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The Best Beers To Chase Down This January

It’s a new year and that means it’s time to chase down some new craft beers around America. We’ve also decided to revamp our monthly roundup of the best beers released each month. We’re highlighting one beer from each major region of the United States: Pacific Northwest, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, South, and Northeast with a wild card and international pick thrown in for good measure. That’s eight great beers to choose from this month.

We’re also trying to make these beers a little more accessible than the average craft beer that you’d have to travel to the brewery for. While some of the beers below may be a little harder to find from coast-to-coast, most of them will be sourceable to people living in that particular region.

Let’s dive into the best craft beers to chase down as the new decade kicks into gear. Happy beer hunting!

PACIFIC NORTHWEST DROP: Alaskan Pilot Series: Imperial Bock (AK)

The Beer:

Generally speaking, an eisbock is a winter warmer that’s frozen to remove impurities and water and concentrate flavors and amp up the ABVs. In this case, Alaskan brewing has juked the game and created a beer that’s aged instead of frozen. Their Imperial Bock is brewed to a high ABV in the bock style and then mellowed on oak chips, which adds a wonderful, wintry depth to the beer.

Tasting Notes:

Dark cherries and toasted oak greet your senses. Alcohol is present and counterpointed by a bourbon-esque vanilla and oak presence. The deep brown-amber hues impart a sense of slightly bitter roasted malts with a gently sweet edge.

SOUTHWEST DROP: Modern Times Nitro Black House Stout (CA)

The Beer:

Modern Time’s January drop, Nitro Black House Stout, is a luscious beer that’ll warm the senses. The stout is spiked with heaps of coconut and cocoa nibs alongside Ethiopian and Sumatra coffee beans. The 5.8 percent ABV makes this wake-up-juice the perfect beer to sip on while the snow falls.

Tasting Notes:

Lush is the main idea here. The bitterness and oily nature of the coconut, cocoa, and coffee combine with the robustness of the malts to create a mouthfeel that’s pure velvet. Expect a nice dose of hop bitterness that’s an accent to the rich dark chocolate and coffee while the malts add a nice depth of sweet breadiness to the whole sip.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN DROP: Upslope Brewing Oatmeal Stout (CO)

The Beer:

Sticking with the big stouts that define the mid-winter season, Upslope’s Oatmeal Stout has dropped just in time to hit the slopes. The combination of oats, malts, and hops are balanced to create a big beer that feels light and accessible for anyone afraid that a stout will be too heavy.

Tasting Notes:

You’re greeted with clear notes of dark fruits, rich caramel, and dark chocolate. Those notes mingle to create a silken experience that revels in slightly bitter and dank hops, sweet dark bread malts, and clear notes of bitter dark chocolate. The end is a silky experience that’ll have your longing for another sip.

SOUTHERN DROP: Jester King Brewery A Pale Green Horse Kviek IPA (TX) in collaboration with Yazoo Brewing (TN)

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INTRODUCING JESTER KING / YAZOO — A PALE GREEN HORSE KVIEK IPA . . Today we're releasing a new beer called A Pale Green Horse brewed in collaboration with our great friends at Yazoo Brewing Co. in Nashville, Tennessee! . . A Pale Green Horse is a Kviek IPA brewed with well water, Pale Moon malt from Blacklands, raw wheat and oats from Barton Springs Mill, and Galaxy, Citra, and Mosaic hops. It was dry hopped with Strata, Galaxy, Citra, and Mosaic hops at a rate of 3 lbs. per barrel. . . We brewed A Pale Green Horse with Brandon Jones of Yazoo when he visited us for Jester King SPON Day in early December. Brandon is a fan of the Hornindal Kveik yeast strain from Omega Yeast Labs, which we used for fermentation. . . Our first batch of A Pale Green Horse is draft only and will be available by the glass at Jester King. It will be released when we open early at Noon today Thursday, January 2nd. . . Below are some details / specs on A Pale Green Horse. We want to thank Brandon Jones for traveling from out of state of brew with us. As we've mentioned before, Brandon is a close friend and inspiration, and we're grateful to get to work with him. . . OG 1.064 . . FG 1.008 . . ABV 7.4% (measured, not tested) . . IBU 68 (estimated) . . Water — Hill Country well water . . Grains – Blacklands Pale Moon Two Row, Munich, Carapils, Barton Springs Mill warthog wheat and oat groats . . Kettle hops — Galaxy (34%), Citra (25%), Mosaic (40%) . . Dry hops — Strata (31%), Galaxy (22%), Citra (28%), Mosaic (17%) . . Yeast — Hornindal Kviek . . Artwork by Josh Cockrell . . Photo by Granger Coats . . . #jesterking @embracethefunk #yazoobrew #brandonjones #kveik #kviekipa #omegayeast #blacklandsmalt #bartonspringsmill @yazoobrew @omegayeast @blacklandsmalt @bartonspringsmill

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The Beer:

This Kviek IPA is a Southern double dip. Tennessee’s Yazoo and Texas’ Jester King have teamed up to make a hell of an IPA. The beer is brewed with “Kviek” (or Kveik) yeast from Norway that’s informed Belgian farmhouse brews. The centuries-old yeast is a hot commodity as brewers (and drinkers) look for something new to bring the American market. If you’re looking to give it a try, then you’re in luck with this beer.

Tasting Notes:

Expect a fair amount of farmhouse funk with a small dose of sour. There’s a clear sense of hops that bring about a bright and fruity bitterness with a sense of florals. The beer is light, yet satisfying, providing hope for spring on a cold winter’s day.

MIDWEST DROP: Revolution Brewing Legal-Hero IPA (IL)

The Beer:

Rev Brewing’s Legal-Hero just dropped to celebrate the legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois. The beer is brewed with Strata, Eureka!, and Columbus hops which add a deeply dank feel to beer — hence the celebratory nature of the small-batch brew.

Tasting Notes:

Don’t expect a hop bomb. The beer is wonderfully dialed in with a mid-range IBU of 40. It’s hoppy, yes. But it’s more dank than bitter with a huge cannabis aroma factor that gives way to a subtle sip of suds with a nice dryness and underpinning of malt sweetness in the background.

NORTHEAST DROP: Allagash Brewing Sixteen Counties Golden Ale (ME)

The Beer:

Allagash is looking inward for 2020. Their Sixteen Counties Golden Ale is made exclusively from agricultural products from Maine’s 16 counties. It’s local terroir in a can of tasty beer that’ll be one the most unique releases you can score this month.

Tasting Notes:

Expect clear notes of bright tropical fruits with a citrus backbone. Fresh honey mingles with freshly baked cereal crackers. The sip is mildly dry with a juicy edge that feels like New England in a can.

WILD CARD DROP: Elysian Brewing Contact Haze IPA (WA)

The Beer:

Elysian Brewing out in Seattle has added a new beer to their yearly line up: Contact Haze IPA. The beer is a celebration of the hazy IPA that keeps the fruit front-and-center while adding some serious West Coast vibes to the brew.

Tasting Notes:

Berries explode from this sip. Raspberry and currants dance on the palate with citrus, guava, and passion fruit. The hop leans less bitter and more dank with a big rush of aroma throughout the sip that leads to final notes of wildflowers.

INT’L PICK OF THE MONTH: Brasserie de la Senne Zenne Pils (Belgium)

The Beer:

Brasserie de la Senne is the beer lover’s brewery out of Belgium. And, now, they’ve made their version of the beer lover’s favorite lager, a Pils. Look, this is one of the best breweries in the world and they’ve decided to expand their catalog to include one of the most drunk beers on the planet. You know this is going to be great.

Tasting Notes:

Expect an almost perfect balance of bready malts and floral and slightly bitter hops. The unfiltered and unpasteurized nature of the brew lets the malts, hops, and water shine in a wonderous unison that makes pils so damn quaffable, especially this one.

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