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October’s Favorite Beers: Our Editors Pick the Best Brews to Ring in 2019

December 20, 2018

By October Staff, December 20, 2018

Man, 2018, you look like you could use a drink. To that effect, you could probably use multiple beers, which is why the writers and editors of October are are throwing an imaginary party. And yes, everyone is invited. A simple question was posed to the October team: What is the one beer that you would bring to a beer-filled gathering celebrating the end of 2018, year of the dumpster fire? The results ranged from champagne-like sours to imperial stouts strong enough to wash not only wash away the night, but also the whole year. So cheers to 2019, because it has to get better, right?

Une Année Le Seul

“Confession time: I am not a haze bro, and I don’t love overly hoppy beers. I can do sips of barrel-aged brews, but my palate prefers dry, sour, and funky flavors. I sampled Le Seul from Une Année Brewery—located just outside Chicago—at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. The series of wild ales are fermented with various fruits, such as passionfruit or pear. To date, there are 19 variants. My favorite is X, a super-sour and medium-bodied beer, with a pronounced passionfruit aroma and mild funk. To me, this is a beer for your friends who say they don’t like beer.” Matthew Zuras, Editor in Chief

Stillwater and Action Bronson 7000

“When we call a beer our favorite, that denomination often has a lot to do with the time and place we first consumer it. Scene: I’m in Detroit under the neon pink lights of a loud, Thai restaurant, staring down a mountain of tempura-fried squash rings. Stillwater Artisanal and Action Bronson's 7000 is also there. This beer is perfect, especially when it comes to pairing with food. This dry-hopped sour is brewed with Muscat grapes, which give the light, effervescence beer a sparkling wine-like quality. It’s subtle sweetness pairs especially well with spicy foods. In an interview about this beer Bronson said, ‘This is gonna change your life.’ And he’s right.” Sarah Freeman, Managing Editor

Goose Island Reserve Bourbon County Brand Stout

“I’m a bourbon-lover at heart, so it’s not much of a surprise that I tend to gravitate towards barrel-aged brews. This year’s Goose Island Reserve Bourbon County Brand Stout had plenty of time to soak in the flavors of high-end spirits and you can really taste it. The beer’s high ABV and limited release mean it’s something I would save for a special occasion.” Diana Hubbell, staff writer

As a flagbearer for the Millennial scourge, the way I choose to escape from this maelstrom of bullshit is with brunch, which is why I'm bringing a four-pack of Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch to the party.”

Suarez Family Domain (Blend #2)

“Like Tiger Woods during the aughts, everybody else is playing for second these days. And, this second Domain release, allows the Hudson Valley's Suarez Family Brewery to yet again hold claim to my best beer of the year, after wins for their Palatine Pils in 2016 and Backroads last year.  Blend #2 combines several of Dan Suarez's country beers—what he calls farmhouse ales as his brewery is in the country, though not on a farm—with some of them already having gone a year or two of aging. Citrusy on the nose with notes of tart cherries, the palate is a melange of berry jams, dominated by strawberries, with just a kiss of raw almonds. Restrained and balanced, it doesn't scream ‘look at me,’ though rewards the drinker with new layers of excellence after each and every sip.” Aaron Goldfarb

Folksbier Glow Up

“I may be the 1,000,000th person to recommend this beer, but Glow Up by Folksbier is the real deal. It is the beer I want to introduce to all non-beer drinkers. It's crisp, clean, tart, and comes in raspberry and peach (but doesn't have aggressively fruity flavors like other fruit-flavored beers). It's dangerously drinkable and satisfies both my wine and beer cravings in one sip. I wish I could have a tap of it in my apartment.” Priya Krishna

Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch

“2018 needed to end a year ago. So much went wrong, and somehow it was all my fault for being born in 1989. As a flagbearer for the Millennial scourge, the way I choose to escape from this maelstrom of bullshit is with brunch, which is why I'm bringing a four-pack of Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch to the party. At 10.9% ABV, this silky can of avoidance is enough to dull the memories of all the indigities we endured in 2018. Plus, I'll need the caffeine kick from the coffee if there's any hope of making it to 2019.” Jerard Fagerberg

Revolution Brut-Hero

“I started 2018 just about plumb beer-ed out, friends. I’ve largely lost the ability to distinguish between a good and a bad adjunct-laden-pastry-stout or fruited-kettle-sour—not to mention the ability to bring myself to care. I surprised myself by getting excited this year for a brand new hype-monster style: the Brut IPA. In preparing to write a piece on Brut for this very publication, I tasted every example of the nascent style I could find. One of the best I sampled while in Chicago was Revolution’s Brut Hero. This 7% ABV dry IPA is a new installment in the fantastic Hero series, and thus is seeing limited distribution in accessibly-priced six-pack cans. Brut Hero bursts with aromas of citrus and Sauvignon Blanc grapes and dances on the palate due to its lively spriztiness and light tanginess from a fine carbonic acid bite. Low in residual sugar and amped up in carbonation, Brut Hero will cut through heavy fat- and salt- filled holiday fare and reinvigorate your palate while slaking your thirst.” Miles Liebtag

Off Color Eek!

“Like many people, Miller High Life is one of my go-to cheap beers. Chicago’s Off Color Brewing uses the Miller High Life recipe and then inoculates it with its own wild yeast strain to create Eeek! The resulting beer is effervescent with a mild acidity and a slight, sweet grain flavor. I had the pleasure of sharing a bottle of Eeek! in the brewery’s barrel room with Off Color’s genius co-founder John Laffler. It was an astoundingly great beer-drinking experience.” Matt Osgood

I just like really piney IPAs, man, and Celebration is the closest beer equivalent I've found to licking the chainsaw at a Christmas tree lot.”

Foundera Breakfast Stout

“Try as I might, I've never found a winter beer that's as comforting and consistently satisfying as a Founders Breakfast Stout. There's everything you want in a cold weather sipper here. The dark color and frothy foam are inviting to look at, and the nose of bitter chocolate and fresh coffee is very appealing. The lead flavors of roasted coffee and dark chocolate combine seamlessly in a savory yet smooth fashion thanks to the oats. There's enough ABV to be warming, but not to the extent of a heavy barrel-aged offering that knocks you flat. There's a good reason it's a perennial favorite and has a 94 on this site—it's damn near perfect.” Tom Thornton

Odd Breed Wild Ales Halo Kibbles

“To wrap up a year sorely lacking in nuance, it’d be nice to celebrate a bit of subtlety. And that’s what Odd Breed—a small, florida-based brewery focused on barrel-aged wild ales—does best. Blended from two golden ales, Halo Kibbles is aged in oak and then refermented on organic raspberries. It has a vibrant, tart raspberry flavor, but didn't leave me feeling like a sixth-grader who just had his first warhead. Instead, with its excellent combination and mouthfeel, Halo Kibbles made me think of some ethereal flavor of LaCroix that hadn’t been developed yet.” Charlie Crespo

Lagunitas Born Yesterday Pale Ale

“A fresh, wet-hopped beer is impossible to beat for me, and Lagunitas does it right with Born Yesterday. It is bright and grassy with tons of citrus, tropical and berry flavors. A bitter resinous punch and perfect IPA mouthfeel round it out. Born Yesterday is an unfiltered hop bomb without the orange juice appearance or over-the-top sweetness of most hazy IPAs. And at 7.2% ABV, it’s more than enough to keep the party going. Lagunitas wide distribution and mass production may make Born Yesterday less appealing to some, but I’d put this beer up against any of the more coveted unfiltered IPAs in a blind tasting.” Tucker Anders

Sierra Nevada Celebration

"For the past few years my inaugural holiday ritual has proceeded thus: Some time in mid-November, place a call to my nearest Costco to inquire whether they've gotten the cases of Celebration in yet. If so, head out and fill up a cart with as many as it can safely carry, maneuver my load back to the front of the store, returning the approving nods and high-fives from other bearded dads as I go. Maybe grab a chicken bake on the way back to the car. Sierra Nevada Celebration is my favorite beer, and only partly due to its ineffable link to falling leaves, first snows, and the nationwide spike in pie consumption. I just like really piney IPAs, man, and Celebration is the closest beer equivalent I've found to licking the chainsaw at a Christmas tree lot. You could probably clean your hardwood floors with it, is what I'm saying.” Pete Keeley

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
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