The Class of 2012: Part IV

The top craft brews to find and drink right now.

beer_03It’s been an epic year for craft beer. We’ve been cataloguing our five quarterly favorites of the year along the way. Here’s parts I, II, and III, along with five more winter-appropriate beers we simply can’t wait to try again (in no particular order).

What have been your favorite new releases in 2012? Tell us below.

And here’s to another great year of beer!

Grand Cru (9.1%abv)
Green Flash, San Diego, CA

home-cru-banner_01A twist on the traditional, ruddy red Abbey ales of Belgium, this American craft-brewed version has the clean, punchy attack of sprucy, aromatic hops balancing a sturdy, malt-accented base with notes of caramel. Delicious stuff.

Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer (4.8%abv)
Crabbie’s, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

hampercompetition-banner_01This Scottish import is hugely popular throughout the U.K., and is now thankfully available on American shores. Steeped with high quality ginger it’s meant to be served over ice with a slice of lemon or lime, and would make a great component of cocktails like the Dark & Stormy and Moscow Mule.

Sahalie (9.3%abv)
The Ale Apothecary, Bend, OR

apth-sahalieBrewer Paul Arney left his position as R+D/head brewpub chief of the legendary Deschutes Brewery with contributions to home run beer recipes including The Dissident under his belt to start this bold wilderness brewery. Good move. The vinous Sahalie wild ale is a revelation; with intriguing layers of earthy, angular flavors derived from wild yeasts, it’s an American take on Orval, regarded as the world classic Belgian Pale Ale.

Scotch Ale (8.2%abv)
Smuttynose, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

scotch_aleScotch ales traditionally marry mellow-sweet flavors with hints from smoked brewers’ malts, which, in lesser hands, can taste too charred, soapy, or earthy. Smuttynose’s new-for-2012 brew deftly utilizes peat-smoked grains and a portion of pinot noir barrel-aged beer to deepen and complexify flavors.

Marooned on Hog Island (7.9%abv)
21st Amendment, San Francisco, CA

mohi-can-png-230x424_01Here at the Pint we love traditional oyster stouts. 21st Amendment’s inky-black sipper is brewed with oats and 450 lbs. of Hog Island Oyster Company’s sweetwater oyster shells, giving it a subtle minerality and velvety roundness, with a just-right bitter kick in the finish.



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