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Em Sauter’s Best of 2018

Emily Sauter, the author behind the Pints and Panels review site and author of Beer is for Everyone, shares her thoughts on what’s great in beer this year. Her insight into beer today is guaranteed to put some new choices on your list.

Em Sauter Nov 24, 2018 - 10 min read

Em Sauter’s Best of 2018 Primary Image

Top Three Small Breweries (15K bbl or less)

Wayfinder Beer (Portland, Oregon) I was told I had to go to Wayfinder Beer (by Modern Times, actually) when I visited Portland, Oregon. “Their lagers are unreal—they brew a Czech dark lager.” Tmave?! I have never been to the Czech Republic, and only recently are U.S. brewers (with a few outliers) getting into the Czech game (besides the famed Czech Pils). So in June, as instructed, I went down to have a pint of their Hidden Hand Czech dark lager. See, I do this thing when I have a pint that speaks to me; I drum the bar or table in front of me real fast after the first sip. I don’t know why I do it, but I do. And I did it with this beer, by myself, during a crowded lunch rush at Wayfinder. It’s one of the best beer experiences of 2018.

Fox Farm Brewery ( Salem, Connecticut)
Full disclosure, I’ve been studying for the Master Cicerone exam, and to get out of the house, I took Fox Farm Brewery Owner Zack Adams up on his offer to work a day or two a week in the tasting room of their farm brewery in Salem, Connecticut (near the “quiet corner” part of state).

The people in my home state have the NEIPA bug more than anyone else (this is a hot take, but I truly believe it), and Fox Farm’s are some of the best—luscious, full, and intricate but refreshing (my shift beer is usually in a take-home mason jar, and nine times out of ten it’s their “flagship” NEIPA, BURST). They also brew beers they want to drink (smoked Helles anyone?), and make sure their small barn brewery off a quiet farm road has a range of products to keep everyone from geeks to townsfolk coming back again and again.

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