Five for Foodies: Top 5 beers of 2013

As is customary this time of year, let’s take a look back at the top five — in no discernible order — favorite beers of 2013.

First off, I didn’t include Samuel Adams Utopias 2013 as it kind of blows the curve. Any other of the fine beers I drank this year, either professionally or for personal gain, stand at the foot of that mountain looking up.

Utopias aside, I managed to whittle the list down to seven finalists. But this is the “Five for Foodies” feature, not the “Seven Suds for Sieger” feature, so two had to go.

1) Braaaiins! Pumpkin Ale for Zombies

I needed to include Braaaiins on the list because it’s a pumpkin ale that managed to surprise me.

There are so many pumpkin ales out there, and they tend to be very similar. Spring House Brewing Co. added a little tweak to its recipe by adding sweet dough to the boil.

The result was a slightly sweet and doughy quality that gave way to a malty and hoppy finish. It moved quickly up my personal pumpkin beer hierarchy.

2) 10² Highly-Hopped Barley Wine Ale

Fish Brewing Co. came up with a big, full-bodied beer that wonderfully melded a pronounced alcohol quality with a hoppy body and a crisp floral bite.

3) Rejewvenator Dubbel Doppel

Schmaltz Brewing Co. described Rejewvenator as a Belgian-style dubbel and a European doppelbock. Hmmm.

Well, it delivered. Brewed with figs and dates, Rejewvenator was a kind of bigger, bolder Belgian ale that came with a nice dried fruit quality in the aftertaste.

4) Oaked Big Hoppy Monster

I admittedly didn’t have high hopes for what Georgia-based Terrapin Beer Co. described as a red ale. They’ve never done much for me.

But Terrapin cranked out a very nice beer that expertly combined a malty base with a lot of nice hoppy qualities.

5) Ayinger Ur-Weisse

After the big beers, dark beers and beers with unusual ingredients, how about a nice simple wheat beer?

Brewed in Bavaria, Ur-Weisse was simple, yet elegant and well brewed. It offered a lower ABV at 5.8 percent, but it was robust and flavorful.

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