The Top Ten Beers of 2014
By Casey Capper
As you know at Denver Beer Co we pride ourselves on offering the highest quality year-round and seasonal brews, as well as a unique and ever changing selection working with seasonal ingredients, ancient recipes, and whatever comes into our brains. Since opening our doors in 2011 we’ve seen hundreds of different ales, lagers, saisons, barrel-aged beers, and everything in between. As we stroll into 2015 I wanted to recap some of my personal favorite brews of 2014 from both our Platte Street brewery and other breweries around the world.
Here is my top 10 for 2014:
10.Naja Imperial Red IPA-Copper Kettle Brewing, Denver
Since trying this brew in its earlier stages of development and recently opening the mature, well-dressed 22oz bomber at home, I have always loved this beer. Earlier in Feb I had a glass at the Copper Kettle taproom and it was even better than I remembered. Bold hop notes of pine and resin match with sweet malt, caramel, and honey on the finish.
9.Smoked Baltic Porter-DBC/Jack’s Abby Collab
Brewed in collaboration with Jack’s Abby for our Annual Collabfest during GABF, I was beyond excited about this brew. Traditional smoke and roasted malts on the nose with a refreshing presence of hops lead to a full bodied, full flavored brew. Chocolate and fig upfront turn into dried cherry and oak before a lingering sweet malty finish. Great cold weather beer, great food beer, GREAT BEER.
8.Dino DNA-Denver Beer Co
One of Austin Wiley’s first brews after joining our team, this grab-bag IPA had a unique grain build, and was generously hopped with Amarillo and Sorachi Ace hops to give a brilliant tropical fruit finish without being overly dry. Sweet malt tones and a fuller body led to balanced hop characters and a lingering finish of white peach and tangerine… An awesome IPA showcasing Austin’s unique approach to the popular style.
7.Sleeping Giant-Kauai Beer Co, HI
As the first high gravity brew from a young brewery, this beer is amazing. Quintessential fruity esters, bitter hops, and warming booze notes on the nose, this 9.2% barleywine hit the spot. Toasted coconut and caramel on the palate with hops punching through towards the long lasting finish. Can’t wait to try more of their unique brews!
6.Platte Summer Ale-Denver Beer Co
There is really no better beer in my mind for sitting outside on a hot summer day in the beer garden than this brew. Light bodied but packed with flavor, subtle grain notes punch through the nose while the drink has a pleasant amount of hop character… just enough to linger onto the next sip. Great for spicy food and playing outside, keep an eye out for this one to return come spring down at Platte St.
5.Eastern Candle-TRVE Brewing, Denver
American Wickedly Amazing Wild Ale – that’s how I think of this beauty. This pale wheat beer rested comfortably inside California chardonnay barrels with brettanomyces that yielded a complex yet approachable angle to a barrel aged beer. The nose has traditional barnyard funk that doesn’t overpower yet marries with stewed pear and viniferous tones from the wine barrel. Beyond easy to drink with grapefruit and tart lemon leading to a clean, acidic finish.
4.1809 Berliner Weisse-Professor Fritz Briem, Germany
Had the great fortune of sharing several of these with Randy Mosher back in January in Chicago on a work trip. Light apricot, honey, and dried fruit on the nose that keeps you sniffing and sniffing because it’s THAT GOOD. The drink is lush with tropical fruit notes, slight twangy tone leading to a effervescent crisp finish. Nerding out with Randy aside, this beer was definitely one for the books.
3.Pineapple Pale Ale-Denver Beer Co
I am not typically a “fruit” beer drinker… BUT… I love Pineapple Pale Ale. Our American style pale ale calls for an unimaginable amount of hand-cut fresh pineapple (sliced by yours truly) that gives it a unique profile. Fresh pineapple with a good amount of Simcoe hops gives a pleasant nose with a subtle malt backbone. The drink is slightly tart from the fresh real pineapples, but with a hoppy finish this brew becomes extremely easy drinking for a 6.7% Pale Ale.
2.Tunnel of Trees-TRVE Brewing, Denver
Hands down my favorite beer..of any year.. Enjoying other offerings when stopping in is always a must, but in the back of my mind I can’t wait to get a glass of Tunnel. For 7.3% it drinks silky smooth with lush citrus hop notes leading to a finish fit for an IPA king.
1.2011 Cognac Barrel-Aged Barleywine-Denver Beer Co
Brewed in 2011, put into spent Cognac barrels for 13 months, then into a glass… this beer tasted amazing. While aging in the keg, it mellowed on the hoppy nose, allowing for more “wine-like” tones of dark fruit and strong caramel. The drink is a beast, full bodied and complex, with a bitter, lingering finish. It was a sad day to kick the last keg of this brew but we will brew it again soon!