When you spend a whole year thinking about and drinking beer it’s only natural to walk away with some lukewarm takes—"lukewarm" as in hazebois aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. That’s why here at October we spent weeks pouring over every single beer our team of writers and reviewers drank this year to bring you the top trends and styles of 2018. With that, came many, many exemplary examples of those trends, from a hazy IPA inspired by a rock icon to a pie-flavored treat from one of the leading sour beer experts. There’s no better way to say it, these beers are the best.
Best of the Best: Westbrook’s Key Lime Pie Gose
“Frankly, it’s just a delight to drink,” raves Jared Paventi, who praises this unfiltered beer’s “very light and inviting” aroma and flavor profile in which “lime juice and lime zest dominate the palate, with the tanginess of Lactobacillus and citric acid adding a lemony undertone.”
Best of the Best: Odell’s Cloud Catcher
“Flavor is where this beer truly shines,” says Tucker Anders, who proclaims it “the best widely distributed New England-style hazy IPA I’ve tasted” and says it “establishes a new ceiling” for the genre. It has “fresh-squeezed citrus to complement a host of tropical fruit aromas” and “finishes with a lingering bitterness that balances out the sweetness.”
Best of the Best: Indeed’s Rum King
This 10% ABV rum barrel-aged imperial stout is an “emblematic Minnesota beer” that “flows out of the can like a molasses milkshake” and “brings together everything that’s good about rum and everything that’s good about stouts,” writes Jerard Fagerberg.
Best of the Best: Modist’s First Call
With a “shimmering and clear” body that is the “unmistakable trademark of a good lager” crowned with a “whipped and milky white” head, this coffee lager has the unmistakable aroma of a “fresh Brazilian roast percolating in the kitchen,” writes Jerard Fagerberg, who declares it “a coffee beer that you can drink all damn day.”
Best of the Best: Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine
“Vermont-based Lawson’s Finest Liquids is infamous in the beer world for its acclaimed IPA,” Tucker Anders writes. He’s talking about Sip of Sunshine, a golden-orange IPA that lives up to its name with “sweetness that is both floral and tropical, like honeysuckle and warm pineapple.” In other words, it’s the perfect IPA.