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Top 10 beers in the world press

Big Red Coq, Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Jason Baldacci, writing in The Chicagoist, took a look at one of the many Belgian-Style beers that’s being brewed in the American Midwest.

Hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Brewery Vivant bills their Big Red Coq as a Hoppy Belgo-American Red Ale.

“Not so surprisingly,” writes Baldacci, “it pours a vibrant copper-red color in the glass, and the nose is loaded with a tropical, floral hop bouquet.”

As for the palate, “that hop profile comes to life in the form of bright citrus fruits and earthy lemongrass. While the hops are definitely dominant, there is a solid malt backbone that lends a nice, toasted grain note, along with a hint of toffee and plenty of spicy, Belgian yeast that gives the whole thing a hefty dose of character.”

Belgian beer, 6%

Latitute 48 Simcoe IPA, Sam Adams, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Chris Morris, for, writes on this expression derived from a Sam Adams series called Latitude 48, which “references the ‘hop belt’ that runs from the Pacific Northwest to Southeast England and Southern Germany, where some (most) of the best hops in the world are grown.”

“The Simcoe version stole the show”, says Morris.

Simcoe 48, as he calls it, “pours a medium copper, very clear, with a decent white heads that holds well with good lacing.

“The aroma has very little bitterness coming through, with a strong malty sweetness paired nicely with the fruit and citrus aromas of the Simcoe hop.”

And Morris continues, saying: “The fruits come out nicely in the taste as well. Grapefruit and lemon play nicely with the sweet caramel body.

“It could use a bit more bitterness to it to balance it out,” he says, “but it’s the best of the five and an overall nicely done AIPA.”

IPA, 4.4%

Abita Lemon Wheat, Abita Brewing Co., Abita Springs, Louisiana

Todd Haefer writes in USA Today about a beer that “uses lemon zest to great effect.”

“It had one of the most intoxicating aromas I’ve ever come across in a beer — perfumed, tangy lemon with hints of malt in the background. I actually spent a couple of minutes simply letting my nose enjoy this first encounter,” he enthuses.

“The look of the beer was just as impressive. It is unfiltered and its hazy golden color looked inviting, as did the white, creamy half-inch head that formed.

“So far, this beer was clicking on all cylinders.”

“As expected, the lemon peel flavor was pronounced, but quite different from beers that use lemon juice” he says.

“You get the lemon flavor and tang, but not as much of the intense sharpness. The fruit did not bury the barley and wheat malts.”

Fruit beer, 4.4%

Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale, Parallel 49 Brewing Company, Vancouver, Canada

Jan Zeschky, in The Province, gives a review that “has been a long time coming.”

“Gypsy Tears pours a dark copper with golden-amber highlights. It’s topped by a dense, rich tan head that laces on the glass beautifully.”

Zeschky goes on: “Noticeable from a distance is a lovely waft of juicy berry fruit,” with “bready and light caramel malt notes behind a sprightly orange-lemon citrus aroma with subtle green spikes.”

“Warm bread and lightly toffeeish malt notes are the first to wash over the tongue, which dries off a little to reveal a vein of subtle green herbs, while gentle citrus hops flavours play out above. A well-defined bitterness swells up around the sides of the tongue and contributes to a sumptuous roundedness. This lifts to leave a soft dryness. The beer overall is wonderfully soft in the mouth yet full in the mouth. Chewy, lightly bitter, subtle licorice malt notes remain in aftertaste.”

Dark Ale, 6%

Sir William’s English Brown Ale, Grapevine Craft Brewery, Farmers Branch, Texas, USA

Steven Harrell, for Dallas Observer, writes on a beer recently declared the best beer in Dallas.

He writes how “it pours fairly”, with “roasted malt on the nose.”

The flavour has “notes of vanilla creme balanced by a benign nuttiness.”

Brown Ale, 4.9%

Firestarter India Pale Ale, Bonfire Brewing, Eagle, Colorado, USA

Natasha Gardner writes in 5280 Magazine, writes on a beer that is “all bitterness at first taste.”

“So much so, in fact, that I almost stopped drinking; I’ve learned to sip, spit, and move on if a beer is off-putting. But something in the aftertaste made me take a second sip — and I’m glad I did. “

She goes on to write that “the brew has a murky amber color and pours out with a thin but lacey head.

“The bitterness that at first threatened to overwhelm my palate diminished, giving way to caramel and fruity undertones.”

And the beer’s “ruggedness” makes the Firestarter “seem like an ideal brew for the outdoors.”

IPA, 6.6%

Cicada, Yards Brewing Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Edward Sieger writes on this offering in The Express-Times.

Cicada gives “a slightly cloudy, deep copper hue. You’ll get just a touch of hoppiness when you stick your nose in the glass and breathe quickly and deeply.”

With an “interesting” body, the flavour gives “a malty background onto which some hoppy earthiness is layered. I think that earthiness might be, in part, due to the honey.”

“There seems to be a neat, orderly pattern to the flavors here: malty, followed by hoppy, finished with the earthy honey quality.”

“It offers a nice strong body, while not being overpowering. You know you’re drinking a beer, that’s for sure.”

IPA, 8.5%

White Lightning Belgian Ale, Full Pint Brewery, North Versailles, Pennsylvania, USA

Adam Conklin reports in on an “intriguing” beer that pours with a “moderately sized head with a light golden color to it.”

Flavour-wise, “White Lightning delivers a mild wheat flavor at the end of the taste.”

And “talk about smooth”, because “White Lightning is an incredibly smooth beer. Almost too smooth at first, it comes back with a crisp aftertaste.”

“A beer that doesn’t wear itself out,” it “becomes a fun experience in tasting.”

“It is a refreshing departure from those beers and can delight those looking for a crisp Belgian Ale.”

Beglian Ale, 6%

Kolsch, Santa Cruz Ale Works, Santa Cruz, California, USA

James Stafford writes in Paste Magazine about a kolsch that one has to travel to Santa Cruz, California to get, but it sounds worth it.

“Santa Cruz Ale Works kolsch is hoppy and clean, light-bodied and just a little lemony.”

“This is a beer that doesn’t hang around long – very little aftertaste – and doesn’t fight for the spotlight.”

Kolsch, 5%

Hargreaves Hill Pale Ale, Yarra Glen, Victoria, Australia

Chris Shanahan reports in about a pale ale from the Yarra Valley.

“Leaning more to the American than British style”, this beer is described as “full bodied and featuring strong hop aromas and flavours and a lingering, assertive hops bitterness.”

“The hops”, he goes on to write, “harmonise with the rich, smooth malt flavours, meaning a beer of great appeal and character.”

Pale Ale, 4.9%

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