Hophead: My Favorite Beers of 2011

Written by Jesse Hughey for dallasobserver.com

​Here’s what passes for my year-end list, 10 of the beers that really impressed me this year, listed in no particular order other than roughly reverse-chronological. It’s late because I tend to do my heaviest drinking during the holidays. I wanted to be sure to include anything I tried up till midnight on New Year’s Eve; the tardiness is not at all because of a weeklong hangover combined with post-holiday depression rendering me nearly catatonic and completely uninterested in writing about … urp … beer.

Deep Ellum Brewing Co. brewmaster Drew Huerta is putting out some really good beer already, even with the brewery just a few weeks old. Festivus, a sort-of black IPA created in the wake of a brewery equipment failure that nearly rendered a huge batch unusable, was a fine holiday beer, but my favorite beer they make is the biggest: the imperial rye stout Darkest Hour. It’s just as dark as the name implies, with a nice dark-fruit sweetness and bracing spiciness and bitterness keeping the sugars in check. If you like dark beers, order some before it’s gone.

Maybe it was just in contrast to the burnt-rubber nastiness of Tactical Nuclear Penguin, but Mikkeller Barrel Aged Black Hole Cognac Edition was a wonderful deep, dark stout. The price was crippling at $20 a 12.7-ounce bottle at Strangeways (haven’t seen it in stores), but it was so lusciously rich and dark and strong I’d probably splurge on it again.

Deschutes The Abyss 2010, tried that same evening at The Common Table, was awesome, molasses and toffee and dark fruit swirled into an 11-percent ABV chocolate milkshake of a stout.
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