2016 Beer in Review: Best of Maryland
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
It was the year of Sours.
It was the year of Peak Shelf and Peak Draft. If retailers added a six pack or a line, they usually had to take someone else off.
It was the year that good Maryland beers stopped becoming good Maryland beers and became good beers.
It was a year without a bunch of walk-off grand slam home runs from Maryland brewers, but that’s to be expected once you’ve established yourself on the national scene.
It was an arms race of epic proportions—but how will it end?
We’ll get to all that doom, gloom and hope in a day or two. Right now, it’s time to unveil the 2016 Maryland picks.
For my picks, I consulted with bar owners and craft beer retailers who shall remain anonymous. It’s obvious that the people in the business of selling the beer the breweries make don’t want to offend anyone by exclusion. If you want to know their real favorites, you don’t use their real names. You form a SuperPAC instead.
The 2016 Baltimore Beer Baron SuperPAC Best Maryland Beers of 2016:
- Brewer’s Art Tartuffe Groseille-4.4% ABV Kettle sour brewed with red currant.
- Entire Heavy Seas Partnerships Collaborations – Imperial Brown, Rye Wit, Red IPA, Hoppelbock, great beers even if you didn’t love one particular style.
- RAR Nectar Line-Nanticoke, Northeast, Grapefruit, Habanero. Perfectly balanced, even the Habanero.
- RAR Hyde– 6.6% ABV Double dry hopped with copious amounts of Mosaic and Citra hops.
- Manor Hill Barrel Project, Grisette Sauvignon -4.7% ABV Belgian Farmhouse with raspberries.
- Burley Oak Found DIPA-8.2% ABV, bold Mosaic, Amarillo and Simcoes.
- Manor Hill Citra Splendor DIPA-8.3% ABV Fruit Forward Tropical with a big white head, like me and too many other craft beer aficionados 😉
- Union Rye Baby-6.5% ABV RIPA with a spicy profile thanks to Chinook and Simcoe.
- Union Pink Flamingo-5% Sour with Pink Grapefruit & Ginger.
- Evolution Pine’Hop’le-6.8% ABV, boldly brewed with Pineapple juice,
I truly appreciate the SuperPAC’s members anonymous opinions in assisting me to make these selections.
Now it’s time for the readers picks. OK, just one reader: Canton super-palate and local SPBW President Jason Black on his top beers. You see, Jason actually bases his ratings on the Untappd rankings he leaves while he is in the process of drinking the beer, unlike certain beer bloggers who hazily peer back into the year until they remember a particularly good one or ask around to people with better memories. While our SuperPAC rankings are completely unscientific, Black logged hundreds of beers in real time in 2016 with comments. His data is simply better than mine.
Here’s the State According to Jason:
1) Waredaca Baymore (New England IPA) – they nailed the style in terms of taste and aroma, not as hazy as some others.
2) Peabody Heights Mocha Obscuro (Imperial American Stout) – 9.2% ABV prominent area homebrewer David Humes won a contest and Peabody made his beer!
3) Heavy Seas 20 Year Storm in Sagamore Rye Barrels (ESB) – one of several great casks Heavy Seas put together for Baltimore Beer Week.
4) Oliver Pagan Science (Imperial IPA) 8.5% double IPA, battered and dry hopped with Mosaic.
5) RAR Lemon Pulp (APA) -6.2% ABV with almost no citrus added, the flavor is almost exclusively from Lemongrass hops.
6) Black Flag Brunch (Imperial Oatmeal Stout) – 7.9% ABV from a brand new brewery in Columbia, with chocolate and cold Zeke’s coffee.
7) Waredaca Reveille (Stout) – one of my favorite stouts from my favorite new farm brewery.
8) RAR Marylan (Blonde Ale) – 5% My Marylan of course!
9) RAR/3 Stars Doco District (American IPA) 7.8% collaboration.
10) Edgemont C Student IPA (American IPA) – brewed by a home brewing friend who went pro, Garrett Delaney, all ‘C’ hops.
Jason Black’s Top 5 Maryland breweries for 2016:
3) Black Flag
5) Heavy Seas
–S. Fogleman, with a whole lot of help from J. Black and the SuperPAC