Before you people accuse me of being late, I’ll have you know that I wanted 2016 to finish before telling you what I thought of this year in beer!
2016 saw our blog continue to grow; all 4 writers have been working hard (two within the beer industry, our very own Beth Hughes at Junction and Victoria Rombis at Muskoka #ladiesdrinkbeer) to maintain active and well-honed social presence to bring our own flavour of op-ed content to you wonderful readers. We’ve been a little slow on those lately for various life changes both positive and challenging (Congrats to Matt on the purchase of his first home), but we thank you for sticking around for our unique points of view. Thanks for being great, readers. We still love you.
I had a truly difficult time sticking three new beers from 2016 that stuck out to me. The industry has grown so significantly, even in the short time The Bottomless Pint has been around, that we have hundreds of beers to assess. After some therapeutic drinking, meditation, and existential crises, I have been able to settle on my three favourites from 2016. Pull up a comfy chair and listen to your friend Mike.
Folly Brewpub – Loquacious (Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Quadrupel w/Brett)
Surprise, there’s a Brett beer on this list. Christina Coady and Chris Conway, co-brewers at Folly brewpub, have always caught my eye (and my tastebuds) with their takes on experimental and sometimes wacky Farmhouse beers. This glorious creation, Loquacious, is a take on a Belgian Quadrupel (using a ramped up malt bill from their Bruin, Inkhorn), aged in a Pinot Noir barrel with Brettanomyces Lambicus (a strain similar to that utilized in open-vat fermentation in koelschips in the Senne River valley in Belgium that create Lambic beer such as Cantillon and Drie Fonteinen). This ruby-red beer is massive at 11% ABV, and has tart notes of plum, cherry, leather, and funk that come together to create a blend of Rodenbach and Jacobins vibes that dry out on the palate and change as the beer warms. Absolutely incredible, creative work from Coady and Conway. Well done, Folly. (No longer available)
Rainhard Brewing – Hop Cone Syndrome (IIPA)
Jordan Rainhard created a masterpiece with Hop Cone. There isn’t much to say here, sadly – Rainhard has created the best IIPA in Ontario with this beer, and I have personally thanked Jordan for its creation on several occasions. It is floral, intense, and astringent in the best way. The juicy melon and citrus notes from the Mosaic and Citra hops come together with an absolutely perfectly balanced malt backbone to deliver a hop punch directly to the dome, but never overwhelms. Best drank fresh, obviously. (No longer available, may return seasonally in Spring)
Half Hours On Earth – Yalla Yalla Citra (Tart Farmhouse Ale dry hopped w/Citra)
If you haven’t had anything from HHOE and don’t plan on going to Seaforth, Ontario to get some, you can order their beer online and have it shipped to your door. They specialize in Farmhouse Ales, specifically tart or sour beers, with inspiration coming from Belgian and Trappist ales as well as Lambics. This Yalla Yalla Citra was like lemon juice in a glass, sans bitterness – it was beautifully tart, with notes of lemon and grass in the nose. I also specifically remember it being a beautiful vibrant yellow colour, lending to its citrus quality even further. Watch for big things from HHOE, who already have a collaboration with at least one other Ontario brewery in the books. (Currently available)
Well, with 2016 a wrap… tell us, folks! Did I miss one? Am I way off? Tweet me @beermostly, and stay tuned for our other writers’ lists to come!