Friday, October 10, 2014

PROLOGUE: Ayyy, Austin … Tell Me How My Craft Taste.

Feel free to let your jaw drop.  

I am firing up this old internet machine again because, well, there is something called the Blogger's Conundrum, which goes something like, 


A discrepant notion of dwindling significance 
The bellyaching of a half-dozen other projects
÷
Lack of free time  

And if the answer to all that algebra = Residual Interest in Subject at Hand, then, yeah, you go ahead and unretire the ol' blog to do some scribing, because one cannot succumb to the peaceful recreation of middle-class alcohol abuse while being the Daddest motherfucker of all time in a post-Pitchfork era all alone.  I guess I missed you too.

This site is gonna look a bit different content-wise, and what I mean is that there will no longer be those clever audits on a singular brew that everyone reads and forgets the moment they click away, but instead, analysis on individual breweries as a whole.  

Brewery profiles.  That's what you'll read here; mainly because my approach to craft beer drinking has dramatically changed in the last year or so, from whale slaying .750s to scanning the overstock catalogues of my favorite breweries, buying the shit out of all their mainstays and flagship beers.  I suppose I'm kind-of over beers brewed in batches so small, its measured with the metric system, because, that simply not the by-God American way. (Am I right, my fellow American fatties?)

I'll tell you what, being a flagship-only craft beer guy has been fucking awesome.  Its been stress free.  My dick retracts to normal lengths on Divine Reserve day.  Can you fucking imagine that buying beer used to be so stressful?



The focus will primarily be on local Austin breweries, because fuck you, Austin is awesome, and because we as a city have the economic luxury of hosting vacationing immigrants from the other 30-or-so US states all the time (if not 30, then make up your own number, genius, this is America, land of the oblivious, home of the drunk!) -- and most of those kids on holiday become transplanted hipsters who've decided that Austin was awesome and THANKFULLY moved here!  

So maybe (just maybe) there are a few of those newly-minted Austinites (and all of the holiday hipsters they'll be hosting, encouraging to move here, too!) out there who just need a brewery primer, something to let em know whats up.  Where one can be seen.   Bottles or cans and shit?  LCD Soundsystem cover band or String Cheese?  Thats EXACTLY what we'll be doing here on [AA].  We hope to hit every brewery with such an in-depth vantage point that we'll be able to tell you if they use corn starch or gold bond on their privates.

So then, what's this beer exposé gonna be called, in the inebriant sense of the word, exposé?

"Tell Me How My Craft Taste"





Yep.

Which is about the best we could come up with using a beer pun.  These ladies wanted "Hop Cock", but that just sounded gross, and the ability to use a Big Aristotle, aka, Diesel, aka, Shaq Fu, aka The Shaqtus, aka Superman, aka Shaquille O'Neal reference just sounded right given the enormity of this whole project.

The abundance of material for this series downright encouraging, as Texas is as healthy of a brewing state as there is anywhere else on the planet -- especially coming off sixteen (SIXTEEN!) medals at GABF. 

The sustainability of the small beer industry into the distant future is very palpable to both hardcore and casual beer fans, so much so, that craft beer has become the common vernacular for drinkers in Austin, and Texas as a whole.  Try to remember the last time some tanktop jerkoff was walking around flaunting his Miller Lite at you.  Maybe its not so hard to remember, but you did have to think about it a little bit.  

Some of the things we'll be examining in our brewery profiles are:

The flagship beers
Some rotational beers
Packaging
Taproom

and most importantly:

THE  OVERALL EFFUSIVE JOY THE BREWERY BRINGS ME

… which is the only thing we'll really be talking about anyway.

And finally, finally … this is a pet project to this one, and so don't be guilting us into regular articles because this shit is really cutting into our drinking time, dig?  

Okay, enough of this stupid blog post about a blog post, anyone got any suggestions for the first brewery, then?

Note: h/t to William and Chris for encouraging me to get off my ass, even though I hate em for it.




Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The End.

This is it.  This is the end.  The glorious fucking end of [An Avenue].

As my good pal Steven Morrissey likes to advise, 'Every proper band should have the decency to split' -- and I have always taken that to mean that every successful run should meet its sudden, yet permanent demise; requiring far more backbone to be undeterred by the unfinished dissection of the grand illusion and exit smiling.

Yes, I am off to do just that.  These are the metaphoric last bars of the closing anthem, a vow to extreme hiatus because, well, its the decent thing to do.  This place has done all that it can.

Leaving is really very easy.  The site's original intent was to help build awareness for small, local beer, and perhaps it has done just that.  The ancillary effect, however, is what made [An Avenue] great: The support of the local brewing industry for it.  Writing this blog has revealed the radiant insight into the culture of craft beer and those who proliferate it. Talent abounds at all stages, from production to publication, but even more notably, talent is supported.  Enthusiastically.  And for a state as enormous as this one, it still feels as if there is so much room for even more imagination.  The saturation perimeter is still so very, very far from being breached.

Craft beer's narrative has gone from the libatious outlier, to the unfriendly beer snob, to the consumer standard.  Its nearly infeasible that an establishment who cares anything about its clients wouldn't offer something artisinally crafted regionally or nationally -- often times strictly locally.  That is not a fad at all, that is a trend.  And trends tend to become habits.  One that we will all happily hang on to.

Financially, small beer in Austin -- and as a whole nationally -- appears to be entirely sustainable, which makes the silliness of writing a dinky blog about it a bit like the tail wagging the dog.  We had our fun here, our disagreements, our public grievances, our linguistic triumphs.  Most importantly, we've developed our friendships with people we will end up caring about for the rest of our lives. There are so many to recognize, and so whenever I see you again, I will have to shake your hand to let you know how much I appreciated the time you invested in what has happened here.  Without being too much of a loin-licker, sincerely, thank-you.

I do, however, have to single out my wife, Mrs. [An Avenue], because she was my dearest supporter and best research assistant, which is just one of the trillions of reasons why I am head over feet about her.  People always mention how she "let me do this", but she never saw it that way.  She was unbridled with encouragement, and that kept this place going for two years. Almost to the day.

  
So, yeah, this blog is leaving me in a better place than it found me 24 months ago.  It improved me.  It didn't help me fulfill an immediate dream to write professionally, but I discovered that such a thing doesn't even matter anyway.  What did matter were the millions of tiny triumphs along the way.  Like craft beer, I too am in a good place.  Perhaps the writing industry isn't as keen on small beer as the rest of us.  That remains to be seen.  They certainly aren't paying close enough attention to it, and they most certainly aren't paying many people to adhere.

And with that, Avenuelings, I leave you all with a few unresolved items on the way out:

1) This is, in fact, NOT the end.  If you haven't braved an episode of Draught Punk (Twitter) yet, you might be surprised how enraptured you might be by a depraved indie music + indie beer podcast.  It is where I will be for the foreseeable future.  We think it kicks ass.  We have almost no restraint, and we can show you the proof if needed.

2) In fact, [AA] began as an indie music + indie beer blog.  If you poke around the site, you will still see remnants of that.  As such, we are publishing our 9th Annual Top 101 (of 2013) at the bottom of this post.  Music is the lubricant that drives our desire to go next-level on getting breaded on great beer.

3) Will [AA] ever come back? Bitch, it might.

4) Yes, I do consider Goose Island to still make craft beer.  At least what they do on Fulton Street.  Its still made with artisinal commodities by people versed in small batch.  They've just got major funding to protect from insolvency, like that one team from little league who wore the pro-style New Era jams.  Yeah, fuck that team, but they were still 9-year-olds just like the rest of us.  You want to beat em at their game?  Do it better.

5) 2014 just might be better than 2013 in regards to statewide distribution of beer -- as well as the influx of nationally fapped-to brands reaching Texas. 

6) Thank-you for reading right now and in the past.  Do enjoy the music.  And drink what you want.

7) Yes, it is indeed celebration time.  Now I'm going to get fucking drunk, as one does.  Sounds like a pretty can't miss plan.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Where to Watch Football (World) and Drink Beer (Local) in Austin, Texas for the 2014 World Cup

So, um, fuck yeah. 

In less than a week’s time, everybody on the planet will be giving out exactly zero shits to work obligations, and instead, actively seeking out a nice, cozy pub in which to drink their burdensome nerves under the table, all the while, meshing curse words into superlatives and urging his favorite football hero to save this fucking country or else!

Here in The States, the tension is a bit more muted, but only just! 

Lately – at least over the last several years dating back two Cups now – has the broad valley of American ethnocentrism and cultural indifference been bridged by the curious marvel and metered patriotism for The Beautiful Game –  just as the rest of the world does for one month out of every 48.

Further still, this year's tournament is a merciful two hours time difference between where we stand right at this moment, and where the games will be played; a veritable reprieve from the unholy wake up calls when the World Cup was held in South Korea/Japan and South Africa.  

But this year we, and many others like us, will take full advantage of our geographic fortune and proceed to get shitfaced during normal business hours!  And because of this regional advantage, bars (actual fucking bars!) will be in full operation to help us be participant in our personal pursuit to massacre our vital organs and unreasonable stresses with alcohol.  Namely beer.  Good beer. (Because what kind of asshole would drink a gin and tonic during a football match?).

Because of these integral conditions of having world football on the television and good beer for consumption, we cannot entrust just any old bar to meet our (typically low, but for just this once) high standards, now could we?  This is a very rare event after all, and all of the macro american lagers in the country won't do it a lick of justice.  No not at all.

What we are requiring is a pub that will heed the gravity of The World Cup.  Bars with beer choices that compliment the importance of animate art.  But also bars that, while holding the form of good potables, also allow for the pledging of allegiances to the men of Argentina, or Cameroon, or by God, the USA.  And besides, do any of us really need more of reason to say fuck it when it comes to work than sports and beer?

So here are a hand-selected grouping of bars who meet the caveats of maximal World Cup viewing, which are 1) good beer, and 2) sound amplification of the televisions.  And while bar specials are nice, bar specials are merely fluff as long as they meet our first two stipulations.  



The Brew & Brew [500 San Marcos St. | 512.493.0963]

A craft beer bar (and café!) will head this list because it hits on all the proper elements like an upper-90 golazo from the top of the 18.  If that sentence is literally gibberish to you than know this, B&B serves 38 craft beers on draft to make you talk like a cleft-arsed English supporter by the 60th minute.  And if this paragraph still means nothing to you, then go and have yourself a latte, sit in the corner, and watch how the self-loathing Brits do it.  B&B promises projection for all matches with sound, a blackened viewing area for maximal viewing of Wayne Rooney’s poor touch, and Hops & Grain specials for every game!  Smashing!


B.D. Riley's Irish Pub [204 East 6th | 512.494.1335]

B.D. Riley’s also caters to the craft savvy, but functions far more as a sports bar in the rad-est part of downtown.  We won’t hold the fact that they typically operate as a Notre Dame and New England Patriots bar against them, because in doing so, they seem to both love and loathe America at the same time, which is essentially what the whole rest of the world does everyday.  To us, that is very World Cuppish.  B.D.’s promises to show all matches with sound on their big 70” screen.  They will have pint specials on semi-local, sorta-craft Shiner beers and others.

Haymaker [2310 Manor Rd | 512.243-6702]

NEVERMIND.  AVOID AT ALL COST. Mismanagement on crowd control and short pours on pints.  We gave them enough chances.

Hopfields [3110 Guadalupe St | 512) 537-0467

Apart from being one of our favorite every-day pubs, Hopfield's also assured that ...



which is pretty much all the convincing we need to take in a few matches at this campus area joint.  

Holy Mountain [617 E 7th St]

In every World Cup, there is always a breakout star whom sets the place ablaze with flair and aplomb.  My José Mourinho senses are telling me that Holy Mountain is this year’s Diego Forlan.  Just listen to their self-promo from their website:  

World Cup Watch Parties are happening on the Mountain starting on June 12th!  We will be open for all other matches, from those fabled early (long) lunch breaks (11am kickoff) and the “leave work a little before 5” efforts. Special guests will be joining our host Adi Anand to discuss all the action. Trivia before the matches and at halftime with chances to win drink tickets and more! We’ve got drink specials from Jim Beam, Thrilled Cheese food truck to ensure we stay the course, DJ sets & live bands, and plenty more fun and games!”

They’ve done so much of the writing work for me, that I can’t help to give them one of those above-head, post-game hand clap addressed to the supporters section.  Oh, and this:

“Ghana vs USA at 5pm. Happy Hour prices all night AND complimentary Jim Beam shots for everyone (21+) at the bar for EVERY US Goal.”

USA! USA! USA!

Mr. Tramps [8565 Research Blvd | 512.837.3500]

If Holy Mountain is the young upstart, then Mr. Tramps is the Zinedine Zidane of Austin soccer pubs; not flashy, but makes those around it better and has an excellent work rate.  A real winner.

They must be so busy being awesome over there that no one answered the phones to update us on their Cup specials.  But does it really matter anyway?  You are going here while your wife shops at SuperTarget.

The Mohawk [912 Red River St | 512.666.0877]

Will the best music venue in Austin become the best place to catch a footy match in Austin?  

We can’t say for sure just yet, but the idea of Mohawk displaying The World Cup in all of its glory to supporters fixed atop their concrete vistas is a supremely romantic and lets face it – engagingly European – way to show the games, what with the backdrop of downtown and plaza-style viewing.  We're in.

Mohawk promises signature cocktails, “bubbles for ladies” (ed: how WAG), IPAs lagers, stouts, and ales in the holy trinity of draft, bottle, and can.
 There will be craft hot dogs by Frank, and of course, multiple screens (indoor and out) with surround sound.  Please note, however, 21+.

Bar 96 [96 Rainey Street | 512.433.6604]

Bar 96 is probably our favorite “dedicated” sports bar in Austin because it is so unapologetically not a sports bar, but your step-father-in-law’s beach bungalow that has been lent out for the summer to his Jaycees frat mates.  Its old and new in many, many ways, with a few dozen TVs and a first rate garden area for lounging in the remorseful summer twilight.  

Bar 96 is also the unofficial (future MLS franchise – we hope) Austin FC World Cup viewing area.  Their beer is craft, but we would be remiss if we didn’t add that their very reasonably priced Lone Star Lite is a sometimes treat for us.

Black Sheep Lodge [2108 S Lamar Blvd | 512.707.2744]

The (older) sister restaurant to Haymaker is not as perky as her sibling, but she gets by very well on congeniality.  There are very ample swaths of viewing areas and a superior food menu to Haymaker, but sometimes Black Sheep slips up when it comes to providing sound for lesser matches.  Still, they do promise sound-on for bigger matches, a wide selection of craft beer, $1 off for wearing a team jersey, and a buck off any beer from the countries of origin who are currently competing on-screen.  For those Amstel Light meatheads, Holland takes the stage on Friday, June 13.
  
The Tavern [922 W 12th St | 512) 320-8377]

At a time not terribly long ago, The Tavern was a sports-veiwing dinosaur in terms of television quality, but dude, have they upgraded!  The Tavern boasts 55 TVs and promise full sound upstairs.  They report to have "beer bucket specials", which sounds menacingly like macro beer to us, but whatever, they have loads of craft taps and a general electricity that has been privy to all of the greatest sporting moments of the television era.  Oh, and they are also versed in dealing with the boisterous soccer crowd, as they host the Austin Aztex supporters group before every home match.  Good enough for us. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Right in the Stones: Camo Pale Stout by 5 Stones Craft Brewery

Over the last several years its been compulsory for many start-up breweries to inaugurate the chalk-boards above their freshly-printed tap handles resting behind their gorgeously repurposed bartops with an impotent India Pale Ale of sorts, maybe an inoffensive version of the brewmaster's collegiate go-to *Amber Ale (cloned from the 90's-alt-glamor of Fat Tire), and if the brewery is particularly plucky, perhaps a Belgian Blonde Ale, so that the company can deliver its most insipid pun to the bourgeois on the other side of the counter.

For pedantic beer jerks like myself, we often require a huge reminder that all of that is completely and totally acceptable.  Utterly and positively okay; encouraged, in fact.  These operations are dependent on the tit of sustainability throughout infancy -- especially considering that a brewery's distant success is gauged on the the immediate impact of angel investors, a motivated staff, and the dousing of the community's desirous thirst.  I'm cool with that.

As 'Ye informs, 'Ya gotta crawl before you ball'; and for those breweries shooting for preservation and survival before their desire for beer nerd rep -- a totally useless currency by any measure -- self-gratification comes in the form of the little things, like paying employees a consistent wage and, you know,  avoiding total insolvency.

Eventually, sure, the expectation of most beer zealots like myself, i guess, is for the brewery to progressively impress us and help us vent our livers during the nights and weekends.  Perhaps even surprise us with something hypeable or flashy or imperial or cellarable or something aged in a European hornets nest fermented with 100% Brettanomyces.  Nobody desires that surge of hype more than the brewers themselves.  It just takes a bit of patience from everyone, is all.

But every now and again comes a real non-conformist brewhouse who is sneaking illicit materials into the Freshman dorms and enduring to brag about it; a brewhouse whose creativity bypasses skepticism because our boundaries of doubt are breached by their compass of imagination.


5 Stones is a brewery located in the gray area of Pre-San Antonio, where one has to ease on the accelerator of the Honda or risk cavity spelunking by one of Texas' infamous highway patrol outfits.  It is also a geographical oddity for having produced turbo-boss runningback Malcolm Brown, right there in the middle of goddam nowhere.  Its one of life's big mysteries -- like how poor people all own iPhones -- that Cibolo has churned out both an exceptional football player and an exceptional brewery in 5 Stones.

5 Stones originally debuted with a wise little saison -- a very clear departure from the average amber ale -- cleverly named "0 Anniversary" to denote the fact that they intend to tear up your back 7 with the Power-I for many, many years to come.  That was their warning shot.

Since 0 Anny, 5 Stones has maintained its resistance to the IPA seduction, and has instead formulated a red ale, a quadruplet of Autumnal fruit beers, and the beer I am talking about specifically in this piece: Camo Pale Stout.

¿Pale wat?

Exactly.

For a brewery with its head down and focused -- so much so, that their website is painfully neglected of good info about their beer (how many people do they have over there, exactly?) -- 5 Stones has the worldly awareness of similarly insular artists, like a Francisco Goya or maybe a Win Butler.

Camo is indeed as white as a Montreal hipster, but because it was brewed with the traditional characters of a properly-pigmented stout, cocoa nibs, and espresso beans, it catches you off guard like a fucking butt slap.  Upon first pour, the beer is an open throttle of bombast: heavy aromatics, grounded bitters, and sweet carbohydrates.  It begins as a crazy foreign chocolate, may even a crazy foreign coffee.  It was really impressive.  Fucked up in the brain, but impressive.

But as I climbed through it, and examined its elevations and volumes and layers and valleys, it becomes a bit fat-tongued and a little clumsy.  Carbonation continues to be a fickle old fucking bastard, too.  Perfectly acceptable given the explanation on its window dressing - "Batch Number 1" and the presumed chemistry that had to be laid out to make it all possible.  Fuck.  This is really impressing me -- but in the way that you can see the depth of this brewery and the potential for its excellence despite its inexperience; squeaky laminate butting up to the groaning ancient floorboards, contemporary ideas in brewing meeting the wise old narrative of beer.

Camo is bursting with optimism, novelty without kitchiness, interesting and culturally satisfying.  I'm assuming that beyond impressing me with a developed amber ale from college, they'll instead impress me by improving a ridiculously fun beer.

And I'm down with that too.

Follow [AA] on twitter and listen to Draught Punk.


ABV 7.8o%
Acquired East 1st Grocery
Can I Find This in Austin? Not widely, best bet is the place mentioned above.
Album Pairing Neutral Milk Hotel | In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998)
☆ (in 2013)

*dibs on calling my start-up's first beer "You Remember Amber.  From College."  Too wordy?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What the Hell Happened at GABF?

Yeah, the title of this post is a bit misleading because it implies a singular event that might have dominated the interests of those who were in Denver for the Great American Beer Festival, when, in actuality, it was a compound of mind-melting events and zany antics for sure -- a festival, in the truest interpretation of the word: a feast of celebrations honoring saints and gods in which the liturgical calendar of everyone in attendance is (mostly) based, and partook by in every angle of the city: convention halls, nationally esteemed beer bars, Beerliners, bottle shops, and extraordinarily enough, ancillary pop-up festivals within the festival.     

GABF is like Christian Mingle for fat, bearded, drunky louts, iffin you can affiliate something like Rio Carnival as something religiously-based at all, which is to say that here, in the center of this country's beer Mecca, amongst the gassy cool dads making their annual retreats and turbo-millennials with at least three others from their Facebook, stand the Monsters of Brewing; the Gods of Fermentation, if you will.

In the center of the Great Hall, amongst the constant droning of its besotted human mass and against the complexions of 3,100 individually imagined beers, resembles the circus of repentant sin before the season of Last Suppers and enlightened reformations -- at least whatever tame mess a Space Shuttle hangar worth of drunks geeking out to something called "Sparkleberry" can get themselves in to.  The enthusiasm is both sweetly infectious and slightly disturbing.  But that is GABF.  It should be their fucking motto.


One of my favorite little occurrences in life -- and I don't want to misrepresent myself here as a person who desperately achieves lumps in the throat from simple, daily routines -- but one of my favorite little occurrences in life is when a beer glass can't take the girth of my 12 fluid ounces, and so to achieve maximum value from the beer purchase, I just kinda slam the final 1oz sip right out of the bottle. Fresh. Cold. 

Its like tricking a life rule -- final sips from their respective vessels are supposed to be sickly warm, not bright and biting, indicative of the beer's pasts and present.  Its a fucking glorious phenomenon.

That too, is GABF.

One ounce samples of greatness, one after the next, as many as your skill for breathing involuntarily allows.  Brisk and tricking life.  Its a world class experience.  Try it at home, then go ahead and book your flight to Denver for 2014.


My absolute favorite thing about GABF this year was the massive and proud representation we had from The Great State.  Texas represented 37 of the festival's 624 breweries, which, according to fuzzy Google calculations, is more than half of the state's active breweries, and like, a shitload more than many other states had there in this massive chamber of dreams.

In that, nine of those Texas breweries took home a grand total of 10 medals, including favorite sons, Austin Beerworks & StepCrew (see reference above) for their Black Thunder Schwarzbier.  A fucking gold medal beer, available right in your living room.  And they're bringing it all the way back to Awstin, Texas, baybee. -- Vince Young.


Beyond that, five other Austin-area breweries took home impressive hardware for their prodigious efforts, especially amazing in the fact that five of the six medal breweries of Austin are in their infancy.

Gold to Namaste Brewing for Bitterama in the Herb & Spice Beer category
Silver to Real Ale* for Brewers Cut Altbier in the German-Style Altbier category
Bronze to Black Star Co-Op for Elba in the Herb & Spice Beer category
Bronze to Jester King for Atrial Rubicite in the Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale category
Bronze to Pinthouse Pizza for Blind Jake in the Brown Porter category

* old ass, Texas flagship brewery

It is clear that Texas is improving their ability to compete, and above that, expecting to compete.  There was a clear and significant buzz around the Southwest Midway -- which in the past several years has expanded from a blinking stoplight town to a megalopolis of beer -- largely on the strength of Texas brewing. Texas Brewing.  I like the way that sounds.

And it was pretty awesome to witness the enthusiasm surrounding Texas' preferable positioning at this year's festival, which was probably not coincidental based on its 2013 hype.  I think everyone there probably delivered on that promise of something special.

I've mentioned it before, but Texas Row, including its satellite branch of free 12oz pours at the Beerliner -- a mobile beer bar driven from Austin, over the mountains, and planted in front of the venerable Falling Rock Taphouse -- resembles more of a Senior Trip than a Beer Fest.  We won't say we are sorry.


And with 5,000 total beer submission for judging between all the competing breweries, it appears that there is a ton -- I mean a fucking ton -- of confidence in craft brewing at the moment, not only with experimental beer, but with, as my pal Mike likes to say, "Keep the Lights On Beer", just as Black Thunder exists so that seasonals and exploratories like Sputnik and Einhorn can go all the way with me.  Oh, and along the way, why don't they  just pick up a Gold Medal while they're at it?

And while there were only a sippycup's worth of flops -- Odell Fernet Barrel Aged Porter stand out as the biggest offender -- there were gallons upon gallons of liquid salve that stopped the hemorrhaging from such a brain beating (Mikey liked it. No he did. He brought a bottle home to kill wasps with, presumably.).


An thus, the collaborate effort of mining GABF's best beers between two dudes on a 9am flight back to Texas with every other brewer and enthusiast and blogger hiding behind their Audio-Technica headphones ignoring hangovers.  Happily feeling shitty.  Knowing that we'd do it all over again.

10.  Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale | Cigar City Brewing | Tampa, FL
09.  White Chocolate Wheatwine | The Bruery | Orange County, CA
08.  Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout | Mother's Brewing | Springfield, MO
07.  Gone Commando Vienna Lager with Currants | Short's Brewing | Bellaire, MI
06.  Lobster Stout | Dogfish Head Brewing | Milton, DE
05.  Empire Spear Beer Asparagus Ale | Right Brain Brewing | Traverse City, MI
04.  Black Note Imperial Stout | Bell's Brewing | Kalamazoo, MI
03.  Duck Duck Goze | The Lost Abbey | San Marcos, CA
02.  Mosaic IPA | Community Beer Company | Dallas, TX
01.  Mexican Chocolate Siberius Maximus Russian Imperial Stout* | Wrecking Bar Brewpub | Atlanta, GA 
(*Major HT to @carlosarellano for pointing us into the brewpub pavilion)

(follow [AA] on twitter @anavenueblog, and @draught_punk for best in life podcast)