Here it is, our fourth and final piece of the BeerMenus 2016 Roundup series.
We think we saved the best for last. Below are the most popular beers of 2016, broken out by where in the US the beer was brewed: East, Midwest, or West.
Full disclosure: we love a lot of these beers. But our palates didn't make any decisions in regards to the list. We determined the rankings by looking at unique BeerMenus page views for each beer.
While we weren't too surprised by most beers on the list, there were a couple that left us flabbergasted. There was one big ol' Stunner in particular.
Congrats to all breweries on the list, and thanks for making these awesome beers part of 2016.
East Coast: IPAs all the way
5. Grimm Afterimage (Brooklyn, NY)
For a few of us on the BeerMenus team, this was the juicy, East Coast IPA that made the style “click.” 8% ABV, juicy mango, densely hazy, soft carbonation out of the 16oz can. Add to that the fact that it's brewed by our neighbors Lauren and Joe Grimm, and we're extremely happy this one turned up on the list.
4. Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA (Milton, DE)
Well, nothing like a beer whose ABV varies from 15% to 20%. This one has been legendary for awhile, and with good reason. It's a perfect beer to put in the cellar for a few years, and one that necessitates sharing: nobody has any business drinking this one by themselves.
3. Grimm Lambo Door (Brooklyn, NY)
Another awesome 8% East Coast double IPA, brewed by neighbors. As our friends at Brooklyn's Bar Great Harry like to say, when this one's available, its the “IPA of the moment.” And as Grimm says: “Oh you thought it was gonna be bitter? Nah this is IPA as pure hop candy.”
2. Maine Lunch (Freeport, ME)
Another beer from a brewery on our Most Popular Breweries list. No surprise here. Lunch is a 7% East-Coast-styled West Coast IPA. Fruity, piney, and brewed by people who care.
1. Lawson's Finest Sip of Sunshine (Warren, VT)
Another 8% double IPA often found in a 16oz can. One of the first truly East Coast IPAs, this one is legendary, both in the Northeast and across the country. Believe us when we say that the entire state of Connecticut seems to live and die by Sip of Sunshine deliveries.
Midwest: Michigan heavy, split between stouts and IPAs
5. New Holland Dragon's Milk (Holland, MI)
It's not surprising that an 11% barrel-aged stout showed up on this list, but we were a little surprised to see this one turn up so high. It's a great, regularly available option that one member of BeerMenus particularly loves.
4. Founder's KBS (Grand Rapids, MI)
One of the very first top-level barrel-aged stouts, this one's brewed with coffee and chocolate, then aged in bourbon barrels for one year. Even with the recent boom in special stouts, this one still holds strong, both in quality and in popularity. Look for 2017's release in April, but you might be able to find a few 2016 bottles laying around.
3. Bell's Hopslam (Comstock, MI)
The winter release has long been special in the Midwest. It's dry hopped with Simcoe, has a significant malt backbone (a very far cry from the East Coast IPAs above), and also includes a generous amount of honey to help smooth out that malt. Look for it in January.
2. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (Chicago, IL)
Another seasonal release, this one marks the start of the holiday season for many beer lovers. Thick, rich, and an ABV that will surely warm you up in the cold weather (it varies from year to year, and especially when you bring variants into play). Once extremely rare, this one is now turning up more and more.
1. Three Floyds Zombie Dust (Munster, IN)
It's no surprise seeing the famous “undead” pale ale at the top of the Midwest list. 6.2%, juicy, and smooth. Plus there's the bottle's artwork: an awesome collaboration between Three Floyds and the comic industry. (The haul in the picture belonged to Gage, who "couldn't afford to miss it.")
West: California Only
5. Stone Xocoveza (Escondido, CA)
The inspiration for this one was Mexican hot chocolate, so it was brewed with cocoa, coffee, chiles, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Delicious, for sure, and especially so for winter time in cold weather climes (i.e. Brooklyn).
4. Firestone Walker Parabola (Paso Robles, CA)
Any beer that comes in a box is special. Firestone Walker thinks so, we defer to them on that, and evidently the beer lovers using BeerMenus do as well. This is officially a Russian imperial oatmeal stout which, after it's brewed, spends a year in bourbon barrels from some of the top distilleries in the world: Elijah Craig, Four Roses, Pappy Van Winkle, Woodford Reserve, and Buffalo Trace. Delicious.
3. Ballast Point Sculpin (San Diego, CA)
Sculpin is a classic West Coast IPA that's still making waves across the country. The variants (pineapple, grapfruit, and habanero) are pretty popular as well, but not nearly enough to unseat the original.
2. El Segundo Steve Austin's Broken Skull IPA (El Segundo, CA)
This is by far the biggest surprise on the list, but when the people speak, we listen. And evidently in Southern California they're screaming for Stone Cold Steve Austin. Bring on the Stunners! Austin 3:16!
1. Russian River Pliny the Elder (Santa Rosa, CA)
Like Zombie Dust in the midwest, Pliny's place at the top of Western beers surprised none of us. We only wish that we didn't have to go all the way to Philadelphia to round up anything from Russian River.
(Note: Most of the photos above come from brewery websites or Facebook pages. Two were captured by the BeerMenus team.)