The Class of 2012: Part III

The top craft brews to drink right now

beertoastIt’s been a truly great year for craft beer. We’ve been cataloguing our favorites of the year along the way. Here’s parts I and II, along with five more beers in no particular order we simply can’t wait to try again and again. What have been your favorite new releases in 2012? Tell us below.

Pivo Pils (5.3%abv)
Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, CA)
The makers of some of our favorite big hoppy ales have been venturing into lager/pilsner territory with this exceptional Czech style brew seen recently at a number of industry tastings and very lucky beer bars. It’s crisp, floral, lemony, and as refreshing as a sunny and cold fall day. We’d love to see it on tap nationwide.

The Meddler ($8.9%abv)
Odell Brewing Co. (Fort Collins, CO)
We’re big fans of the Flemish style oud bruin, or old brown, which is a reddish, tart-sweet beer with subtle hop character and deep layers of vinous, engaging flavors. Odell’s is higher in alcohol than many traditional versions but remains well-balanced.

Friendship Brew (5.7%abv)
Green Flash Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA) & St. Feuillien (Le Roulx, Belgium)
This collaboration brew is essentially an oatmeal-based black saison (read: smooth) accented with spicy Styrian Golding and tangy Cascade hops and a subtle blend of secret spices that has a woody note akin to cedar.

Super IPA (9%abv)
New Belgium Brewing Co. (Fort Collins, CO) and Alpine Beer Co. (Alpine, CA)
A perfect illustration of the double, or imperial IPA genre, bursting with tangy, resinous, floral hops. This was a one-off brew we absolutely hope to see again from two of the best breweries in America.

Golden Blend (6.0%abv)
Drie Fonteinen (Beersel, Belgium)
Geuze (say ‘gurz’, or ‘gerz-ah’) is a tart, lively blend of aged and younger lambic beer (spontaneously fermented, a.k.a. wild ale) that has been a specialty in Belgium for generations. We can’t get enough it. This version by legendary master blender Armand Debelder, just released in the U.S. this fall, has already achieved cult status, with only 540 cases in the U.S. A quarter of the beer is 4 year-old lambic. Good luck finding it. And when you do, pull the trigger.



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