Best New Beer of 2020 (that you have had and reviewed)

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Mugman8, Dec 11, 2020.

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  1. Mugman8

    Mugman8 Pundit (758) Sep 30, 2018 New York

    I'll go with Benwood (4.44) from Cigar City and Nordic Swell (4.44) from DuClaw.....

    Benwood -- Love this brewery and love this beer. My favorite so far in their line-up. Has a cloudy ruby grapefruit hew on the pour with a pillowy head and tons of lacing. Taste is complex -- with Motueka, Galaxy, Strata, and Mosaic hops with smooth citrus flavors. Dry, crisp finish and 8% ABV is sneaky strong. One of my favorite beers I have tried this summer....

    Nordic Swell - Found this at Total Wine. Looks great on the pour---cloudy amber, with ample head and tons of lace. Aroma is apples, honey and hops. Taste is complex and every sip brings out different flavors, This brew is exploding with hints of apple, citrus and pine. Made with ancient Norwegian yeast cultures known as 'Kveik'. Also has wildflower, clove, orange blossom honey and chamomile tea. At 9% ABV, its sneaky strong and sticky and gets more boozy as it warms. Haven't had many Imperial IPAs , but this is an outstanding beer....DuClaw hit a home run with this one!
    Magpie60, vurt, ChicagoJ and 8 others like this.
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,169) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Permit me to post about a beer that likely will be quite a contrast from the beers that other BAs will discuss in this thread: Victory Classic Easy Drinkin’ Lager.

    This is a new beer to the Victory portfolio for 2020 and this is how Victory details this beer:


    Easy Drinkin' Lager

    Since Back in the Day

    abv: 4.8%

    ibu: 18

    malt: Pilsner

    hops: Hallertau

    About This Beer:

    Perfectly balanced and exceptionally drinkable, this lager is expertly crafted with specialty hops, malt and yeast to be the standard of refreshment.

    Classic is the definition of drinkable with pilsner malt and Hallertau hops bringing perfect balance to this 4.8% refresher for game day, happy hour, mowing the lawn and everything in between.”

    I first had this beer in April and it was from a crowler:


    I have since April purchased four 15-packs of this beer and it is by far the number 1 brand that I have consumed in 2020.

    I suspect this beer would not be a ‘wow’ beer for many BAs but for me this beer perfectly ‘hits the spot’.


    P.S. I was at my ‘local’ Total Wine & More yesterday shopping for wine with my wife. We did some ‘window shopping’ in the beer section and I picked up a 15-pack of Victory Classic Lager just to see the best by date. Our shopping cart was already pretty much full at that point and my wife exclaimed “No!” as in not making this purchase. Oh well.:slight_frown:
    bret27, adrock314, vurt and 13 others like this.
  3. DIM

    DIM Grand Pooh-Bah (3,772) Sep 28, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    My highest rated new to me beer was Sosus from Toppling Goliath. A magnificent mosaic masterpiece!
  4. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Grand Pooh-Bah (3,600) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Pooh-Bah Trader
    I drank it while cleaning up after the kids were asleep. I ended up deep cleaning the stove. Such a beautiful hit of coffee. Just nailed all that I wanted out of a coffee stout. My new dragon to chase.

    Shout out to North Park brewing in San Diego as well, party cup was another beer that stunned me. I need to order a case. But I don't know if I can afford that level of temptation
    SFACRKnight, vurt, ChicagoJ and 3 others like this.
  5. misteil

    misteil Pooh-Bah (1,603) Feb 21, 2019 Ireland
    Pooh-Bah Society

    going to slightly deviate from theme and say the best new Irish beer i had this year was Lough Gill’s Devil’s Chimney NEIPA, far and away the best Irish IPA i’ve ever had, in any variation of the style. Hell, very few Irish beers that i’ve had can really compete with it, great beer, excellent work from the lads up in Sligo (which is the middle of nowhere for those of you not privy to Irish geography hehe)
  6. bbtkd

    bbtkd Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,304) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Since the OP didn't clarify whether this was new-to-us beers or beers newly released in 2020, I went with the former;
    1. Bourbon County Brand 2019 Reserve Rye Stout (4.73)
    2. Bourbon County Brand 2018 Reserve Stout (4.67)
    3. Brewing Projekt Rhuberry Pie Puff Tart (4.63)
    4. Prairie Pirate Paradise (4.60)
    5. Brewing Projekt Resist - Blood Orange (4.60)
    6. Founders KBS Maple Mackinac Fudge (4.60)
    7. White Elm Lick The Spoon (4.60)
    8. Boulevard Rye On Rye Maple (4.59)

    Junior, dcotom, adrock314 and 4 others like this.
  7. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Mine is going to be Yards Brewing Loyal Lager. Just 2 row and Loral hops and my favorite of the year. New to me beers that are now favorites are Lancaster Milk stout, Manayunk King Krunch and El Segundo Broken Skull IPA
  8. dbl_delta

    dbl_delta Grand Pooh-Bah (3,715) Sep 22, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    New-to-me best beer of 2020 (out of 184 total) (thus far...): Aslin Stellar Parallax. NEIPA clocking in at a relatively modest 8.1%. Dry Hopped with Galaxy, Simcoe, & Mosaic. Damn tasty.
    adrock314 and ChicagoJ like this.
  9. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Grand Pooh-Bah (3,463) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Top 3 beers for me rated/reviewed in 2020 (all at least with my BA score = 4.7 or higher):

    1. Russian River - Pliny for President (review link)
    2. Bottle Logic - Red Eye November (rating so far, grabbed another to review on Christmas)
    3. Firestone Walker - Parabajava (review link)
  10. papposilenus

    papposilenus Grand Pooh-Bah (3,031) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire
    Pooh-Bah Society

    My only new beer in 2020 - i.e., a beer actually brewed for the first time in 2020, if that’s what we’re talking about? - to crack my top 50 was Mega Treat, a ridiculously over-hopped, over-the-top NEIPA from Tree House. I suppose it may have been previously released as one of the Curiosity series but I haven’t been keeping track of those.
    Junior and ChicagoJ like this.
  11. TheGent

    TheGent Grand Pooh-Bah (4,139) Jun 29, 2010 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    adrock314, jakecattleco and ChicagoJ like this.
  12. tone77

    tone77 Grand Pooh-Bah (4,103) May 20, 2009 Pennsylvania

    My top new beer is Nelson from Alpine beer, an excellent example of an AIPA.
    ChicagoJ likes this.
  13. ChicagoJ

    ChicagoJ Grand Pooh-Bah (3,891) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I replied with my Gold, Silver and Bronze rankings for 2020 New Releases with a short summary on each in this thread (link).

    Gold: Keeping Together (Chicago IL) Thoughts Without A Thinker (Saison)

    Silver: Founders
    (Grand Rapids MI) KBS Maple Mackinac Fudge (Barrel Aged Imperial Stout)

    Bronze: Revolution Brewing
    (Chicago IL) & Hop Butcher (Darien IL) collaboration Maintains & Shapes (Lager)

    Nice to see two other Lagers in this thread (@JackHorzempa & @Urk1127 ) and a Wild Ale (@bbtkd ), hope to see a another Saison before all is said and done.

    Cheers to new beers and to the great breweries who develop and brew for us!!!
    misteil, bbtkd, vurt and 2 others like this.
  14. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,210) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Breakside Black Is Beautiful, a blend of 5 different barrel-aged beers. Amazeballs.
    vurt and ChicagoJ like this.
  15. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Grand Pooh-Bah (5,765) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    My highest rated beer in 2020, and actually highest rated beer ever, was 3 Fonteinen Golden Blend.
  16. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Grand Pooh-Bah (3,463) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    An excellent brew for sure! My favorite from FWIBF 2 years ago.
    ChicagoJ and TheGent like this.
  17. cindiwindi1025

    cindiwindi1025 Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2008 Michigan

    Founders Moon Rambler IPA, juicy IPA brewed with milk sugar....I cannot get enough of this stuff, absolutely my favorite beer of 2020
  18. vurt

    vurt Grand Pooh-Bah (3,348) Apr 11, 2004 Oregon
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    The best new beer of 2020 which I actually got off my lazy ass and reviewed is Rauchbier Hell, a collaboration between Heater Allen and Wayfinder.

    "Overview: Heater Allen/Wayfinder Rauchbier Hell is clean, flavorful, balanced, and thoroughly satisfying. The base helles lager is delectable, and the smoke integration is masterful. If you see it, grab it. This beer is magnificent."

    Review: vurt's review of Rauchbier Hell
  19. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Grand Pooh-Bah (3,142) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    What a great beer. My local has it and every week I find myself buying one more.

    So far this year my best new to me beer has been head full of fresh hops. What a symphony of hoppy deliciousness.

    Best beer I reviewed or rated? La cumbre Oktoberfest. Ayinger had been my fave for years but was usurped this year by an unassuming 16oz can from new Mexico.
  20. dcotom

    dcotom Grand Pooh-Bah (5,151) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I'm pretty sure it would've been Zwanze 2020. As it stands, I'll go with Lassos and Lasers, a brett IPA from Confluence Brewing, Des Moines. (4.52/5.)
  21. beaulabauve

    beaulabauve Savant (1,097) Aug 5, 2011 Louisiana

    Destihl Dosvidonya Rye 4.47
  22. TheEpeeist

    TheEpeeist Maven (1,348) Nov 5, 2008 Maryland

    here's my top 3 from 2020.

    Tired Hands MagoTago DDH Xtra Mango
    Hill Farmstead Madness & Civilization #12
    Fremont The Rusty Nail
  23. BeastOfTheNortheast

    BeastOfTheNortheast Initiate (0) Dec 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Free Will’s Wild Blueberry Cobbler Mash. Not even a fan of sours and this beer blew me away. Wish I had grabbed a few more 4 packs especially since it was like $12 for a 4 pack of 16 oz cans.
    ChicagoJ likes this.
  24. defunksta

    defunksta Pooh-Bah (2,608) Jan 18, 2019 Wisconsin
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Based on that description, I am intrigued to try this!
  25. Magpie60

    Magpie60 Initiate (159) Dec 12, 2020 Missouri

    I agree, ! Excellent beer, wasn’t expecting it.
    ChicagoJ likes this.
  26. ChicagoJ

    ChicagoJ Grand Pooh-Bah (3,891) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Correcting The Record

    I performed a more thorough review of beers reviewed and rated in 2020 for a similar Great Lakes Forum thread. While the beers I originally posted were great, I have three beers I rated slightly higher in 2020. I was unaware two of the three were new 2020 releases, and overlooked the Revolution one off keg. I reserve the right to update one last time, in the event I rate a new release higher over the final two weeks of the year.

    Below is my revised list of New 2020 Beers rated in 2020:

    Gold Medal: Mikerphone Brewery (Elk Grove Village, ILL) Barrel Aged (Bourbon) Smells Like Bean Spirit - Hazelnut (4.90 BA Scoring Method - BA Imperial Stout). Had this at the brewery via a bottle pour, also released via a bottle sale which unfortunately I was unaware of and did not purchase. One of the best beers I have ever had, will definitely seek this out in the future. Also memorable as this was my first time in nearly three months after lock downs began to have a beer at a brewery or bar.

    Silver Medal: Revolution Brewery (Chicago, ILL) Lautner's Cuvee (Scotch Ale - 4.82). I had this in early 2020 at the Brewery on what I believe was the last 2019-20 Deep Woods Release. I really hope they consider brewing this one off again. (Not Distributed - I believe one single Keg offering).

    Bronze Medal: Central Waters Brewery (Amherst, WI) Pecan Kringle Reserve Stout (BA Imperial Stout 4.76). Unfortunately I wasn't able to make my annual trek to this brewery due to COVID. Their brewery remains closed to the public except for to go sales and outdoor seating. They have a lot of bugs up there to contend with on their outdoor patio, and New Glarus is completely closed to the public, so I unfortunately did not drive up to Wisconsin to hit my favorite three (Three Sheeps the other Big Three Brewery).

    This beer was thankfully distributed to Chicago, and both the beer and Kringle are two things I am very much looking forward to having in the future. Well balanced "pastry stout", the adjuncts enhance the experience. This brewery produces excellent stouts, the typically thin body is fine because all other components (appearance, aroma and taste) are typically among the best in class.

    While I don't believe either of these beers were new in 2020, I also cosign the greatness of @beaulabauve 's Destihl Dosvidonya Rye, which I had the pleasure having for the first time in Wisconsin attending a hockey tournament my nephew's team was competing in January 2020. I also loved @tone77 's Alpine Nelson, tried by me for the first time in Pacific Beach, CA this February.
    Mugman8, jakecattleco and tone77 like this.
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