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The Best 18 Beers of 2018

We were busy this past year tasting beers that were sent to our office, shared at a bar, brewery or pub, and poured at festivals around the world. It’s difficult but rewarding work and we’re pleased to present our editors picks for top beers of 2018.

Jamie Bogner , John Holl Oct 19, 2018 - 23 min read

The Best 18 Beers of 2018 Primary Image

Editors' Picks for Best 18 Beers of 2018

New Belgium La Folie 2018

(Fort Collins, Colorado)
In tasting beers for the upcoming wood-aged beer issue, our blind-review panel considered this beautiful evolution of New Belgium’s groundbreaking sour-beer program and was taken aback at the deep complexity that the rich malt provides this bellwether of American sour beer. The arc that La Folie has followed, from corked-and-caged and bottle-conditioned 750s to pasteurized and capped 22 oz bottles and now back to corked-and-caged and bottle-conditioned 375s, is an interesting one, and this new vintage feels like a homecoming in many ways—one, though, that’s informed by all the life experience they’ve gained along the way.

In an era where most brewers and consumers have skewed toward pale and golden sours, La Folie 2018 is a reminder that malt matters, and the dark currant and dried-cherry notes from the fermentation perfectly complement the toasty bread crust and mocha coffee of the malt. The result is a beer that’s earthy yet crisp, with a bright acidity and lingering notes of tart fruit and woodsy funk. The blend is masterful, as always, and the living beer should continue to develop in interesting ways for a few years to come.

Best in Beer Braupakt 18-09-14 CBB Issue-29-474

Weihenstephaner and Sierra Nevada Braupakt

(Freising, Germany)
When two of the world’s best breweries get together for a collaboration, there’s an unbelievable amount of pressure to score a perfect 10. In the case of Braupakt, a hefeweizen made by Weihenstephaner and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. that was released earlier this year as a limited offering, the needle was pushed to 11. German precision and American inventiveness brought forth this sublime hefeweizen that, yes, offers up the notes of banana and clove that we’d expect, but also adds in touches of warm ripe orange, dried apricot, and fresh white peach. A dosing of Chinook adds slight bitterness and grapefruit, bringing together all the flavors into an almost creamy mouthfeel and a desire to order another liter and Prost! with friends.

3 Scoops 3 Way 3 Fonteinen 18-09-14 CBB Issue-29 images-538

The Answer Brewpub 3 Scoops

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Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].