The Best Craft Beer

The Best Craft Beer – February 2017 12 comments


Every month, I review my Untappd check-ins and compile a short list of the best craft beer that I drank. After you read this month’s list, comment with your favorite beers and then check out last month’s list.

The goal is to give you:

  • Ideas of beers that you should try – we all love beer recommendations!
  • More information about the beer that my tweet or Instagram post didn’t say
  • Some additional thoughts on why it was one of the best of the month

 

The Best Craft Beer – February 2017

February was a standout month for me; I got to try a handful of New England IPAs during the Super Bowl, I traveled to Miami on a business trip, and my local craft beer scene continued to provide great options for me to try.

Here is the best craft beer I had in February 2017:


Frootwood

Brewery: Founders Brewing Co. – Grand Rapids, Michigan

Style: Barrel Aged Fruit Beer

ABV: 8.0%  IBU: N/A

Description

Founders took a crisp, light-bodied cherry ale and hid it away in oak barrels that have held both bourbon and maple syrup. After a lengthy stint, it emerged a changed beer, blanketed in notes of warm vanilla and earthy sweetness. The wood proves itself the star of this beer, adding depth and taming the tart cherry while the maple imposes a velvety texture that lingers for not a moment too long.

Why did it make the list?

Founders FrootwoodThere is always that craft beer that comes along that is polarizing. Half of the posts about this beer say it tastes like cough syrup while the other half praise it as having a balanced sweet, tart, cherry and bourbon flavor. So I knew I had to try it for myself.

Read my full review of Founders Brewing Frootwood.

My best comparison is a Manhattan. If you have never had a Manhattan, it is made with bourbon or rye whiskey and often has cherries in it. Here’s a basic Manhattan recipe if you want to try it. It is one of my favorite cocktails and this beer tasted just like one to me.

The maple bourbon barrel added both sweetness and a noticeable bourbon characteristic. This was on top of a slightly tart cheery ale. It is as advertised so if you enjoy cherry then you will really enjoy this one.


Last Buffalo In The Park 

Brewery: Funky Buddha Brewery – Oakland Park, Florida

Style: Barrel Aged Imperial Porter

ABV: 11.5%  IBU: 40

Description

This Imperial version of our Last Snow porter is a rich, thick, decadent treat. Pitch black and viscous, it’s made with coconut and fresh roasted coffee. We then age it in Bourbon barrels for months to accentuate the vanilla and coconut notes. Originally brewed in collaboration with our friends at Park Tavern in Delray Beach.

Why did it make the list?

Funky Buddha

Image courtesy of Funky Buddha

Late in 2016, I got the opportunity to try Last Snow when a friend brought it to a bottle share. I have had a good amount of coconut beers and Last Snow was by far the best. So when I had the chance to try the Imperial Barrel Aged version, I didn’t hesitate. I wrote about it in this post about Miami.

This beer did something that most fail to do; it preserved what was amazing about the base beer. Lots of barrel aged beers are delicious but they become something totally different than that the original beer. This one didn’t. It maintained the bold, smooth coconut aroma and flavor. The coffee still balanced it out. Then the barrel flavors were layered on top of all of that. Everything stood on it’s own and created a deep, rich drinking experience.


Third  Anniversary Imperial IPA

Brewery: Other Half – Brooklyn, New York

Style: Imperial IPA

ABV: 10.0% IBU: N/A

Description

Third Anniversary Imperial IPA is brewed with Mosaic, Vic Secret, Wai-iti, Citra, Motueka and Galaxy. It’s was then dry hopped three times. First with Citra, Motueka and Simcoe hops. Then with some Citra Lupulin Powder and Motueka. Finally, even more Citra Lupulin Powder and Galaxy hops.

Why did it make the list?

Other HalfI fall victim of hype all the time. Everyone starts raving about a beer and I just have to have it. Then I finally get a chance to try it and I am disappointed. Even if it’s a great beer, it just doesn’t live up to the expectation.

Other Half is one of those breweries that I hear about all the time but I hadn’t gotten a chance to try their beer yet. That changed on Super Bowl Sunday. A friend brought over a handful of east coast IPAs. So after drinking beers from Treehouse, we opened up Third Anniversary by Other Half and I think it made me forget about all of the great IPAs that I had already had that day.

Take time to read the description of this beer again. It is hopped, hopped, hopped and then hopped some more. So yes, it has very bold but the high ABV and malt made it more drinkable than I would have thought. The hops were not bitter either due to the drop hopping. It was very memorable and I look forward to trying more from Other Half.


DFPF 2017

Brewery: J. Wakefield Brewing – Miami, Florida

Style: Berliner Weisse

ABV: 7.0%  IBU: 4

Description

Batch 2017 of our world famous Dragon Fruit Passion Fruit Florida Weisse. Rated #1 Belriner Weisse in the World by Ratebeer.com and takes the #2 spot in the World by BeerAdvocate.com.

Why did it make the list?

J. Wakefield Brewing

Image from the J. Wakefield Instagram Account

Did you read my post about Craft Beer In Miami? If not, go take a quick read about a great trip I made to Miami last month. While there, I went to J. Wakefield Brewing in the Wynwood Arts District. I had quite a few great beers there and this is one of them. As stated above, this is an award winning craft beer so I knew I was in for a treat.

DFPF stands for Dragon Fruit & Passion Fruit and that is exactly what you get. While there are almost no IBUs, it is quite tart. The tartness and sweetness play off of each other perfectly. The fruit sweetness is the first thing you taste then the tartness hits. And much like bitterness in an IPA, the tartness makes your mouth water for more. The color of this craft beer is amazing; shades of red and almost purple make it stand out from across the room. It is a limited annual release so don’t pass on it if you get the chance to try it.


J-Boy

Brewery: Brink Brewing – Cincinnati, Ohio

Style: American IPA

ABV: 6.2% IBU: 60

Description

Of the four owners, the McG’s are definitely the hop heads, so they had to take claim to the IPA. Featuring a citrusy burst of Azacca & Equinox hopes, plus flaked oats add body and a rich mouthfeel with just enough bitterness to balance it all out.

Why did it make the list?

Brink BrewingI am a local craft beer fan; I can’t hide or deny it. You probably saw my two recent posts about Brink Brewing; Grand Opening and The Neighborhood Brewery. Based on those posts, you can tell I am a fan of their brewery and beer. So I couldn’t talk about my favorite beer from February without mentioning them.

J-Boy is one of two IPAs they had at their opening. I had a very hard time picking which one to highlight because they are both excellent. I chose this one because it is so far from what most breweries do as their initial IPA. It isn’t just a basic craft beer IPA; instead they decided to create a beer that would be able to stand up to any other IPA on the market right now. Azacca is a relatively new hop variation so that alone makes it relevant. Then they created a heavier mouthfeel with flaked oats which is something that many look for in a modern IPA.

I have no doubt that this is just the beginning of the great IPAs that they will make and am thoroughly impressed with how they started. And it is worth noting that they sold so much during their grand opening, that they had to close for a few weeks to recover. They re-open Friday March 3rd.


What were your favorite craft beers of February?

Comment below, tweet at me, email me, or whatever you find easiest to tell me about your Best Craft Beers from February.

Give me a recommendation and maybe it will make my list of The Best Craft Beer in the future.

 


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12 thoughts on “The Best Craft Beer – February 2017

  • raginghop

    I really love this idea man. I wish I had thought of it hahaha Top 5 beers for me this month would be Trillium Cutting Tiles, Woodburn Breakfast Porter, Listermann Gravitator Bock, Epic Big Bad Baptist, and Short’s Critterless.

    • Craft Beer Joe Post author

      It’s a fun activity and helps me appreciate all of the amazing beer that I get my hands on. You’ve got quite a list there. Reminds me I need to get to Listermann their bock is my local favorite!

    • Craft Beer Joe Post author

      This was the only beer I have had from them and I was impressed. Hopefully some more find their way to me in the future. Or even better would be for me to get to visit their brewery.

  • Jamie Baker

    Damn man you’ve drunk some crackers this month! My favourite of February was probably the Birthday DIPA by Cloudwater…. that was amazing!

    • Craft Beer Joe Post author

      I keep hearing great things about Cloudwater – such a great name for a brewery making hazy IPAs!

  • tylerhoppydudes

    J. Wakefield Brewing lookssss soo amazing! That courtyard is perfect.

    Never heard of last buffalo in the park but I don’t get much funky buddha in NJ. I do have a Last Snow stored away though, gonna have to open that soon

    • Craft Beer Joe Post author

      Last Snow is really good so you will enjoy it. They are huge in South Florida and lots of people trade their beer because it is so well known. Hopefully I can try more in the future or even better would be that they start distributing into Ohio

    • Craft Beer Joe Post author

      I appreciate that. It’s a lot of fun to look back and realize what Amazing beer I got to try. I definitely plan to keep it up.

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