May 23, 2018

Beer Break

Beer Break Vol. 2, No. 11
the best beer of 2001?

Dec. 20, 2001

- Readers check in with their choices.

What was the best beer you drank in 2001? Or what were the best three? Or what were the most interesting? There are publications that name a "Beer of the Year." That's not our plan, but we are curious what beers attract the attention of readers, and we think both drinkers and breweries are well served when consumers spend a little time spreading the word.


This will work only with your help. If you don't write us then we won't have much to report on. This is how it works: Send your nomination or nominations to We'd like a little description of the beer, but if you want to include only the name of the beer that is also OK. The beer doesn't have to have been released for the first time 2001. It could be the intriguing new Midas Touch from Dogfish Head, but it might also be the stalwart Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

It also doesn't have to be a "best of show" beer. For instance, the Hallertauer Pils from Victory Brewing Co. in Pennsylvania, is a tasty, unfiltered lager with a straightforward noble hop (only Hallertauer) presence. Refreshing and educational (note to self: seek out more beers that are as Hallertauer influenced).

Here are some ideas to get you started:

The Reverend from Avery Brewing Co. in Boulder, Colo.
This is a quad (like the well known LaTrappe), big and alcoholic (more than 10% abv). It will be interesting to see what one of these will taste like after two or three years in a cellar, but it's not a beer you have to wait on. It's ready to drink, well rounded and already rich with a variety of flavors, when it leaves the brewery.

Anniversary IPA from Stone Brewing Co. in San Marcos, Calif.
Stone recently released this year's Double Bastard Ale, which has a cult following of its own. It's impressive, but not as impressive as the Fifth Anniversary IPA. Is it hoppier or maltier (than past versions)? Yes, and yes. The bottle carries the threat that this is the last of the anniversary IPA's from Stone. That would be a shame.

Ommegang from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, N.Y.
This bottle was more than two years old (Ommegang began shipping beer in 1998), but poured with the same head and pizzazz as one fresh out of the conditioning room. Intense flavors without the Madeira-like flavors that often show up in aged beers. The brewery has aged a small quantity its Hennepin in a cave for about six months each of the last two years. When this year's Cave Hennepin was laid down last February so was a stock of Ommegang -- for release next year. We know where the caverns are ...

Czechvar from the Czech Republic.
It's hardly a secret that this is the same beer known as Budweiser Budvar in much of the world, but called Czechvar in the United States because Anheuser-Busch owns the Budweiser trademark here. This is a wonderful beer to have on the east side of the Atlantic -- with assertive flavors, but a delicate side that made us worry about how it might travel (particularly in green bottles). There may be some skunked bottles out there, but so far the samples we've found have been fresh and delightful.

Bell's Best Brown Ale from Kalamazoo Brewing Co. in Kalamazoo, Mich.
The brewery makes so many stouts, each of them seemingly more intense than the last, and other big beers that it's easy to overlook its "session" products. The Brown isn't exactly small (about 5.75% abv). Brewed for the winter season, plenty of mouthfeel, and sweet undertones that more than hint of caramel.

Tasting notes
Brewed Alaskan Brewing in Alaska

Michael Jackson writes:

An old favorite, about which it is hard to be impartial. I have enjoyed this beer while dog-sledding in Alaska and even with a picnic breakfast on an ice-flow. This vintage seems to have an especially good wood-smoked aroma; gentle but fragrant. The body is surprisingly light, but oily and soothing. The palate is basically dry, but with a balance of sweeter (wood caramel?) flavors. A slightly charred dryness to the finish. Bring on the Alaskan salmon.

Brewed by Rogue Ales in Newport, Ore.

The Celebrator Beer News Blind Tasting Panel writes:

A great, creamy head the color of Santa's beard, and buttery aromas in the nose. Despite heavy malt flavor, hops peek through and linger but never outstay their welcome. Not unlike Santa.

Find whatever in the beer world you are looking for. Enter a search word or phrase, then click GO.