I have sampled too many great beers for there to be only ten. So it will actually be top 10 with another 10 honourable mentions. I'm sure I have missed a few great releases, but my liver and budget can only handle so much.
1. Belle Royal by Driftwood
Why is this beer on top? While most breweries have been focused on producing hop-bombs and malt monsters, Driftwood released this delicately fruity and spicy Belgian strong ale.
2. 9 Donkeys by Phillips
I know it seem contradictory to berate hop-bombs and give one a second place finish. I don't care. It is my blog and I can do what I want. It also happens to be a great beer; perhaps the best hop bomb yet. In a prior tweet it was compared to Pliny the Elder.
3. Ola Duha 16
An old ale aged in 16year Highland Park Scotch barrels; need I say more. Imagine the flavours in your head and then prepare to have them blown away.
4. Westvleteren 12
It is very hard to say anything bad about the rarest Trappist beer. The rich flavours of plum, candy sugar, peat, leather glove and currants will call to me forever. I still have a bottle in my cellar you know!
5. Sink the Bismark
Thanks Dave. This brew was unbelievably hoppy, yet unbelievably smooth. Imagine a uber-hopped Drambuie.
6. Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz and Kens Ale
This imperial stout is a collaboration between Fritz Maytag and Sierra Nevada. It is everything a good impy should be: thick, rich, roasted yet sweet and chocolaty.
7. Prima Pils (Victory)
I heard good things about this beer, but how good can a pils be? Light lemon meringue, fresh grass, straw, lavender and light green apples were flavours I never expected from this beer.
8. Pot Hole Filler (Howe Sound)
Yet another imperial stout that was right on the money. It was thick and chewy with roasted chocolate, fruit and the right touch of alcohol burn.
All this flavour from a little can. Massive cocoa, bitter sweet chocolate, and citrus hops flavours completely coated your entire gastrointestinal tract.
10. Avery Imperial Oktoberfest
The Kaiser was unrelenting with its tart toffee and bready malts. Unexpected were the earthy and sparkling mouthfeel.
Now for the honourable mentions.
11. Prickly Pear Braggot (Widmer Bros)
The flavours were hard to express. They were syrupy with honey, crazy pears and alcohol warmth.
12. Hoppe Imperial Pale Ale
The sweet, floral and earthy hops dominated every sip, but still let some chewy lemongrass malts slip though.
13. Scullers IPA
A classic example of big West Coast IPA.
14. Jubelale 2010
The nose was massive and vineous. Every sip was a new taste discovery. One minute it was plums and dark fruits; another it was resinous and citrus hops.
15. Old Engine Oil (Harvieston)
Thick like motor oil. The taste was not surprising:molasses, stale coffee and bitter chocolate.
16. Mikkeller Black Hole
A great Russian imperial stout. Thick and chewy, yet sweet with oak, vanilla, coffee and bitter chocolate.
17. Baltika 6 Porter
It was roasted coffee beans with smoked chocolate; yet all these flavours were creamy and highly drinkable.
18. Green Flash Red Ale
All I need to say is three words: dryhopped with Amarillo.
Thanks to Dave for pointing this brew out. A blend of gueuze and Belgian triple; yes, it was that good.
20. Hop Stoopid
102 IBUs of citrus, cotton candy, pine, resinous glory. Who needs malts?
I can hardly wait for 2011!
Top Ten Beers for 2009