As we move into the final chapter of a delicious year in beer delivery, let’s look back at the beer geeks’ favorites from independent craft breweries. Here are the Top 20 highest member-rated brews on Tavour.
20. WeldWerks Brewing – Juicy Bits IPA. Rated 4.30. The key to making Juicy Bits so unique comes from the brewery’s dialed-in process of adjusting the water chemistry, resulting in a pillowy-soft mouthfeel. High protein malts also lend a hand, and by leaving some sugars in the brew instead of allowing them to turn into booze, the brewers amp up the citrus character even more. The final result is an intensely hopped beer reminiscent of fresh-pressed juice — hence the name, Juicy Bits.
19. Varietal Brewing x Skookum Brewery – Sovereign of Nockmaar BA Barleywine. Rated 4.32. Skookum and Varietal procured rare, award-winning Willet Rye and Bourbon Barrels and kept a meticulous eye on the beer as it aged for over 10 months. One sip of today’s 13.8% ABV mammoth, and you’ll agree that the brewers spent their time and resources well. The breweries have earned high praise around the community for Sovereign’s silky notes of spiced vanilla caramel and whiskey-kissed toffee.
18. Cycle Brewing – Rare Dos 1 Barrel Aged Stout – Rated 4.32. Barrel-Aged Stout connoisseurs will tell you, Angel’s Envy barrels are extremely difficult to get ever since the distillery was bought out. Leave it to Doug at Cycle to not only get his hands on Angel’s Envy barrels but to also master aging with them. He aged Rare DOS 1 for a full year in these sought-after whiskey barrels, bringing out notes of oaky vanilla fudge that swirl around chocolatey flavors of devil’s food cake. It makes today’s whiskey-spiked wonder taste like a spoonful of ice cream cake.
17. White Elm Brewing – BBA Champurrado BA Stout – Rated 4.33. It wasn’t even shocking to see this 13% ABV Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout with creamy vanilla, a soft kick of Guajillo chilies, a tingle of cinnamon, and bittersweet raw cocoa nibs sell out in minutes.
16. Untitled Art Brewing x Eighth State Brewing – Macadamia White Chocolate Stout – Rated 4.34. In addition to the tremendous 15% ABV, the brewery packed it with lactose and real Macadamia nuts for decadently creamy, cookie-inspired flavors. And, with so much malty mocha swirling in between, you may be tempted to keep each silky, pastry-laden sip all to yourself.
15. Casey Brewing & Blending – Funky Blender Preserves: Nectarine Sour Ale – Rated 4.35. Fermented in oak and flavored with 2 lbs per gallon of organic, locally grown nectarines, this brew is basically a bottle of homemade nectarine jam. Take a sip, and the slightly sour base beer is completely wrapped in layers of sweet-tart stone fruit flavor. It’s like plucking a fresh nectarine straight off the tree and taking a big, juicy bite.
14. Parish Brewing x Great Notion Brewery – Blueberry Mochi Berliner Weisse – Rated 4.36. The brewers stuffed this juicy Berliner Weisse with 28 pounds of blueberries and seven pounds of lactose per barrel, along with copious amounts of Madagascar vanilla and toasted rice. The result is a pastry beer so good, it rivals those Japanese sticky rice confections.
13. River North Brewery – Barrel Aged Double Avarice (2020) Stout – Rated 4.38. Dive into the boozy-cherry, silky-dark-chocolate, and roasted-espresso flavors brimming from this 2020 Vintage. You’ll taste the oaky, woody, whiskey-soaked depths that come from aging for 6 months in Bourbon Barrels.
12. Prairie Artisan Ales – Weekend Imperial Stout – Rated 4.42. Dark beer geeks jump at any opportunity to get their hands on Prairie’s praise-worthy brews — like Weekend Stout! The Oklahoma crew brews this decadent beast with coconut, cacao nibs, and heaps of marshmallows. Totally smooth, with a subdued roastiness to balance out the richness, you’ll be tasting fudgy marshmallow brownies in every sip! Its fluffy, fudgy goodness.
11. Westbrook Brewing – Gates of S’mordor (Booker’s Bourbon Barrel Aged) (2020) Stout – Rated 4.43. This campfire treat has all the chewy, gooey, marshmallow flavor squished between the melted Ghirardelli’s dark chocolate and honey-kissed graham crackers of the original. Only this time, the top-rated brewery in South Carolina amped it up with oaky vanilla-caramel character evoked from Booker’s Bourbon Barrels.
10. 903 Brewers – Hurricane Slushy Fruited Sour – Rated 4.46. The creative Texans crafted this tropical passionfruit, zesty orange, and tangy lime treat to rival any Hurricane at a cocktail bar. This Hurricane Slushy is lush with flavors, but it differs from the cocktail because you can actually slam it, chug it, sip it — indulge however you’d like without waking up the next morning with a pounding headache. Its crushable ABV is only 6.1%.
9. Adroit Theory Brewing – Demons Surround Me Russian Imperial Stout – Rated 4.47. At 18% ABV, this Stout is huge! And, not just its thunderous ABV. Demons Surround Me pours an enormously thick, almost-black mahogany. Each mouthful coats the palate in a blowout of dark chocolate, bold molasses, and deeper layers of nuttiness. It doesn’t drip with decadence — it overflows with it. For all its complexity, this RIS is monstrously smooth, too. Touches of medium bitterness keep it from being boozy beer syrup, and instead, gives way to a plush evening sipper.
8. Mikkeller Brewing – Beer Geek Vanilla Shake Barrel-Aged Bourbon Stout. Rated 4.47. If you’ve been lucky enough to taste the original Beer Geek Vanilla Shake Imperial Stout, you already know how indulgent its coffee and vanilla-brewed depths are. But, man oh man, did Mikkeller propel the velvety sipper into deeper complexity with this rendition. It napped in Bourbon Barrels for 8 months.
Amped-up with oak and whiskey spice, this version is boozier and more layered than its predecessor. Roasty, dark chocolate and silky vanilla greet the palate upfront, fading seamlessly into smoldering espresso and caramel. A dose of lactose keeps the brew from succumbing fully to the roastiness, and that 13.4% ABV sips down almost too smoothly.
7. Jester King Brewing – Das Uberkind! Blend #6 Saison – Rated 4.49. If you’re one of those people who enjoy learning about beer styles through tasting, this deliciously complex Farmhouse Ale is a textbook for your tongue. To make it, Jester King fermented in stainless and racked to neutral oak for 8-14 months before blending and bottling. The result is an oaky vanilla, Granny Smith apple, lemonade-like flavor with very subtle nuances of funk.
6. Dewey Brewing – Secret Machine Double Raspberry Double Blackberry Fruited Sour – Rated 4.49. Fans who’ve tasted this brew describe it as either straight-up raspberry jam or mouth-watering fruit juice. Frankly, both of them could be right! The brewers craft this sweet-tart treat with so many real raspberries and blackberries, it’s fruitier than your grandma’s homemade preserves! And, with an addition of creamy lactose, it’s so thick and smooth, you’ll think someone switched out your beer for a freshly blended fruit smoothie.
5. The Brewing Projekt – Puff Tart XL Raspberry Rhubarb Guava Fruited Sour – Rated 4.50. The brewers cut tangy flavors of berry and tart rhubarb with sticky sweet marshmallow. It will immediately make you forget about your favorite fruit pie! The Brewing Projekt is crafting innovative flavor combos far beyond the average bakery, and you won’t likely find these jammy vanilla flavors all together in any store-bought pies.
4. Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen – Oude Geuze (season 18|19) Blend No. 62 Lambic – Rated 4.58. This is one of the most refreshing reflections of 3 Fonteinen’s Sours. The brewers blend this Oude Geuze with Lambics from 8 different barrels, originating from 6 different brews. 3F made it with young and three-year-old Lambics only. And, it tastes like a funky, homemade Granny Smith galette, whipped up fresh from the goat farm.
3. Drekker Brewing – Braaaaaaaains Blueberry & Raspberry Fruited Sour – Rated 4.64. The Drekker brewers outdid themselves with this ‘double fruit’ Smoothie Sour, packing it to the brim with sweet blueberries and tangy raspberries. Generous doses of creamy lactose and smooth vanilla help the brew flow evenly across the tongue, while a delightful sprinkle of sea salt coaxes out the full jamminess of the berries. And, it’s so thick, it could pass for a Jamba Juice.
2. Evil Twin Brewing x The Veil Brewing – Luxurious Luxury Volume 3 Fruited Gose – Rated 4.76. Together, these two brewing stars imbued this Smoothie Sour with a yacht-load of rich, tropical passionfruit, tangy blackberry, luscious marshmallow, and decadent white truffle salt. If there were such a thing as a Michelin starred smoothie bar, this is what their fanciest drink would taste like. The can might as well be coated in gold leaf and delivered by limousine.
Fans are calling it “the best beer I’ve had all year,” and “just incredible.” Take a sip, and puckering tartness hits first before waves of lavish fruity flavor flood the palate. On the finish, a touch of salinity and just a hint of truffle earthiness bathe the taste buds in shimmering complexity.
1. Anchorage Brewing – Blessed Imperial Stout – Rated 4.80: To craft the anticipated sipper, Anchorage started with 1- and 3-year-old Stouts aged in Woodford Reserve Double Oaked and Willett Bourbon Barrels. Then, they added toasted and raw coconut and Madagascar vanilla beans, and blended everything together in Missouri Oak Foeders.
The results are beyond decadent. Blessed pours as thick as chocolate syrup and gushes with aromas of fresh fudge drizzled in bourbon caramel sauce. Each sip is like indulging in a fluffy slice of German chocolate cake, topped with coconut whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon! And, at 14% ABV, it’ll wrap you in a warm hug from start to finish!
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