The Best Craft Beer

The Best Craft Beer – August 2017 4 comments



The Best Craft Beer – August 2017

Making this monthly list of the Best Craft Beer I had isn’t always easy. I start by reviewing what I had, then narrow it down from there. Without fail, it seems to become more difficult each month to just list a handful.

August was full of great local and regional craft beer but I also got to try a beer that I’ve wanted for a long time from Vermont.

Here’s this month’s list:


Focal Banger

The Alchemist Focal BangerBrewery: The Alchemist – Stowe, Vermont

Style: New England IPA

ABV: 7%     IBU: 90

Description

American IPA with Citra & Mosaic hops.

Why did it make the list?

Some craft beer isn’t necessarily difficult to get; it’s just not convenient. The Alchemist falls into that category. They sell direct out of their brewery and at places nearby. But if you can’t get there, then you won’t be able to get their beer.

In the past, I’ve had Heady Topper and Crusher; both were exceptional beers. However, I consider Focal Banger to be the best I’ve had from them.

It’s a shame I don’t live closer or have the ability to visit them because I would want to drink this on a regular basis.


Ninja vs Unicorn

Pipeworks Ninja vs UnicornBrewery: Pipeworks Brewing – Chicago, Illinois

Style: Double IPA

ABV: 8%     IBU: 150

Description

Ninja Vs. Unicorn celebrates the epic battle between two of the biggest hop-heads of lore. Brewed with over five pounds of hops per barrel, this unfiltered double IPA is sure to please the most discerning hop lover. Whether you’re rooting for the mythical horned horse or the deadly assassin of the east, we hope you’ll enjoy Ninja Vs. Unicorn.

Why did it make the list?

First off, that can artwork is amazing. You can’t deny that branding is important in craft beer and the team at Pipeworks Brewing does a great job.

When I first began to like IPAs, it was doubles that caught my attention. They big malt bill helped balance out the harsh hops. For me, it was the perfect way to indulge in a big, hoppy beer. This is a beer that reminds me of why I love double IPAs.

Listed at 150 IBUs, it doesn’t shy away from the fact that there are a ton of hops in it but at 8% there is plenty of sweetness and body from the malt to hold it all together. Well done!


Bring The Hops

Listermann Brewing Bring The HopsBrewery: Listermann Brewing – Cincinnati, Ohio

Style: New England IPA

ABV: 6%     IBU: N/A

Description

NE Style IPA with Apollo, Zythos, Galaxy, Citra, and Lemondrop. Smooth Mango and Citrus, lots of Citrus Zest, Tropical Fruit mix flavors.
Turn it up! Bring the noise! This is the next beer in the HipHop series with 10% of the proceeds from this beer will be donated to Elementz Urban Youth Center

Why did it make the list?

I love New England IPAs. I know that some think this trendy style is over done and the “haze” is just a gimmick but I am a fan.

Listermann Brewing has been canning this style since the beginning of the year and this might be the best so far. The citrus aroma, tropic fruit flavor, soft mouthfeel and low bitterness all play perfectly with each other. And the haze fits into all of this and feels like it is part of the process and not something that was forced.

Be on the lookout for this brewery; they’ve been around for a long time but they are nailing this style and are getting some attention.


The Great Eclipse

450 North Brewing The Great EclipseBrewery: 450 North Brewing – Columbus, Indiana

Style: New England IPA

ABV: 8.21%     IBU: 30

Description

Brewed in observance of The Great American Eclipse 2017! DDH with a hefty dosage of 50/50 Citra/Mosaic to create a tropical and citrus wonderland. This is a one time only brew so enjoy it while it lasts!

Why did it make the list?

Yup, another New England IPA. What can I say; this is the list of the Best Craft Beer and I can’t deny that this one belongs here.

I enjoyed this one at the end of the day on Aug 21st – the day of the eclipse. It was the perfect way to celebrate the event. I even wrote a Craft Beer Spotlight about it. Head over there to read all of my thoughts on it.

Bottom line; 450 North Brewing made one of their best beers and paired it with a huge event. You can’t go wrong with that.


Whirligig

UrbanArtifact WhirligigBrewery: Urban Artifact – Cincinnati, Ohio

Style: Fruit Beer – Midwest Fruit Tart Ale

ABV: 8.1%     IBU: 12

Description

Midwest Fruit Tart Ale, made with 6000lbs of Blueberries and 60 grams of vanilla beans.

Why did it make the list?

Craft beer isn’t sitting still; it’s constantly moving forward. A brewery in my area that is helping move beer forward is Urban Artifact. They are still “relatively” new and have exploded this year with a ton of new beers. Many have been what they call Midwest Fruit Tart Ales.

In fact, I have a future article in the making about this style. So subscribe and look out for more information on this style that they are pushing out to more and more people each month.

This month, we got Whirligig which is made with blueberries. And as you read above; they used 6,000 lbs of blueberries. The result is huge flavor. I often find blueberry to be a very subtle flavor but not in this beer. You can smell it, taste it and even see it in the deep color.

The intense fruit flavor is balanced by just enough tartness as well as a heavier body than you would expect out of a fruit beer. Needless to say; this beer and much of their other beers in this series have gotten my attention.


Related Post: Craft Beer Spotlight: The Great Eclipse


Lots of IPAs on the list this month which isn’t too surprising considering the time or year and popularity of New England IPAs. I have no doubt that more New England IPAs will make their way onto my list in future months.

Getting a chance to have Focal Banger and Ninja vs Unicorn was a real treat and I highly recommend tracking both down.

Now that September is here, I look forward to having some seasonal craft beer (pumpkin anyone?) but not sure if any will make my future lists. Guess we will have to wait and see.

What Was Your Best Craft Beer In August?

Comment Below And Let Me Know What Beer I Should Be On The Look Out For


See Last Month’s List Of The Best Craft Beer


 


4 thoughts on “The Best Craft Beer – August 2017

  • James Lewis

    Pretty good list, however I would leave off Urban Artifact from any best beer list. Their beers have a ton of issues and their reputation was pretty bad for the first year and a half for good reason. So to correct the issues they have with making sours, they just started dumping as much fruit as possible in them. I like sours, I know what a good sour is, they don’t make good sours and now they just make alcoholic fruit slushies. I guess the change in direction has worked for them so good for their business. I know I am going to be blasted for this comment by homers, but I honestly don’t understand the praise. To each their own I suppose.

    • Craft Beer Joe Post author

      Thanks for the feedback. I am still developing a taste for traditional sours (Lambic, etc). And I’ve got a few articles in the works about that.

      So my first few experiences at UA were unique but I didn’t really appreciate the style or know enough about it. Their new strategy has caught my attention and I am a fan.

      Based on your comment, their beer strays from what many consider to be sours but the heavily fruited beers are becoming a favorite of mine.

      Any suggestions for traditional sours that I should try?

  • Shane Mattlin

    Cetral Waters -BB barleywine
    Urban Artifact – Faraday Cage (ignore the haters. UA is my favorite brewery in Cincy)
    Listermann – Bring the Hops. Agree this is their best yet
    Perrin – No Rules
    Jackie Os – BB Oro Negro

    • Craft Beer Joe Post author

      Jackie Os makes amazing BB beers. I was a few hours late and missed out on Faraday Cage. Heard it was really good so hopefully they make it again.

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