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The best beers of 2010 (just kidding)

I went to high school with a guy who wanted to be a sheep herder when he grew up (this was central Illinois, not Wales). He carried different varieties of wool in each pocket. He liked to pull a batch out and start telling you stories about the breed of sheep it came from. It seems like my pockets are full of bits of beer information. So here goes:

  • Think they have it figured out? Alaskan Brewing’s Smoked Porter won the gold medal (again) in the smoked beer categories in both the 2010 World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival. Capturing gold in the Rauchbier competition at the European Beer Star Awards definitely qualifies as a trifecta. This is the largest beer competition in Europe and judged in Germany, not far from Bamberg — the home of smoked beers.

    (As a point of order, Schlenkerla — one of two Bamberg breweries still producing its own smoked malts — does not enter these sorts of competitions.)

  • A disturbing report from Brewpublic in Portland related to the merger of the Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch brewpub chains:

    A source associated with Rock Bottom’s brewing department, who asked to remain confidential, tells us that it now looks like things with the RB-GB merger “aren’t going the way (the most of brewers) had hoped” telling Brewpublic “We’re less than a month into this thing and the new CEO has decided to start making changes to our beer program. He wants us to standardize at least four, and possibly up to six of our beers across the entire company.”

    And:

    “We’ve never had ANY standardized beers in the history of the company.” says one Rock Bottom employee. “Most of us think (the homogenization of branding) is a terrible idea for a number of reasons, and it most likely signals the beginning of the demise of Rock Bottom to complete irrelevance in the craft brewing world – a la Gordon Biersch.”

    I wasn’t aware that Gordon Biersch is irrelevant in the craft brewing world, but this certainly merits watching.

  • Here’s how you provide context for a list (in this case the “Ten Most Interesting Wines of 2010”). I’m paraphrasing, but 1WineDude explains up front: It is NOT intended to be a “best of” or “highest rating” list; it is intended to be a list of arbitrarily-chosen wines that stood out, to him as being particularly interesting for a variety of reasons; and they are wines that he tasted in 2010.

    The thought occurred to me that if I were to write about the beers I enjoyed most in 2010 that providing a list of every beer I tasted would make it more “useful.” Let’s say I put Boulevard Brewing’s Saison Brett on the “best” list and not Orval. You might wonder, “Did Stan drink any Orval in 2010 or did he just like Saison Brett better?” But you probably wouldn’t, which is why there’ll be no “best of” post from me. Want a list? How about the list of beer books I put together last year?

  • Italy is thick with new breweries, but then in picking a dozen breweries to watch in 2011 Draft magazine also draws attention to Huntsville, Alabama, which had three open in 2010.

    Too much to keep track of? Stephen Beaumont has been busy bragging about what he found in Brazil. And we’re headed to Austin, Texas, for the holidays and it seems there are at least ten breweries recently opened, or about to open, or at least beyond the wild dreams stage.

  • 10 Responses to The best beers of 2010 (just kidding)

    1. 1winedude December 16, 2010 at 10:57 am #

      Thanks for the kind words!

      I love beer, btw… so I personally WOULD like to see a similar list of the same type for beers… just sayin’! 🙂

    2. Jorge - Brew Beer And Drink It December 17, 2010 at 10:15 am #

      I like the idea of the top 10 most interesting as opposed to ‘best’… usually when I see a top X Best Y, the list seems to forget what other people consider ‘best’…

    3. Harry December 17, 2010 at 10:49 am #

      Gordon Biersch seems irrelevant in the Beervana brewing world at any rate…The most impact we see from them around here is in the form of Trader Joe’s house beers (and that isn’t even the same company!).

    4. Stephen Beaumont December 17, 2010 at 10:56 am #

      “Bragging,” Stan? Reporting, surely…

    5. Mario Rubio December 17, 2010 at 11:55 am #

      Funny, Stephen appears in an article on the Hop Press during his trip in Brazil: http://ratebeerians.hoppress.com/2010/12/16/the-new-brazilian-beer-culture/

    6. Steve December 21, 2010 at 8:40 am #

      Harry, can you expound on “(and that isn’t even the same company!)” ?

      I am really happy to find GB beers at TJ’s, their Pale Bock and Winter Fest especially, and find them to be identical to the GB beers of the similar labels (when I can get the GB). Am I missing something?

    7. Bill December 21, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

      Steve, my memory of things are that the brewpubs are separate from the production brewery. So, the GB-branded bottles are brewed by the same co. as the TJ-branded beers… but that company is separate from the one owning/operating the brewpubs.

    8. Steve December 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm #

      Bill, I hadn’t heard that. Both pubs and the micro can be found in resident on the same web site for GB, but I suppose that doesn’t mean anything more than a higher up, parent company.

    9. Bill December 21, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

      Steve, Craftworks owns the GB restaurants/pubs, but when you click on the brewery link, there are no more Craftworks logos. The brewery is owned by Lorenzo Fertitta.

    10. Steve December 22, 2010 at 7:49 am #

      Thanks Bill. Interesting that they “share” the site. Better for (both) business to keep them relative, I guess.

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