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Barley Pops of the Year
After too many pints and bottles and cans to count, I pick my favorites of 2013.

It’s entertaining (and a little daunting) to look back at the beers that were new to me over the course of 2013. After looking at the list it’s pretty obvious that I prefer hoppy brews, but a few styles other than IPAs did make the list. Regardless, it was a pretty good year for tasting, and a growing craft beer industry likely means it will get better.

18th Street Sinister IIPA

Sinister has a fair share of bitterness, but the flavor doesn’t end there. A moderate sweetness helps balance this beauty out.

Black Husky Sparkly Eyes IIPA

This amber-hued brew Pembine, Wisconsin somehow melds potent spruce, citrusy hops, a fair amount of bitterness and sweet malt. The mix of flavor works perfectly.

Brew Dog Hardcore IIPA

The only non-domestic craft brew on the list. Big malt and big hops combine to make this Scottish import one tasty IIPA.

Coronado 17th Anniversary IIPA

I stumbled across this during a recent trip to Los Angeles. It mixes a big citrus flavor with mild bitterness and a sweet caramel malt finish. It was the standout on a West Coast visit that had plenty of beer highlights.

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA

The combination of Mosaic and Citra hops is a delicious one and creates a brew that’s big on citrus and fruit flavor. This might be my favorite IPA of the year, and it’s only $7 for a 22-ounce bottle--an absolute steal.

Goose Island Bourbon County Series Proprietor’s and Backyard Rye

I thought I’d group these two despite them being completely different. I actually liked the dark chocolate berryness (is that a word?) of the Backyard a little better than the subtle coconut of the boozy Proprietor’s, but I’m banking that the Proprietor’s I have stored away may age better. These two might be the best beers I tried in 2013.

Lakefront 25th Anniversary Imperial Pumpkin

I’ve always liked Lakefront’s Pumpkin Lager, but the 25th anniversary edition took it up a notch. Brandy barrel aging adds a booziness and warmth that is absolutely perfect for a fall seasonal.

Lone Pint Yellow Rose APA

The small Texas brewery nails it with this single malt, single hop APA that oozes with fruity Mosaic hops. Big, juicy fruit flavor hides the 6.8 percent ABV.

New Glarus Strawberry Rhubarb

I have to admit that I was skeptical about this one, but I should have trusted the geniuses at New Glarus. (I won't doubt them again). The fruit flavor is pronounced but not overwhelming, which results in a refreshing brew.

Surly Furious IPA

Another malty IPA, but this one isn’t bashful with the hops. Nice balanced bitterness made me wonder why I waited so long to try this gem from Minnesota.

Quick Taps

District 14 Brewery and Pub in Bay View looks like it will be in full swing early in 2014. I’m looking forward to that.

Beer Pulse posted this hilarious blurb last week. The response letter by Exit 6 Brewery is priceless.


Events Brewing

Tuesday, Dec. 31: It’s New Year’s Eve, head to your favorite craft beer hotspot. Before you go there stop at Romans’ Pub (3475 Kinnickinnic Ave.) for a tapping of the extremely rare Bourbon County Cherry Rye Stout along with a 2011 New Belgium Cocoa Mole from 6 to 10 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 4: Taste “new arrivals” at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) from 1 to 4 p.m.

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