It's time once again to raise a glass and celebrate the best local beers of the past year. It was an especially great year for new brews; there were so many introduced. It makes me think that our local breweries have reached critical mass in number and are coming of age in quality. Here are a few of my top "beery" good memories.
Most surprising and memorable find of the year
Chocolate Imperial Porter from Barbara Imperial Doppelbock from Ballistic from Milk Stout from Rush River Brewing Company
This brewery in River Falls offers a full-bodied Scotch ale with lots of alcoholic warmth from 6.7% ABV. Assertive caramel maltiness and deep bronze color take the chill out of a snowy day. It has been available at select Madison taps over the past month, such as at the Old Fashioned.
Spring: Scurvy from Prairie Moon Farmhouse Belgian Style Ale from Altbier from the Great Dane-Downtown
This was one of the best session beers offered in 2009. Solid flavor, but not so heavy or strong that you couldn't enjoy more than one at a "session." Medium bodied, bubbly, malty with a light dryness -- this Alt was a great beer for meals or just relaxing after work.
One That Just Didn't Work for Me Best beer to finish a meal/nightcap A reliable favorite that didn't disappoint in 2009 Best beer of 2009
Old English Porter from
Peruvian Morning from
Tripel Nova from Madison Mallards Duck Blind at Warner Park
It's not a completely new venue for Mallards fans, but the Duck Blind got a makeover for the 2009 season. Mallards games, win or lose, were a big hit with more than two-dozen beers to choose from, a 20% expansion in the reserved beer garden seating, and a one-price ticket for all-you-can-eat-and-drink. General manager Vern Stenman says when the weather is warm, it's not uncommon for baseball fans at Warner Park to tap more than 100 kegs in a game. That's a lot of beer for a park of its size. BTW: The Mallards finished the season with a 38-29 (w-l) record.
Best beer to finish a meal/nightcap A reliable favorite that didn't disappoint in 2009
A reliable favorite that didn't disappoint in 2009
Best beer of 2009