If you've listened to or watched any interview on our site, you know how we feel about beer rating. The subjectivity of the product really makes any of these lists somewhat useless. Nonetheless, we read them. All of them. We can't help it. We know you can't either - so here's our 10 favorite beers that we had in 2015 in no particular order.
1. Plan Bee Farm Brewery - Precious
This was just plain awesome. So balanced, complex, and well, precious. Evan is putting together some of the most beautiful beers in the country from his Hudson Valley farm and this one (although not released in 2015) may have been one of his best to date. 2016 will see more growth for Plan Bee which will hopefully make it easier for more people to try these wonderful creations.
2. The Rare Barrel - Forces Unseen
The Rare Barrel has quickly gained a reputation for their wonderful barrel aged sour beer program. Forces Unseen is a seemingly straight-forward blend of golden sour beers - only, it's masterfully blended and really displays what the Rare Barrel can do. No need to add fruit or any outside flavors, the oak, yeast, and malt backbone(s) are front and center and come together to really make this a special and versatile beer.
3. Green Bench Brewing - Petit Provision
The definition of a table beer. Low in alcohol, tart, and refreshing. This wild ale aged in white wine barrels is soft and delicate but full of flavor and complexity. It's ready for a day out at the beach or to be paired with a high-end meal at your favorite Michelin rated restaurant. We love this beer and the fact that it's readily available at the brewery makes it even better.
4. Trillium Brewing - Fort Point
Hop juice. Trillium has really taken the Northeast by storm this year, releasing hit after hit and causing lines to form around the block for bottle releases. Fort Point is the brewery's staple pale ale and really sets the tone for what you can expect in the rest of the brewery's offerings. Huge aromatics, luscious and never-ending hop character with minimal bitterness. Drink fresh and drink often.
5. Firestone Walker Barrelworks - Feral One
Firestone Walker is one of our favorite breweries in the entire world. They release classic after classic. Perfection at every level. Feral One follows suit. Although, really any Barrelworks offerings could have made this list, Feral One is something special. A special blend of their best barrels, the team in Buellton has created a beautifully nuanced funky, sour, and complex ale displaying an array of fruit sitting on top of just the right amount of barrel character.
6. Lagunitas - Born Yesterday Pale Ale
We love Lagunitas and their consistently clean IPA's and pale ales but this fresh hop pale ale just had a special something to it that really made it stand out of the crowd for us. Big tropical fruit aroma and flavor is at the forefront of this seemingly drier than usual (for Lagunitas) base. Every aspect of this beer is just fantastic and plays its role perfectly. If only it was available all year.
7. M.I.A. Brewing - MegaMix
MegaMix is our favorite pale ale in South Florida. Juicy and not overly bitter, you can really enjoy the hoppiness of the beer without killing your palate. What started as a one time release, Mega Mix became so popular that the brewery intends to add it to their year-round offerings. We're happy they are.
8. Fremont Brewing - Bourbon Barrel Abominable
By far the biggest beer on our list, "B-Bomb" as it's been nicknamed, is just one of those beers that exceeds all expectations. Huge bold flavors, oak, bourbon, spice, roast, complement a wonderful aroma and mouth feel. A phenomenal sipping beer that evolves as it warms. Just an awesome beer to drink casually with friends or to enjoy alone and really get in to. It's also a great beer to age so make sure to pick up a few to taste over time.
9. Side Project Brewing - Pulling Nails
Side Project is changing the game with its beautiful wine-influenced and wine barrel aged wild and sour ales. Pulling Nails, a blend of four different offerings, is tart and refreshing. Green apple, white wine grape, lemon/citrus, all sit on side project's signature funk. It's just awesome. What did you expect? Cory just can't miss.
10. Sierra Nevada - Hop Hunter
This one is a game changer. A year-round release that tastes like a bottled yesterday fresh hop IPA always. How? Hop oil. Leave it to Sierra Nevada, one of the best and most consistent breweries in the world to distil fresh hops on the farm and use the oils obtained from that process, in combination with whole cone hops, to bitter, give flavor to, and add a pungent hop aroma we've all come to love to this offering. From a brewery that does everything at the highest level, this one is on its own level and is readily available for all to enjoy. It doesn't get much better than that.