Most likely to get you drunk

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First Posted: 12/29/2014

Each year craft brewers brainstorm new ideas for beers and unleash them upon the market. Some of these beers rise to the top and quickly become fan favorites while others sink to the depths, never to be seen or spoken of again.

There is no shortage of great beers brewed in 2014 but here is a short list of some of the best that were released in no particular order, but all are must-trys.

1. Stone Brewing Co. – Chris Banker / Insurgente / Stone Xocoveza Mocha Stout: Stone has been releasing a great deal of collaboration beers with wonderful success but this may be the best so far. Rich notes of milk chocolate seamlessly blended with cinnamon, nutmeg, and chili pepper that impart a taste of a coffee-infused milk stout with a kick. The depth of the flavor make this a beer you will enjoy more and more as it warms up and unleashes more aromas.

2. Founders Brewing– Dissenter IPL: Last year Founders released the wonderful Doom and this year they have, yet again, released another phenomenal beer with Dissenter IPL. This Imperial IPL (India Pale Lager) has a flavorful and smooth malt bill with a wonderful hop punch that makes this beer one of the easiest drinking beers on this list. The hops are wonderful and impart a strong bitterness that competes with some of the best IPA’s available today and are nestled perfectly in this incredible smooth lager like feel from the malts. Dissenter is smooth, easy drinking and absolutely incredible.

3. Lagunitas Brewing- Born Yesterday: Lagunitas decided to try something new this year by brewing a beer, bottling it, and getting it to stores the next day or in some markets the same day for drinkers to enjoy. The result is fantastically fresh, vibrant, and hoppy pale ale. This is a beer that truly showcases hops in all their glory. The malt bill is in perfect balance with the hops and keeps everything in check so the bitterness is subdued while the hops still remain front and center. If you are a hophead than this is the beer for you.

4. Anderson Valley– Blood Orange Gose: Anderson Valley has truly captured the Gose style and kicked it up a notch with this absolutely incredible beer. The tart quality of the beer will appeal to fans of sour beers while the addition of salt and blood oranges really create a painting on your palate of bright colors. This is a beer that will awaken all the senses and leave you wanting more. The light 4.2 percent ABV makes this a perfect beer to enjoy by the six-pack and will most certainly chase away any case of the winter blues.

5. New Belgium Brewing– Lips of Faith Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout: The name of this beer alerts the drinker to the wonders that await inside. Rich milk chocolate notes are balanced with hints of salt for a wonderful salty sweet treat. The simplest way to describe this beer is that of a freshly made chocolate covered pretzel. The milk chocolate notes are prevalent in aroma and taste with the salt playing a subtle background note. Fans of stouts, chocolates, and dessert in general will absolutely want to hunt this beer down and try it for themselves.

This year, 2014, was again another great year for craft beer with new breweries opening, current breweries expanding and an uncountable array of new beers coming to market. The landscape looks extremely promising for 2015 and it will be another incredible journey to see what beers are made.

One thing will be certain, it will be a fantastic job trying them all!

Cheers to the New Year.