“Merry Christmas” greetings are now done for the year and we are on to “Happy New Year”. The end of the year is a great time to reflect on the past 365 days and for me that involves thinking about beer. The following are my 5 favorite beers from 2019. This list does not contain only beers that came out in 2019, but rather the ones that I drank that really made a lasting impression and will most likely be in my rotation for years to come.

Here is the list in no particular order

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale – Fresh on my mind and my palate is St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, a seasonal favorite for many. I love Belgian dark ales and St. Bernardus makes some of the best. The regular St. Bernardus 12 is always a favorite as well, but its spiced brother was particularly awesome this year. It is not a shy beer at 10% ABV, but it is very smooth for that high octane. It is a spiced beer, but the spices exist in such nice balance. Pick some of these up before they are gone!

Jack’s Abby – Post Shift – I am so glad that Jack’s Abby Brewing is now available in Colorado. For my money Jack’s Abby makes the best lagers from American as a whole. Post Shift Pilsner was the winner out of the bunch this year for me. A perfect beer for, well, post shift. Easy drinking and delicious, Post Shift was a daily chugger for me.

Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout – It took a format switch from 500ml bottles to 12oz 4pks for me to really get hooked on this beer. In my opinion this is the pinnacle of what a chocolate stout can be. This beer also probably has one of the best aromas of any beer soaking in all its chocolate goodness. It is easy drinking for a stout, but is also very flavorful.

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel – Dunkels Weissbier is an often overlooked style. Take the flavor profile of a Hefeweizen and add some dark malts and you have a Dunkels Weissbier, which in my opinion provides just a bit more complexity than its lighter brother. I have found no better beer within this style than the one from the world’s oldest brewery, Weihenstephaner. This brew reminds me of dark chocolate banana bread and is so refreshing on a summer day but can also work in the winter.

Dogfish Head Punkin’ – I am not normally a huge pumpkin beer guy. Don’t get me wrong I will chug a few every season, but this year was different. I went absolutely crazy for Dogfish Head’s seasonal delight, Punkin’. I don’t really know what it was about this beer. Maybe it was the perfect balance of spice for me. However, I think the base brown ale contributed hugely to my enjoyment of this beer. Hopefully it is even close to as good next year!

Happy New Year!

Dean LoRusso, Beer Buyer, West Vail Liquor Mart