The next category up in our completely non-scientific, purely vote driven 2014 Best Of Beer would have been Best Stout, but we decided to share multiple categories with you today to help make up for our lack of a reveal yesterday!
There were tons of choices for these categories and we may have even missed some of your favorites, but without further ado here is the winners from your voting! Please remember that these are not based on BJCP or Cicerone Judging, but are a reflection of votes cast in the month of November in our Best of Beer Voting contest.
First up, a hotly contested style, where even deodorant, coffee and whiskey all have a pumpkin or harvest variant these days. Hopefully you steered clear of those imitators and stayed true to the harvest beer!
Best Harvest Beer:
1st Place: Bristol Brewing’s Venetucci Pumpkin Ale
This beer has been a staple of Bristol Brewing’s October releases for the past 8+ years, garnering much attention and helping preserve a time honored part of our community. Each year, proceeds from Venetucci Pumpkin Ale go back into the farm, helping them continue their pumpkin giving traditions each and every year. If you grew up here, chances are you took a field trip to the farm and grabbed your very own pumpkin, so we’re happy you picked them for first!
2nd Place: Paradox Brewing’s Pepitas Grande
Of the three winners here, Paradox’s doesn’t only use the pumpkin flesh in its brew. Pepitas, Spanish for pumpkin seeds, are also included as well as Chimayo red chili. This beer is one of our personal favorites, as it is different from the norm, but also tastes great with some of the heartier meals we enjoy this time of year. Congratulations!
3rd Place: Fieldhouse Brewing’s Smoked Pumpkin Porter
Look at Fieldhouse, taking another place in this year’s Best of Beer. Their Smoked Pumpkin Porter was released this fall in two variants, a Gluten-free version and a standard barley-malted version. We personally liked the Gluten Free version, mainly because they tricked us and we thought it was the standard one. They’re really finding their niche with the gluten-free beers, being the only local brewery to consistently have some on tap.
With some recent award winners in this category nationally, we expected the turnout to be fairly strong in this category, and you didn’t let us down! There were a ton of ups and downs for these competitors, but in the end all the winners deserve to be here!
1st Place: Red Leg Brewing’s Devil Dog Stout
Devil Dog is tied in our book with their Sgt. Pils and Cutter Wit, but when we need something dark and malty, the ‘Dog is where it’s at. We’ve enjoyed hitting up their taproom on Tuesdays, one for their beer and two for one of our favorite food trucks parked out front.
2nd Place: Bristol Brewing’s Winter Warlock
You had to expect a top-three showing for Bristol’s winter seasonal. It’s hard to pass up a creamy nitro-served Winter Warlock when the days get shorter and the air is a bit colder. Something about it just screams winter. It’s been fun seeing Bristol transition into Ivywild, and we expect to see some awesome things come out of their planned barrel-room(under the deck if you were wondering). Congrats!
3rd Place: Fieldhouse Brewing’s Fist Pump
Fieldhouse went out to an early lead in this category, and after everyone else voted, they kept a strong hold on the bronze! Nice job guys! Fist pump is one of our go-to’s when we stop in at Fieldhouse, and their Sticky Bomb (think black and tan) is a creative mix of Fist Pump and Sticky Paws!
We know we included some Double IPA’s in this category, and it was only fair because we tended to drink them more often than their single IPA counterparts. You all seemed to like them as well, as they rounded out the top end of our winners for this category. Early voting seemed to have Fieldhouse Brewing pegged for another win, but some late votes brought Bristol’s Compass into the bronze. As with most brewing competitions, the IPA category was easily the most contested!
Authors Note: Trinity Brewing has respectfully requested to not be included in Focus on the Beer’s coverage. We have bumped up everyone as a result.
1st Place: Pikes Peak Brewing’s Incline Imperial IPA
Our first experience with Pikes Peak’s Incline IPA was at last year’s Feast of Saint Arnold. We had stopped in to talk with Chris and he gave us some samples. Needless to say, we didn’t notice the 10.8% ABV at first…this is a wholly huge citrus bomb kind of beer, juicy and dank with a great malt backbone to round it all together. Recently, with Pikes Peak Brewing’s brand spanking new canning line, they’ve put this into a wider distribution which helps get these puppies in your hot little hands! Congrats to Chris, Aly and everyone who works at Pikes Peak Brewing! We’re already looking forward to next summer’s release!
2nd Place: Bristol Brewing’s Compass IPA
When you’ve been in town for a long time, you tend to have a lot of fans. Growing up, my dad always had Compass IPA and Laughing Lab in the fridge, and you see them everywhere. It wouldn’t happen if they didn’t make great beer. We’re happy to see that you all voted them into the top 3 for this category!
3rd Place: Fieldhouse Brewing’s GF & Standard Paralysis by Analysis
For the longest time, Fieldhouse’s standard Paralysis by Analysis held the top spot in this category,
but we felt we needed to highlight another top notch brew from them and because of one of our winners dropping out, they’re in! Gluten Free beers are all the rage these days, and Fieldhouse is really making some great beers without any gluten in them. We stopped in and tried Travis’ next variant of Paralysis by Analysis and it was possibly one of our favorite beers we’ve ever tried from them. Gone were the plastic-y sorghum tastes, replaced by juicy hops and the wonderful malty flavor of caramel-millet. Stop in sometime and try one, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. They’re really pushing the envelope of gluten-free offerings.
That’s all for today’s annoucements! Tomorrow we’ll be revealing best Beer Dinner, so get ready to rumble…or don’t, our phone’s vibration is worn out from yesterday. Cheers, and thanks to all who voted!