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Surly Abrasive

Photo courtesy of Dan Culver, The Hopfather

A new year often brings reflection on the previous year. Reflecting on my past year of beer I find that my favorite styles were Imperial IPAs and Sour/Wild/Lambic ales. Having been a hop head for some time, Imperial IPAs are a no brainer. Some hops are good, more hops are better and with the right amount of malt to keep them from being too sweet and heavy there’s little that will hold a candle to a well-made Imperial IPA in my mind. Two of my favorites are Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing in Minnesota and Dubhe Imperial Black IPA from Uinta Brewing in Utah.

My newly found love of Sour/Wild/Lambic ales is a bit more of a curious thing though. Of all styles of beer, it’s those that fall into this area that I think are the most difficult to love. One might dislike them from the start to be sure and write them off. On the other hand if there’s a hint of liking and more are tried one may start to acquire a taste for their sour/tart qualities. I know I utterly disliked my first, slowly came around and now am fully enthralled. One of the younger breweries in Oregon, 10 Barrel Brewing, has been turning out some good sours with Jimmy, a raspberry coffee sour, hitting a particularly high note with me. Hailing from further afield, Captain Lawrence Brewing out of New York, makes a delicious, simply named American Sour Ale.

I’m sure that 2013 will bring many more Imperial IPAs and Sour/Wild/Lambic Ales to my glass. Who knows, I might even stumble upon another style that will nudge them out of top running by the end of the year. Cheers to whatever fills your glass!

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