A new year means new beers. Craft breweries around the country have released updated calendars this month indicating when old favorites and new releases will be hitting distribution. These are the beers we’re most looking forward to drinking in 2017.
January: Bell’s Hopslam
With the proliferation of quality India Pale Ales on the market, there has been a rising chorus of voices in the beer community to label Hopslam overrated. With many other breweries making similarly luscious IPAs, it would be easy to agree with the naysayers and forego the mania that surrounds the release of this beer. But for many, nothing beats the champ. If you’re lucky, Hopslam may still be on store shelves or tap handles near you.
February: Stone Enjoy By 02.14.17 Chocolate & Coffee IPA
The Enjoy By IPA series continues in 2017 with limited release, quick-shipped hop bombs that put the shelf life disclaimer right in the title of the beer. The Valentine’s Day edition introduces chocolate and coffee to the big hop base for a complex, innovative experience. The 2016 version left some beer fans scratching their heads at the unexpected flavor profile, but it’s definitely worth seeking out.
March: Boulevard Scotch on Scotch
Following in the naming conventions of the delicious Rye on Rye, Boulevard brings a new beer into its limited edition series. All we know so far is that Scotch on Scotch is an Imperial Scotch ale aged in oak barrels and will be 10.9% alcohol by volume.
April: Great Divide Roadie Grapefruit Radler
Radlers and shandies have been growing craft beer’s market share and providing thirst quenching, fruity alternatives to hoppy beers in the warmer months. This brand new 4% ABV radler from Great Divide uses grapefruit puree to infuse the beer with a tart but refreshing cool down.
May: Westbrook Mexican Cake
What has become South Carolina brewery Westbrook’s signature offering, the annual Mexican Cake release has inspired a circus all its own. While a precious few bottles of this chocolate and pepper wonder do hit Westbrook’s distribution area, look for the last-minute brewery-only sales of the Mexican Cake barrel-aged variants to make a big splash later in the year.
June: Funkwerks Peachy King
By first taking Funkwerk’s Tropic King and combining it with with peach purée and souring bacteria and then aging the product in whiskey barrels, the brewery concocts Peachy King. Large-format bottles encourage sharing, but the lush, juicy and tart mix means you’ll want to drink it all yourself.
July: Cigar City Nitro Series -Horchata Tropical Ale
Available on draft only, the Cigar City’s nitro series returns with the indulgent Horchata in the mix. The use of nitrogen carbonation gives a creamy, full body to the Tampa brewery’s interpretation of the classic agua fresca.
August: Dogfish Head Oak-aged Vanilla World Wide Stout
The big and boozy beast from the east coast is back in 2017 with a new twist. One of the most robust (and alcoholic) imperial stouts on the market, World Wide Stout can clock in at near 20% ABV. Dogfish Head aged the beer in oak with the addition of Madagascar vanilla beans for the 2017 release.
September: Cascade Collaboration with The Bruery
The only thing we know so far are the two world-class breweries involved and the fact that Cascade will use an ingredient grown in the state of Oregon while The Bruery will use elements from Southern California. Apart from that, let the speculation run wild.
October: Left Hand Brewing Season of Insanity
An all-new offering from Left Hand, Insanity promises something crazy with Season of Insanity, a strong dark ale. This is an under-appreciated style, and Left Hand may be the perfect brewery to put a signature stamp on the classification.
November: Deschuttes The Abyss
Deep, dark and mysterious, The Abyss is a bucket list beer for many craft aficionados. The Russian Imperial Stout has earned its 100% score on RateBeer.com and 99/100 score on BeerAdvocate. Notes of molasses, licorice, coffee and dark fruits await in this dense monster of a beer.
December: Funky Buddha Last Buffalo in the Park
What’s not to love about a Buffalo Trace barrel-aged variant of the esteemed brewery’s Snowed In Imperial Porter? Finish the year strong by sourcing a bottle of Last Buffalo in the Park direct at the brewery or in limited amounts through Funky Buddha’s distribution chain.