10 Beers to Add to Your Wish-list

10 Beers to Add to Your Wish-list

 Ok, before we start hearing the "but what about - Heady Topper, Sculpin, Founders Breakfast Stout, Founders KBS, or Pliny The Elder?" or "why not anything from Treehouse, 3 Floyds, Toppling Goliath, The Bruery, Perennial Artisan Ales etc?"

Firstly, this is not necessarily meant to be the '10 best craft beers in the world' list. This is simply an outstanding variety of beers you may have not tried (or even heard of). 

Secondly, we wanted to limit the 'white-whales' that are near impossible to obtain without waiting in line on release-day or shoveling out money on overpriced beer on auction sites like mybeercellar.com.

Thirdly, we also wanted to cut through the rarity bullshit, as rarity has frustratingly become synonymous with quality. 
Many breweries come out with a pretty great beer that people love, and only release a few thousand bottles a year. This becomes blood in the waters for beer-connoisseurs and somehow obtaining one of these 'white whales' after much effort and money deludes them into thinking it's better than it actually is.  

With that said, here's our list:

Higher Math 
Belgian Strong Golden Ale - 17%
by DogFish Head - Milton, Delaware

Higher Math 

This beer is strong. At a hefty 17%, one of these is like knocking back more than three of your everyday 5% beers. The cherries give this this beer a subtly tart finish, and you would never guess it was as strong as it is without looking at the label (or feeling it afterwards).

English Barleywine 11.3% 
by Firestone Walker - Pasa Robles, California


Sucaba is as about as good as Barely Wines get, and Barely Wines are awesome!

Imperial Stout - 14.5%
by Firestone Walker - Pasa Robles, California


Parabola is usually one of the first beers that new beer enthusiasts pursue, as it is outstanding and generally not that hard of a search to find since it's widely distributed. 

Bourbon County Brand Stout
Imperial Stout - (strength varies by year, but ~14-15%)
by Goose Island - Bourbon County - Chicago, Illinois


Goose Island's Bourbon County Brand Stout is the O.G. of white whales. Though it's not really a white whale anymore since it's distributed to nearly every state, it's been sought after every late November since the mid 90's. They come out with new variants almost every year lately, but the original and original + coffee are generally still the favorites. And let me tell you, every years it's worth the hype and search.

Dark Star - Bourbon Barrel Aged
Imperial Oatmeal Stout - 13.6%
Fremont Brewing - Seattle, Washington


Fremont's Dark Star is the King of oatmeal stouts, and the bourbon barrel aged is even better.  

Imperial Stout - Double 12.2%
a collaboration by Oskar Blues and Cigar City Brewing


This is a brand new beer born from a collaboration between Cigar City Brewing (makers of Hunahpu's and Double Barrel Hunahpu's) and boy, is it rich! Imagine drinking a heavy stout, sweetened with figs and date juice, then puffing a hefty amount of tobacco from a decent cigar... it's like that. You don't drink this beer, you experience it.

Imperial Stout - 13%
by Prairie Artisan Ales - Oklahoma

Many might be surprised to find Prairie Artisan Ales' BOMB! as our number 1 stout (probably because it can sourced online with little effort), but this is almost in a class of it's own. What makes it so special is probably because it's not brewed with a bunch of odd flavors like wood spirals, or spices you've never heard of or need a highly attuned palate to appreciate. It's straight up brewed with coffee, cocoa nibs, vanilla beans and chili peppers, and honestly, who doesn't love ALL of those things?!

120 Minute IPA
Imperial IPA - Double - 18%
by DogFish Head - Milton, Delaware

Dogfish Head is one of the most underappreciated breweries out there. Not only do they make Midas' Touch, which is a honey ale made with ingredients taken from samples found in beer pots found in Kind Midas' tomb, or Sah'tea (Sahti) which is a beer the Vikings would have drank, but they make several other delicious beers.

120 Minute IPA is loaded with hops and incredibly smooth. It is also one of the few IPA's out there that you can age, which you can generally only do with stouts and other dark ales. 

Westvleteren 12 
Belgian Abbey Quad - 10.2%
by Brouwerij De Sint-Sixtusabdij van Wesvleteren - Belgium

Westvleteren 12 (or westy 12) is still THE most sought-after Belgian Ale in the world - bar none, and they've been brewing it since the 40's. You used to only be able to get it directly from the monastery gates from the Trappist Monks of Brouwerij De Sint-Sixtusabdij van Wesvleteren in Vleteren, Belgium. Each person was only allowed one or two cases of beer every 60 days. They would even take down your license-plate info to make sure you weren't making too many trips. Nowadays you can actually find Westvletern beers online and have them shipped to you.

The closest beer you can somewhat easily find that is similar to Westvleteren 12 is St. Bernardus 12. In fact, up until the early 90's St. Bernardus and Saint Sixtus worked in collaboration.  

Pliny The Younger (and/or Heady Topper)
Imperial IPA - Triple - 10.25%
by Russian River Brewing

Pliny the Younger is the hardest to obtain on this list, but if you're in the right area (mainly the bay area/ Silicon Valley in California) at the right time in February, you can get your hands on it. It's the big brother to Pliny the Elder which is bottled year round and can be found with a little effort around the bay area.

Pliny the Younger however is a different animal. It's only distributed for two weeks in February and they don't even bottle it; you can only find it on draft (which is not a bad thing). This beer simply ravages your mouth with hops. Have a couple glasses of Pliny the Younger and your mouth will be tingling from hops for about an hour. 

We would equally recommend Heady Topper by the Alchemist Brewing in Vermont. It's a little easier to find as it's brewed year-round, but aside from that is the East Coast version of Pliny the Younger. We dare not equate it to Pliny the Elder, because it's almost unanimously renowned as better. 

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