions. Mix in committee meetings for various organizations we are involved with and writing the blog will be a challenge. Challenge accepted. Here are this week’s links of interest.
The State of Craft Beer in America — Craft beer has always met its challenges head on, and with the growth of the industry there are more challenges than ever. A good long read on the industry, (Gear Patrol)
The best breweries in the Northeast — From Allagash to Victory this list features some heavy hitters. What are your favorite Northeast Breweries? (Thrillist)
Underrated Gems — What are the restaurants in Denver that are most unappreciated? We all have our favorites and Thrillist has blown the lid off of nine of them with this list. (Thrillist)
An IPA from Ommegang — Sellouts or innovators? I’ve seen Brewery Ommegang called both for announcing a new IPA that will be under limited release in the Tri-State area in NY. These grandfathers of the craft beer movement in Brew Central are sure to impress when Nirvana is released. (Brew Central)
East meets west at Empire — Working on a beer tea combo and planning to break ground on the farmstead brewery at Empire (Brew Central)
Empire Brewing Expansion Update — I remember when Empire Brewing was going to be the first craft brewer into Madison County. Now there are at least three open ahead of them. What’s happening with the farmstead brewery? (Brew Central)
The pain that is trying to fly anywhere in this country can be excruciating. The airlines are running 95% occupancy on most flights and figure if you get mad at them, then someone is getting mad at another airline and they will just kiss your ass goodbye and welcome the next traveler. Part of the problem is that we view flying with the romanticism from the days of Mad Men, never mind the safety record of those planes was less than stellar, we still want long legged hot stewardesses who bring us martinis and hot towels. Of course in my 38 years on this earth, flying has never been that way, we still want it that way.
The above rant is brought to you courtesy of Frontier Airlines and their 4 hour delay of my flight to Phoenix today. What the delay did afford me, was the opportunity to try out the Beer Flights area at Denver International Airport. I can think of a lot worse places to spend four hours on a Sunday than DIA. It is an awesome airport. Clean, friendly, bright and the addition of the beer garden on a limited run from September 19 through October 4th is pretty cool.
For $10 you get 10 two ounce samples from Colorado breweries such as New Belgium, Great Divide, Bristol, Breckenridge and more. There is a variety of styles and the people pouring the beers are friendly. There is a DJ who is playing music that is not distracting, but sets a tone of fun. It really is a fantastic idea to promote Colorado’s elite craft beer scene to travelers from all over the world. Two thumbs up to DIA for this idea.
The weather in Denver in the springtime can be scary or it can be fantastic. Our last trip south to the mile high city was on one of those sunburn inducing fantastic days.
We bumped around the city for a bit in the morning until lunchtime. I’d seen ViewHouse at 2015 Market St, on my previous trips to Coors Field and with it being sunny and 75, it seemed like the perfect spot for lunch.
We could not have asked for a better choice and better timing as we arrived as the lunch rush was wrapping up. We grabbed a table with a view of Coors Field and in the full sunshine allowing early season sun worshiping.
I ordered a draft beer from their extensive menu and Lorrell ordered a beer cocktail featuring Blue Moon and some liqueurs to make it a Colorado Sunrise. The impression of the beer cocktail was that a lot of them could have been consumed on that sunny day I was told it was both delicious and refreshing.
We started with a Southwest Egg Roll appetizer featuring chicken, black beans and packed with cheese. It was a good start and the dipping sauce provided a good pairing with the app.
We were both craving a burger so we split a Southwest burger featuring sharp cheddar and smothered in green chili. It was almost a knife and fork burger, and without a doubt it was delicious.
If we could have spent all day on the rooftop hanging out, we would have and ViewHouse is on the short list of places we must get back to as soon as possible. A new favorite haunt in a city full of them.
High Plains Gastronome Rating: (5 is your average run of the mill place, 10 is among the best I’ve ever experienced)
Food Presentation: 6
Beverage Selection: 7
Beverage Taste: 9
Total Score: 80