Happy final day of 2012, everyone! Yes, the world that was supposed to end 10 days ago is still moving on, and we're about to get all hot and heavy with 2013. With only a few hours left for reflection on the past 365 days, I thought one last ditch effort was worthwhile. Since this is the time of the year for "Best Of 2012" stories, I've been thinking about the beers I consumed (especially the ones I loved) and have contemplated sharing my favorites with you, lowly reader, but realized there are dozens of these compilations already out there. So I won't be writing a personal "Best Of", but I thought I'd be nice and lazy and link you to a few of the better ones I've seen in the past few days. Sure there are some questionable choices on these lists, but the beer community is all about personal taste... and what would the world be without a differing opinion or two, right?
Only way to know is to try for yourself, so feel free to enjoy these fine draughts, bottles, and even cans wherever you may find them.
Paste Magazine: The 10 Best New Beers of 2012
The folks at Paste have really done their homework, and presented some solid brews from all around for your consideration. Although I know I've had the Deviant Dale's IPA prior to 2012, it's still a really solid beer, so I won't argue its inclusion. New Orleans folks should definitely look out for the Brash Item 9 Ale (Wheat IPA) and Clown Shoes Porcine Unidragon (Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels)... two awesome choices we can find in town!
Brewpublic: Best of 2012 - The People's Choice
For this post, the contributors at Brewpublic (along with other industry professionals) have not just named individual brews, but favorite trends, breweries, and events that paint an excellent picture of the craft beer scene overall from the past year. Worth a read!
The Full Pint: Ten Best Beers of 2012
A good variety here from Dan at The Full Pint blog. Several big IPA's, an easy-drinking but delicious lager (Shift from New Belgium), and some rare specialty beers topped his list. Even the honorable mentions are quite diverse.
Bite and Booze: Louisiana's Best Craft Beers of 2012
Finally, we have the local angle. Jay Ducote (chef and connoisseur of all things food and beverage) of Baton Rouge tackled the tastiest brews of 2012 with help from several of the best beer minds in the state. This isn't just new selections, but everything Louisiana brewers have to offer, so look for some classics (like Abita Purple Haze), but also plenty more recent winners (such as personal favorites: NOLA Mechahopzilla and Parish Grand Reserve). Sadly, the Bayou Teche Joie à Tous (which I have seen on multiple lists of best LA brews) disappointed me, but it may have been a bad bottle. Will have to try this on tap in 2013 and see if my mind can be changed.
So why don't you let me know what your favorites of 2012 were. Is there a new brewery you're excited about? Or maybe an old dog that's learning some new tricks? Perhaps you finally got your hands on that Westvleteren XII... did it match the hype?
No matter what, I have to say 2012 was another banner year for beer. And yet I have a feeling that we will continue to move forward in 2013... with more new breweries, more local selection, and more great festivals ahead. Don't get left behind. Hop on the craft beer bandwagon now! There's plenty room...
Welcome aboard, my friends! Let's make 2013 = The Year of Craft Beer!