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PorchDrinking’s Best in Beer 2018 | The Southwest Region

Vista Brewing Rosanna

The southwest region may be one of the most overlooked in terms of craft beer notoriety. One reason is that much of the beer produced in this region doesn’t get wide distribution. However, 2018 brought a lot of notoriety with big wins at GABF and some fantastic new breweries and beers. Here’s the Southwest region teams’ top picks from 2018:

Top 5 Beers Overall from 2018

  1. Public Brewhouse Soul of the Desert-A prickly pear lambic, barrel aged for 6 months (Tucson, AZ)
  2. Dragoon Brewing Company Orpheus-11.2% Barrel aged barleywine that’s as smooth as it gets (Tucson, AZ)
  3. Live Oak Brewing Grodziskie-resurrecting an extinct style, this smoked polish beer comes in under 4% beer represents everything exciting about Texas brewing (Austin, TX)
  4. Texas Ale Project Imperial Fire Ant FuneralThis Imperial Red Ale has the flavor profile of an aged DIPA with a rich and complex flavor that stands out in a sea of lagers (Taylor, TX) 
  5. St Elmo’s Brewing Company CarlIf I think about a beer I can return to time and time again, Carl Kölsch with it’s prefect execution tops the list (Austin, TX)

Top 5 New Beers from 2018

  1. Fire (New England IPA)-Pueblo Vida Brewing Company. As the name implies it’s straight fire. This IPA closed out their Citra + Simcoe series.
  2. Violet the Blueberry Blonde-Hi Sign Brewing. Making a name for themselves in a overcrowded Austin beer scene, Hi Sign’s Blueberry Blonde stands out as well balenced example of the style.
  3. Swifty (American Pale Ale)-Real Ale Brewing Company. A a refreshing revival of a classic American style.
  4. Flannel Samurai (Table IPA)-Arizona Wilderness & Modern Times. Move over session IPAs, this is a table IPA and it’s triple dry hopped. Easy drinking and low ABV, but they didn’t compromise on full flavor.
  5. Double Dry Hopped IPA-TUPPS Brewery. This IPA series flew off the shelves in 2018 with a bold punch of hops in each batch.

Top 3 Best New Breweries from the SW Region

  1. Family Business Beer Company Dripping Springs, TX
  2. The Brewers Table Austin, TX
  3. Vista Brewing Driftwood, TX

Top 3 Beer Fests in 2018

  1. Real Wild & Woody-An annual beer fest at the Phoenix Convention Center featuring varieties of wild ales, cask & barrel aged beers
  2. Texas Craft Brewers Fest-held in Austin, this is the state’s largest beer event focused exclusively on Texas-produced craft beer.
  3. Big Texas Beer Fest-Dallas’ original beer festival held at the Fair Park Automobile building featuring 100+ breweries.

Top 3 Non-Beer Fest Beer Events in 2018

  1. Hold Out Brewing Preview. The hype only grows for Hold Out Brewing location to open in downtown Austin. With their coconutless Coconut Porter  and extraordinary Pale Ales, this will be the place to watch in 2019.
  2. Austin Beer Guide Best of 2018 Awards Ceromony- frequently dubbed the “beer prom”, the who’s who of the Austin beer scene gather to celebrate the winners of the reader’s choice poll.
  3. North Texas Beer Week-not a festival per se, but certainly one of the most active and well attended beer weeks in the southwest region.

Most Significant Beer News from the SW in 2018

  1. Texas remains the last state in the union restricting beer to- go sales from porduction breweries, so the guild formed thier own Political Action Committee, CraftPAC to address Texas’ broken beer laws.
  2. Big Bend Brewing Company abruptly announced it is ceasing operations via social media after its brewing equipment manufacturer entered into receivership.

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