Brewer's List: Five on Five

Game recognizes game. Here, we’ve asked five of the country's most accomplished brewers for their favorite beers of the past year.

Craft Beer and Brewing Feb 20 - 4 min read

Brewer's List: Five on Five Primary Image

Ronin Fermentation Project Brain Food

“It is a 4.4 percent ABV beer made with California malted barley, some raw barley, and raw wheat. Thirty percent of the raw grains were treated with mutant Koji (the ingredient used to make sake) that owner Charlie Johnson procured from Japan. Initially, it is open fermented in oak puncheons, and after that it goes to barrels where it gets a cocktail of Brett strains as well as some dry hops. Balanced notes of lemon peel, slight grassiness, candied lemon, and some nice ripe stone-fruit notes (which I suspect come from the Brett) make for an enjoyable beer with low ABV and delicate, subtle notes. Ronin Fermentation Project is an up-and-coming brewery to look out for.”
—Vinnie Cilurzo, Owner/Brewer, Russian River Brewing Company, Windsor, California

pFriem Family Brewers Pilsner

“Pfriem Pilsner is without a doubt one of my favorite beers of 2019. Full of big but delicate flavor, if that makes sense, and very balanced. Lager is super hot with professional brewers right now, and while I love them, I don’t favor them over other styles, but this is just a great beer in any category.”
—Sam Richardson, Cofounder/Brewmaster, Other Half Brewing Co., Brooklyn, New York

Kent Falls Brewing Yeesh!

“I had several tasters of Yeesh!, Kent Falls Brewing’s Czech-style (or Czech-inspired) Pilsner at Shelton Brothers’ The Festival in Buffalo, New York. It’s a single-decoction pale lager brewed with Endeavor barley grown in Bouckville, New York, and malted at Valley Malt. Barry had just made the transition from pellets to whole-cone hops, to which he attributes delicate depth of hop aromatics and balanced, gentle bitterness layered on the perfectly executed beer. What a stunner!”
—JC Tetreault, Founder/Brewer, Trillium Brewing, Boston, Massachusetts

Zillicoah Beer Company Mother Vine

“This mixed-culture saison with wild grapes uses scuppernong grapes to be exact, which is a North Carolina state fruit (a native variety of muscadine grape and one of my favorite things in the world). The overall flavor of this beer is juicy, sweet/tart, funky, spicy, fruity. It’s one of those rare beers that is complex, bold, and boundary-pushing all the while being reserved, subtle, and refined. The Zillicoah guys are as skilled at their craft as they are genuinely nice humans. Refreshing indeed.
—Lauren Limbach, Wood Cellar Director, New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, Colorado

Grains of Wrath Vienna Lager

“This beer is everything you could want from a well crafted lager—brilliant clarity, clean, smooth, and thirst-quenching, plus a level of nuance that makes you crave another sip. And I’m not the only one who thinks this—it has already won two medals at the Great American Beer Festival. Quite a feat as Grains of Wrath is only two years old. Cheers!”
—Adam Robbings, Cofounder and Brewmaster, Reuben’s Brews, Seattle, Washington