It’s been a few years since I did a post of My Top 10 New Beers for a particular year. The idea and challenge to make this list is to pick your ten favorite new beers to you that you had in a calendar year. I did an article with this concept back in 2011, and decided it would be a good idea to revisit this. Without further ado, here are my ten favorite new beers that I tasted in 2014.
Hill Farmstead Brewery operated by Shaun Hill in Greensboro, Vermont is one of the most highly praised breweries in the craft beer circle. Their beers, from juicy Pale Ales to tart oaky Saisons, are clamored for by beer geeks across the U.S.A and internationally. One of their more elusive beers, Ann (a wine barrel aged honey Saison), was recently released for only the second time in bottles since they’ve been in operation.
Oxbow Brewing Company out of Newcastle, Maine is a relatively new brewery to me. I’ve heard about them through various conversations and online forum postings, but only had the opportunity to try a few of their beers within the past month. I acquired a bottle of their Stillbow Oxtisanal, a collaboration with Oxbow and Stillwater Artisanal Ales. This is billed as a Saison/Farmhouse Ale aged in blueberry wine barrels for 20 months.
Goose Island has ramped up production on two yearly releases, Lolita and Juliet, their wine barrel aged Wild Ales. The increase in production also moved the bottles from 22 oz to 750 ml, giving them a look more akin to a wine bottle. Today, Mike and Shane are sampling Juliet which is fermented with wild yeasts and aged in wine barrels with blackberries.
Its return has been three years in the making, a Belgian-style Tripel aged in oak wine barrels and virgin oak barrels inoculated with two barrels of Splinter Gold (2010) and infused with Brettanomyces. Phew. Troegs says this “is a highly-carbonated, bone-dry wild ale boasting a rich Bret ‘funk’ married with lush vanilla, toasted coconut, and oaky tannins.” This is the only Splinter beer I’ve yet to try, I’m hoping it’s as good as they say it is.