As work and general busy-ness starts winding down for the end of the year, it gives us time to reflect back on all the beers we drank this year and think through what we enjoyed most. This year, we’re breaking it down podcast style with our friend Russell from The Beer Travel Guide. We had so much fun going through our lists that we had to break it up into two parts. Stay tuned for Part 2 to drop next week!
And if you’re more of the reading type, you can see my first 5 picks detailed below and you can check out Russell’s Best California Beers of 2020 right here.
10. Forget Me Not Black IPA by Common Space Brewery
I wasn’t aware of how much I missed Black IPAs until I cracked open Forget Me not as part of a Live Tasting featuring a bunch of Common Space beers in November. I nonchalantly poured it out and took a swig before being flooded by a wave of warm nostalgia and a smile crossed my face. This 6.66% dark hop bomb was a Pacific Northwest style throwback featuring big pine, citrus, and sticky dankness alongside malt sweetness with low roast character. Such a welcome surprise that stood out as a highlight of 2020.
9. Box Logo #10 NE-Style Double IPA by Mumford Brewery
Mumford’s Box Logo series is pretty legendary among LA haze bombs and the 10th iteration was no different. Box Logo #10 clocked in at 8.5% and was hopped with both Citra and Strata which are two personal favorite hops of mine. This baby blasted aromas of orange, pineapple, and strawberry with notes of sticky pine, followed through with more fruit on the palate and a subtle background dankness. Box Logo was so good it made it to our Beers of the Month list back in September and I don’t regret it one bit.
8. Little Green Room Bohemian Pilsner by Three Weavers Brewing
Like many of you, our beer consumption is dominated all year long by the IPA style. But sometimes you need to take a break from that barrage of hops. And right before Thanksgiving, Three Weavers graced us with exactly what we needed. Little Green Room is a 5.2% Bohemian Pilsner that is just immensely crushable, clean, crisp, has a sharp and quick hit of spicy hop bitterness, and a deliciously complex sweet malt character. Definitely something to be thankful for.
7. PPL BRW Hazy IPA by Ogopogo Brewing
Shortly after the initial lockdown, our friends at Ogopogo came out with the first in a series of very fun and unique collaboration beers. For this series, they teamed up with the band PPL MVR, who if you’re not aware of them, are a very cool concept band comprised of yetis and woodland creatures. The results of this first release are what we call a Hybrid IPA. The beer had the fruity aromas and flavors and soft body of a Hazy IPA but put up against the piney and bitter hop flavors with a highly carbonated, lighter mouthfeel of a West Coast IPA. This is the type of IPA that I personally get really excited about, with El Segundo’s Blurred Lines also coming in high on my list. Ogopogo puts out a lot of cool, fun, and delicious beers, but this one was the most memorable for me.
6. Wreck Yo Ship Triple IPA by 14 Cannons
Over the years, Hopped LA has become known for our coverage of the annual Pliny the Younger Triple IPA release by Russian River every year. But this past July, 14 Cannons released their 10.5% Triple IPA in cans for the very first time, that made us go “Pliny who?”. Wreck Yo Ship is triple dry-hopped with Citra, Loral, and Motueka which gave it a really nice orange citrus aroma with slightly sweet tropical notes. The appearance was a light golden yellow, giving way for an incredibly dry beer that drinks more like an 8% DIPA with nice bitterness to counteract any sweetness with a blast of hoppy orange and pineapple flavors. This is not an easy beer to pull off but Nic from 14 Cannons did it with ease, setting the bar for modern West Coast Triple IPAs in the process.
That’s it for Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2 dropping next week!