My 17 Best Beers of 2017

It’s January! I waited until the very last days of 2017 to decide which were my favorite beers of last year. I spent last week doing careful calculations (aka hibernating from the holidays) and so here’s the roundup. All of these are beers I tried for the first time in 2017, and are listed in chronological order.

1. SeaQuench Ale (Dogfish Head Craft Brewery)

I had this black lime infused sour ale first back in March, but it quickly became my beer of the summer.

2. Shirtless Dictator (Liquid Hero Brewery)

I love a good reference in a beer name, and this moniker for Liquid Hero’s Russian Imperial Stout lands perfectly. By far my favorite of dozen beers we sampled when visiting the York, PA brewery in May.

3. Steep South (Bull City Ciderworks)

A standout of my first of three trips to North Carolina in 2017. It combines two of my favorite things: hard cider and tea! A definite must-visit if you are in Durham.

4. Red Swingline (Trinity Brewing Co.)

Another great name, and great bottle art, both inspired by Office Space. Even better that I shmoozed with a visiting businessman at my local haunt in June and got him to buy this pricey sour IPA on his corporate account.

5. Bourbon Biggie S’mores (Three Notch’d Brewing Company)

Puns on puns on puns! The stout was so good when I had in June it inspired me to drive down to Three Notch’d in Charlottesville in September. (To read more about that trip, check out: 24 Hours in Charlottesville, VA)

6. Supreme Leader (Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery)

Another imperial stout inspired by a dictator? Is there a theme to my beers this year? I’m not actually ranking my beers, but if I did, this one would be very close to the top.

7. Vlad The Imp Aler (Cascade Brewing Company)

Another brutal figure inspiring a strong beer? This is beginning to be a bit silly. You don’t often see sours clocking in at 10.3%  but this Northwest style sour was the best from an August trip to the Cascade Barrel House in Portland, OR.

8. Smoked Gose (Deschutes Brewery)

Another great find from my August trip to Portland. I stopped in to Deschutes and was lucky they till had a few bottles of this. Smokey and tart doesn’t seem like it should work, but it was delicious. (Read more about downtown Portland breweries at: Brew Crawling Through Downtown PDX)

9. Cocoa Cacao (Dugges Bryggeri)

I picked up this delightful import from my favorite local beer store: Arlington’s Brew Shop in September. A super satisfying boozy chocolate shake of a beer.

10. 50 Shades of Gold+ (Belly Love Brewing Company)

I discovered this Belgian strong ale while visiting Belly Love in Purcellville, VA back in early October. The regular 50 Shades of Gold is also great. The + version adds  kaffir lime, ripe mango, and habanero pepper. The heat balances the booziness out of this 9.2% ale. (Read more about my trip to Belly Love at: The LoCo Lowdown: Belly Love Brewing)

11. Peach Cobbler Ale (Flying Dog Brewery)

I was shocked at how much I really loved this beer from Frederick, MD’s Flying Dog. For a fruit beer, it’s not super fruity, and some spices like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg make it taste just like a liquid cobbler. Shout out to my local haunt at Crafthouse Arlington for recommending in October.

12. Fantine (Mystery Brewing Company)

The winner from my third trip to NC this year. I checked out this Hillsborough (just west of Durham) brewery in late October, and this Belgian style IPA was the best of several really good beers. I plan to get back there soon and do a full write up.

13. Neutrino – Double Dry Hopped (Aslin Beer Company)

Aslin never disappoints, and this was perhaps my favorite IPA of the year. I picked up a four-pack from the brewery in October and am hoping they open up a tasting room in the future.

14. 9 Mile Goodwater (Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery)

Along with longtime favorite Flying Dog, Lickinghole is the only other brewery with two entries on this list. That means one thing: I need to make it to Goochland this year and visit them. Another Crafthouse find from November.

15. Asmodeus – Demon of Wrath & Lust (Something Wicked Brewing)

One of the best finds from the Black Friday hometown brewery crawl. Really great spicy milk stout. (read more about Something Wicked at: Brew Crawling in My Hometown: Hanover, PA (part 3))

16. Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) (2017) (Founders Brewing Co.)

So, so, so glad Founders decided to bottle this for the first time in years. I had it at Crafthouse in early December. Really, really enjoyed this stout – thanks to Jared from recommending! Founders is another brewery on the shortlist for visiting in 2018.

17. I Always Felt Closer to IPAs Than I Did to People (Evil Twin Brewing)

Last, but certainly not least, is the beer that best describes me. I had just before Christmas and never looked back.

So those are my favorite beers of last year! How many have you had? What did you have for the first time in 2017 that would’ve made your list?

We’re heading to Lancaster county later this week, but until then – best brews!


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