The Best Craft Beer

The Best Craft Beer – December 2017

If you couldn’t tell by my other articles this month, I love December and Christmas. So I couldn’t help but have some great craft beer to celebrate throughout the month. That means making my list of the Best Craft Beer was even more difficult than normal.

But have no worries, I narrowed my long list down to a handful of excellent craft beers. And not all of them are stouts or Christmas Ales either.

Here’s the Best Craft Beer I had last month:


Stone Brewing XocovezaBrewery: Stone Brewing – Escondido, CA

Style: Imperial Milk Stout

ABV: 8.1%      IBU: 50


Stone Xocoveza is an insanely delicious take on Mexican hot chocolate brewed with cocoa, coffee, pasilla peppers, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. This imperial stout is layered with smooth roastiness, semisweet chocolate and a touch of spice.

Why it made the list?

It’s delicious.

There’s not a ton to say about this one that wasn’t already voiced in my Craft Beer Spotlight on it.

This stout is inspired by Mexican hot chocolate and blends sweet, rich flavors with a touch of heat. But don’t be afraid; the heat in this one is very subtle and doesn’t build.

Instead, you get a great stout that has layers of different flavors throughout. There’s chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg.

It’s a real winter treat that I highly recommend.

Check Out My Craft Beer Spotlight On Stone Brewing Xocoveza

Magic Juice Kings

18th Street Brewery Magic Juice KingsBrewery: 18th Street Brewery – Hammond/Gary, IN

Style: Double IPA

ABV: 8.5%      IBU: n/a


DIPA collab with Tampa Bay Brewing Co. *This is not a hazy beer.

Why it made the list?

In a world that’s infatuated with hazy New England IPAs, I still want a big, strong Double IPA and that’s exactly what this is.

And I find it is amazing that they had to let people know in the description that it isn’t a “hazy beer”. Just goes to show you how much people love hazy beers right now.

This Double IPA brings a huge punch of juicy, piney and bitter hop aroma and flavor. It is strong from start to finish as well.

I appreciated the use of pine and fruit forward flavors to be a bridge between what is found in West Coast and East Coast IPAs respectively. Furthermore, it carried the 8.5% ABV really well. You could tell it was there but it didn’t interfere with any of the flavors.

Ten Fidy

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy ReviewBrewery: Oskar Blues – Longmont, CO

Style: Imperial Stout 

ABV: 10.5%      IBU: 65


This titanic, immensely viscous stout is loaded with inimitable flavors of chocolate-covered caramel and coffee and hide a hefty 65 IBUs underneath the smooth blanket of malt. Ten FIDY (10.5% ABV) is made with enormous amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. Ten FIDY is the ultimate celebration of dark malts and boundary-stretching beer.

Why it made the list?

Stouts have always been one of my favorite styles.

The darker and heavier, the better they are. And Ten Fidy delivers in a big way.

It’s one of the best Imperial Stouts that I’ve had that didn’t spend some time in a barrel. It’s rich, smooth and pairs perfectly with a cold December night.

I’ve got more thoughts over on my Craft Beer Spotlight but the bottom line is everyone should check out Ten Fidy whenever they get the chance.

Check Out My Craft Beer Spotlight On Oskar Blues Ten Fidy


Canadian Breakfast StoutBrewery: Founders Brewing – Grand Rapids, MI

Style: Barrel-Aged Stout

ABV: 11.7%      IBU: N/A


Canadian Breakfast Stout is an Imperial Stout brewed with a blend of coffees and imported chocolates, then aged in spent bourbon barrels that have most recently been aging pure Michigan maple syrup.

Why it made the list?

This was easily the most anticipated release from Founders Brewing in 2017.

This legendary beer was last made available 6 years ago and since then people have been craving it.

I wasn’t into craft beer when it was first released so I was excited to know that it was coming back.

If you follow my Instagram, you know that my Dad opened this during one of our many Christmas parties. It was a treat and a perfect beer to share with family.

I will say, I don’t think I’d ever want to drink an entire bottle by myself but the 8oz that I had was perfect.

The aroma was coffee and maple sweetness. The body is full and heavy. The taste provides a lot of sweet stout with a hint of maple. It finishes with the barrel-aged bourbon flavor and a little dryness.

Some complain that there wasn’t enough maple but that is a flavor that is hard to get into a beer, in my experience. And the maple was added through maple syrup bourbon barrels.

All in all, this beer lived up the hype and I hope Founders decides to release it more often than every 6 years.

Drummer Boy

Fretboard Brewing Drummer BoyBrewery: Fretboard Brewing – Cincinnati, OH

Style: Winter Warmer / Christmas Ale

ABV: 8.5%      IBU: 28


Imperial red ale with local honey and seasonal spices.

Why it made the list?

Some may accuse me of being too much of a fan for local craft beer. But if that’s the worse people call me then I’m doing pretty well.

So it should come as no surprise that I put local craft beer on my Best Craft Beer list on a regular basis. This month, it’s from a brand new brewery called Fretboard Brewing.

Being a new brewery, I didn’t expect a seasonal beer to make it onto their tap list so fast but I am sure glad that they made it happen.

Drummer Boy is everything that I look for in a Christmas Ale. It’s smooth, malty, sweet and has all the classic spices. And they didn’t shy away from the ABV on it either.

And I’m not the only one liking this as the Untappd score is around a 4/5. The only downside is that you can only find it at the brewery and a few other spots around town. Thank goodness for growlers!

Learn More About Craft Beer: Christmas Ales You Need To Try

2017 is officially over and it’s been a good one overall.

I’ve tried a lot of new craft beers and many have made my monthly Best Craft Beer lists. To help wrap up the year, I’ll come up with a Best Craft Beer Of 2017 list.

Keep an eye out as I’ll be posting it the second week of January. Consider subscribing to ensure you don’t mess it.

Hopefully the year has ended well for you. And I hope that craft beer helped you connect with more people this year.

What Was Your Best Craft Beer In December?

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


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