The Hell-Bent crew has decided to put together our favorite beers of 2012. These aren’t new beers in 2012 or even necessarily the best, but they are our favorites of everything we tried, excluding our own beers of course.
We’ll start off with what we think was the most prolific style of the year.
Style of the Year
The Belgian Farmhouse ale really exploded this year. Everyone had one and there were a lot of good examples of this style which is characterized as a spicy and highly carbonated beer. Our favorites this year:
Brewery of the Year
This brewery made so many good beers this year we lost track of which was our favorite. If we had to pick we would probably go with the Friendship Brew. A black saison. Some other favorites are the Double Stout, the Hop Head Red, Le Freak and the West Coast IPA. It’s tough to go wrong with Green Flash.
Now, onto our personal favorites:
Dan’s Favorites - my tastes lean towards simple pale ales and IPA’s although I recently started enjoying some sour beers. My top beer is in fact a sour saison
Dave’s Favorites: My tastes are all over the place. I love a good beer. My first love were stouts but then I got into all sorts of hoppy beers. Recently I have been exploring Belgians. As long as the beer is well rounded, I’m there.
Gary’s Favorites: My tastes are similar to Dave’s—probably because they’re very much influenced by Dave. I like something that I can sit and drink a few of. Love wet hops, Belgians, and Saisons.
Nick’s Favorites: I like a good pale ale, something I can drink a lot of at one time.
Scott’s Favorites: As the North Carolina arm of our brewery team my tastes lean towards IPA’s. Recently I’ve been trying a lot of Rye beers so you might see them in next years list.
Adam’s Favorites: My tastes lean towards the classics. I like good beers, pale ales & IPA’s. Everything I’ve chosen below represents the best of their style
Kyle’s Favorites: I don’t have access to a lot of good beers in my current locale but I tend to like anything on nitro and I’ve recently been drinking some Belgians. I also make a mean Ginger Jamie.
We hope these give you an idea of some of our influences as well as give you some new beers to try for 2013.
Today we brewed our winter beer, a Black Saison. We aren’t huge fans of the overspiced winter beers that are going to be coming out in the next few weeks so we tried something different. The Black Saison will have a traditional Belgian flavor along with a very slight roastiness as well as some peppery notes. This should be ready in about 5 weeks and probably won’t stick around long. Here are some pictures from today’s brew session.
The start of the Boil
Time to Chill
Almost done. 10 Gallons of Black Saison in the fermentors
This week the seventh episode of The Beer Amigos was released which features an interview with some of the folks from HBBC as well as a review of two of our beers. The rest of the pod cast is pretty good too. We recommend downloading the rest of the series and giving them a listen, it’s entertaining and there is a lot of good info on the Long Island craft beer scene.
Today, Christmas Day to be exact, we’re drinking something from Sierra Nevada’s line of Ovila ales. Sierra Nevada Ovila Quad to be exact. American versions of popular Belgian beers are often too sweet or over hopped and just missing that Belgian flavor, this one get’s it right. It has a silky smooth flavor, not too sweet but enough to let you know it’s a Belgian and a nice creamy head. This might be one of the best Belgians we’ve had to date. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
It’s been a while but things are busy at Hell-Bent Brew Co. This week we are drinking one of Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series. #37 Rich and Dan’s Rye IPA. This beer pours a nice golden color with minimal foam. There is a nice hoppy aroma which smells slightly bitter, not the flowery aroma we were expecting. The first thing you’ll notice when drinking this beer is the body, it’s very creamy and “soft”. This is offset with the bitter taste of the hops and then you’re hit with the Rye. This is the first Rye beer we’ve had and you can definitely taste it. It’s not a bad thing but it does take some getting used to. Overall this is a good beer and something we’d order again.
33 lbs of grain, 14 ounces of hops, 10 gallons of awesomeness. Look for it in January
Today is a good day. Today we opened the first annual Batch from the Patch. A Hell-Bent Pumpkin ale brewed with real pumpkins and hand bottled in small quantities. Quite frankly, we nailed this one. It has a hint of pumpkin pie at the beginning and finishes with a whipped cream flavor that makes you go back for another taste. With a barely noticeable 7.5% alcohol content, this is a fun beer. We can’t wait to make it again next year. Swing by the brewery for a taste since this isn’t going to last long.
Also at Hell-Bent. We just cleaned 100 bottles in preparation for our the release of our Pale Ale. We’ll be offering this one up as the first in our “6’er of the month club” Shoot us an email for details.