Ah 2014, a year of much stuff, many things, and plenty of beer. It is the year that I transitioned from a purely video beer blog to a Web site featuring beer and brewery reviews, taking on a major commitment to the beverage that I love. This commitment will continue into the new year with plans for more brewery and event reports/reviews, plenty of thoughts on brews both new and aged, and a few new features I hope to get off the ground.
But now is the time to reflect on the beers of drinking past, and to that end I’ve compiled the list of my favorite beers of 2014. These are beers that not only impressed me with their quality over all other beers I had last year, but are the ones that I will be looking forward to in 2015 as well.
I walk the mean streets of Lititz, PA with a bottle of Prairie Bomb in my pocket, a cold wind at my back and a mission to have Bourbon County Vanilla Rye in my gut by the end of the night. Can’t think of a better way to spend a Wednesday afternoon. I push through the double doors into the Bulls Head Pub and find it is busier than usual, already half-full of like-minded regulars. Regulars might be a bit generous as the promise of draft BCBS along with its Coffee and Vanilla bottled brethren has dredged up all the flexible work schedule casual and enthusiast beer drinkers from across the region.
I sidle up to the smooth, lacquered bar top that I’ve sidled up to many times before and peruse the tap list. A coaster absently spins under my nervous fingers. It’s an hour and a half until the Bourbon County event kicks off, but there are worse places to kill time. The Bulls Head is one of the top beer bars in the North East (made official by CraftBeer.com’s user-voted Great American Beer Bars competition) and a British style pub, meaning no T.V., plenty of room temperature cask beer, bar only ordering, and a partially British menu to match. The décor follows suit; dim lighting, a mix of high top tables and booths, and wood covering every surface like a forest exploded. Just about every element of the bar was brought over from England to be as authentic as possible and it all adds up as one of the best places in PA to get some fish and chips with your craft beer.
The beers of Untappd (drewsbrewsreviews) mostly came from the personal collections of beer enthusiasts this week, so many thanks to the people and their sharing spirit. Sad to say that a portion of this was guzzled during the Green Bay routing of the Eagles, but at least we had a big beer to make that big loss go down easier. We are nearing some major releases and events, so my Untappd is probably going to blow up soon. In the calm before the storm, I’ll be sneaking in some traded Gandhi Bot and maybe a Prairie Bomb. Looking forward to it!
Goose Island – Bourbon County Location: DBR Bar Style: Imperial Stout (Bourbon Aged) Score: 4.5/5 Original Comment: Why not drown the Eagle sorrows in a vintage 2013 bourbon. Can’t wait to try the 2014 offerings.
Additional Thoughts: Always good to revisit an old friend right before we get to experience its 2014 brethren (and when your team is getting pulverized by the Aaron Rodgers TD machine). Obviously this wasn’t much of a beer review, but I’ve had this beer plenty and didn’t feel like adding much. A year on and the BCBS remained largely unchanged . The sweetness might have bumped up a touch, a dangerous aspect with such a syrupy booze blast of a beer that teetered on medicinal to begin with. Actually two of our group, one a major boozy beer fan, couldn’t handle it. Not for everyone indeed, but it got me pumped for the 2014 Vanilla Rye BCBS.
This is a highlight of beers I’ve Untappd (drewsbrewsreviews) over the past week at bars and friends houses where I wasn’t able to do a full write up. I had a lot to choose from this week as I got to try a whole bushel of good beers. A bushel I tell you!
Additional Thoughts: Some great flavors here, but an incredibly intense tart bomb the sucks the saliva from your mouth. I’m not a big fan of acidic, tart drinks, alcoholic or not, so this could bump up a full point if you enjoy that taste sensation. Much thanks to Elisha for the opportunity to try this.
Recently, I’ve had conversations with my beer loving friends about the stagnate state of the keg to glass systems used by most every bar out there. This archaic dinosaur from the colder-is-better popular pilsner era isn’t meant to handle the wide array of craft beers we enjoy in this time of enlightenment. To bring on the needed warms, I employ a basic ordering system of hitting two beers at a time, going for one I can drink cold while the other high-ABV imperial bomb warms up. Well, my crude and uncivilized methods could be a thing of the past due to a forward thinking bar owner named Gabe Gordon.