2016 is just about to commence. Some of us are happy to see it go, but in the beer world at West Vail Liquor Mart, a tear is brought to our eyes as we recall some of the great new beers we saw at the store. This year was simply great for new available options, and it will only keep coming in 2017. There were so many to choose from it was very difficult to make this list. Here are my top 5 beers which were first available at West Vail Liquor Mart in the calendar year of 2016!
Pipeworks Lizard King Mosaic Pale Ale: When Pipeworks Brewing from Chicago first became available in Colorado, the stoke was very high. From their Ninja vs. Unicorn, a monster of a double IPA, to their creative assortment of 22oz bomber offerings, nearly every one of their beers came with insanely high praise and demand. In early January 2016, we received our first shipment of Lizard King, a Mosaic dry hopped pale ale. I immediately fell in love with this beer. It showcases Mosaic hops better than any beer I have ever had. Most of all the smoothness of this beer is unmatched for a hoppy beer. It is hopped beautifully, but contains very little bitterness found in some Pales and IPAs.
Breakside IPA: In the IPA world, to me there is no greater representation of the style than Breakside from Oregon’s amazing array of delightful IPAs. It was difficult for me to even pin down a favorite from these guys, however, the GABF gold medal winning namesake, Breakside IPA, shines through. With incredible balance and fresh hop aroma and taste, you cannot go wrong picking Breakside. Breakside beers are also a great value, usually around six or seven bucks for a 22oz bottle.
Odd13 Vincent Van Couch: It was also difficult to pin down the pick of the Odd13 litter. No new brewery has gained such a fast reputation and respect as Odd13 out of Lafayette, Colorado. They make every style so well and also put their own twist on everything they make. Their interesting can artwork may draw you in but the taste will make you a “Superfan” forever. I think the most unique and cool beer this year from Odd13 is their year round offering, Vincent Van Couch, a dry hopped sour ale available in 6pk cans. You get hops, you get sourness and fruitiness. This beer is not only really tasty but also surprisingly refreshing and gets a spot on the list for innovation alone.
Post Howdy: If you are a “Townie” in Vail, there is no doubt you have dabbled in Lafayette’s other awesome brewery, The Post. In contrast to their neighbors, Odd13, Post just makes really solid to style beer. It is refreshing to see a brewery that does not need to rewrite the book, but just makes really really good beer. Again it was tough to pick a favorite, but the Howdy Pilsner has gained maybe the biggest following of the options. Howdy is a very crisp pilsner with a little bit of hop for flavor. It’s very drinkable and also has great flavor. All Post beers are a great value at West Vail Liquor Mart, now moving to their $7.99/6pk price point every day for 2017! Yell Howdy at your buddy in the lift line!
Melvin IPA: From humble origins, Melvin, originally the beer for Thai Me Up restaurant near Jackson Hole, is becoming one of my favorite breweries. The IPA is blasting with hop flavors and went from being the new guy on the block to maybe my favorite IPA in the whole store. If you like IPAs with fresh hop taste and juiciness go with a Melvin. You will be very happy that you did. Melvin IPA and Hubert Pale ale will be available year round in 6pk cans in 2017. That’s one reason to celebrate tonight!
Stay Safe and Happy New Year!
Dean Lorusso, Beer Buyer, West Vail Liquor Mart