Best New Beer of the First Quarter

Eno Sarris, March 31, 2015

Okay, so this award won't go down in the pantheon of great BeerGraphs awards. There will be no plaque sent to the brewery for their Best New Beer of the First Quarter of 2015. That would be ridiculous. 

On the other hand, we're always looking for new beers to enjoy. So what's the harm in looking at the best new beers of the first three months of the year? 

(I honestly just wanted to see what the list looked like.)

name name bar style_p
Pliny the Younger (2015) Russian River Brewing Company 10.5 125
Hopslam Ale (2015) Bell's Brewery 10.1 120
Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) (2015) Founders Brewing Company 9.9 126
Canadian Breakfast Stout (2015) Founders Brewing Company 8.9 128
Abrasive (2014) Surly Brewing Company 7.5 123
Sucaba (2015) Firestone Walker Brewing Company 7.3 128
Double Dry Hop Melcher Street Trillium 7.1 134
Hop JuJu Imperial IPA (2015) Fat Head's Brewery 7.1 124
Mocha Wednesday (2015) The Bruery 6.9 123
Epiphany Foundation Brewing Company 6.9 131
Mosaic Dry Hopped Fort Point Pale Ale Trillium 6.8 138
Cellarman (Barrel-Aged) (2015) Sante Adairius Rustic Ales 6.8 145
Parabola (2015) Firestone Walker Brewing Company 6.8 126
Hunahpu Imperial Stout (2015) Cigar City Brewing 6.6 127
Blushing Monk (2015) Founders Brewing Company 6.6 131
Seventeen Central Waters Brewing Company 6.5 122
Chocolate Rain (2015) The Bruery 6.5 138
Apple Brandy Barrel Noir Prairie Artisan Ales 6.2 119
Crimson Snapper Pipeworks Brewing Company 6.2 132
Lights Out Tree House Brewing Company 6.1 134

Good god we're boring. It's like Hollywood here, one remake after another. You have to get down to seventh on the list to find a 'new' beer, or at least one without a year attached to it, and even that beer is just a dry-hopped version of a beer that came out last year. 

I love Trillium. I recently had their saison and the Galaxy Dry Hopped Fort Point, and really enjoyed them, even if they didn't do better than the Maines that came in the same package. They were interesting enough that I would love to try the Mosaic version of the beer I had, or the Melcher Street, or anything they've got really.

And it looks like they are on fire, because their Upper Case and Double Dry Hopped Sleeper Street also made the top 50 so far this year. Maybe they'll be the Brewer of the Year, or the Small Up and Coming Brewer of the Year, or the Northeastern Not Named Maine But Also Not from Vermont Great Brewer of the Year or something. Maybe they should win the Best New Beer of the First Quarter award, if this is actually a thing and not just an excuse to look at new beers in the database. 

After Trillium's entry come a few new versions of old beers -- I'm sure they're good but are they new -- and then a beer I know nothing about. Foundation Brewing Epiphany? Looks like I need one, judging from the endless stream of four-star reviews on Untappd. Self-declared as a Maine IPA, it's supposedly not as resinous hoppy as Topper and also not quite as tropical as Trillium, so now I'm really interested. It was added to the untappd database in late December last year, but we didn't get it until this year, so it's our Best New Beer of the First Quarter of The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Fifteen. 

That Central Waters is probably their 17th anniversary stout, so not really new, but probably very good. The Prairie Apple Brandy Noir is part of a series, dunno if that disqualifies it, but apparently it's the best of the series. Crimson Snapper is a new big fruity IPA from Pipeworks which some are calling the best they've made, which is saying something because Ninja vs Unicorn. Hopefully they'll have a new batch waiting for me in Chicago when I come in July. 

Down table, there's a Olde Hickory Omega Point and Funky Buddha Last Buffalo in the Park, which is a nice thing for the south. But I guess the Omega Point is a 20th anniversary barleywine and Last Buffalo is just their Snowed In porter aged in some different barrels.  So these aren't that new. Alpine's Kiwi Herman debuts at 30th, which is impressive, and I want it.

Oh and look at that, an Australian brewer (Shenanigans) makes the top 40 with Imperial Wintston, an Imperial version of their popular pale ale. And Four Winds from British Columbia represents Canada well with their new IPA, Vexillium, hitting the charts as the 40th-best new beer. 

Of the top 100 new beers (all above three BAR), Stone had six (including three Enjoy Bys), and Trillium had six. The Bruery had four, and then Pipeworks, Founders, and Bell's had three a piece. Mostly just the good old boys, but it's nice to see Pipeworks and Trillium pushing for the upper tiers of American Craft Brewing. 

The worst new beers? Well, one's probably a joke, and maybe you're tired of hearing it, but there's another one that made me chuckle a bit. And since it's BeerGraphs, we'll just leave this bit of (possibly tired, definitely juvenile) humor in table form for your benefit. 

name name bar style_p
Pumkin Peach Ale Anheuser-Busch (ABInBev) -17.9 29
Aass IPA Aass Bryggeri -6.5 79
Super Tramp Flying Dog Brewery -6.0 92