After a tough year a little celebration is warranted. What better way to celebrate than with a crafty beer?
Do you always reach for the same can or bottle when selecting a beer? Is it time to branch out? Maybe you do not see yourself as a beer drinker at all. We are here to help with that by highlighting a few, exceptional craft beers on the market. Each beer listed was already featured as our “Drink of the Week” on the show.
A Little Intro for Anybody New to Beer
A beer is a beer right? Not a chance! For those who are a little on the beer illiterate side, let’s get a few delineations out of the way. Beer is subdivided into a host of categories. Some of the most popular being Stout, Lager, Pilsner, American Pale Ale, India Pale Ale (IPA), Double IPA (DIPA), American Brown Ale, Wheat, Porter, Amber Ale… the list can go on and on.
With craft beer gaining such momentum, variations continue to be added as breweries push for broader flavor profiles. Beer’s Alcohol by Volume (ABV) usually sits between 3.0 and 13.0 percent. The average beer’s ABV is usually around four to seven percent alcohol by volume.
We have compiled a few varieties worth giving a try. Here is a sampling of 2021’s top rated craft beers to broaden your palate.
Crucial Mass by Counterweight Brewing Company
Counterweight is one of the most consistent breweries around. Crucial Mass is a New England IPA created from Counterweight Brewing Company out of Connecticut. This DIPA New England style brew has a blend of American and Southern Hemisphere Hops. With an ABV of eight percent it’s a bit on the stronger side. The Counterweight special is known for its big, bold tropical fruit flavors.
Grapefruit, passionfruit and ripened mango are blended with a mild malt backnote to balance it out. With a higher alcohol content and sweet flavor this might be a good way to introduce beer to the “I don’t like beer because it’s bitter” kind of person.
Lunch IPA by Maine Brewing Company
Lunch IPA hit the market in 1982. The Maine Brewing Company out of Freeport, Maine, named the American IPA after a whale named lunch with a sizable chunk that was bitten off her fin. Paying homage to her determination, uniqueness and persistence this brew touts lemon, orange, grapefruit notes along with the tropical flavors of guava and papaya and with subtle malt backbone and hints of herbal and pine undertones. With 7 percent ABV this is one of the most sought after American Beers.
Rise by Whalers Brewing Company
This flagship American Pale Ale is brewed by the Whalers Brewing Company out of South Kingstown, Rhode Island. It has a smooth body and a creamy head, with a subtle dry hop spice and bright citrus aroma. This popular brew with an ABV of 5.5 percent, it is on the lower end of alcohol for the purpose of our list. It is available year round. Rise is the well rounded pale ale on our list.
And for when the weather turns, and summer days end as the inevitably do; we offer two bolder options to try when days turn cool
Trösten by Von Trappe Brewing
If you haven’t guessed so far, we’re from New England. Specifically, in Connecticut, which means of course we are going to showcase plenty of CT beers. But Von Trappe Brewery had to make this list. Von Trappe’s Trösten is a Rauchbier Lager. This German style smoked malt lager is brewed in Stowe, Vermont, and literally translates to “comforting”.
Noted for its deep rich smoked malt flavor with hints of chestnuts and toast this lager has an ABV of 6 percent. Despite its deep flavor profiles, this dark lager is surprisingly smooth and light. On a side, note we couldn’t find a picture of this one!
Imperial Choconut by Firefly Hollow Brewing Co.
Another Connecticut brewing company, the Firefly Brewing Company began brewing their diverse selection of ales and lagers in 2013. The Imperial Choconut Porter is a seasonal offering with a 7.9 percent ABV. It has a medium light body with a deep caramel color and chocolatey and smokey notes. The rich notes definitely make this a beer to try.
We truly are in a Golden Age of craft brewing. Having been only accessible locally in the past, these amazing craft beers are making their way into the mainstream and you can find most of them in any package store. Whatever your reason for branching out, try something new this year.
Each one of these brews offer a different and unique experience: from light and fruity with complex undertones to bold bodied and smooth. It’s safe to say we drank all five choices on our podcast so far. Each of these five were featured as our “Drink of the Week” in five different episodes. None of which left us disappointed as we tried them for the first time.
Happy sampling and drink responsibly. Cheers