Monthly Archives: December 2015

Fantasy Draft 2015


It’s the end of the year and I have not yet done my Fantasy Draft for 2015! Fantasy Beers, that is.

Since today is Thirsty Thursday and New Year’s Eve, I found it rather appropriate.

And so it goes… My six-pack pick of beers that I’ve loved in 2015.

And just as a reminder, these are not necessarily the best beers I’ve had this year. Some may be, but others might have just surprised me or stood out as unique! Plus, I have a few rules…


Rules for Fantasy Draft:

1) No repeat beers from previous years. (Although I still love all of those!)

2) No repeat breweries within the same six-pack. For example, even if I am in love with two beers from say, Central Waters, I can only include one.


Fantasy Draft 2015


Hibiscus Sour – Fair State LÄCTOBÄC: Two (MN)

This was the year of sours for me! I hadn’t understood them when they first became wildly popular, but I’m learning to enjoy them more and IMG_4074more. Fair State is a local brewery that I have not yet visited, nor had I had any of their beers before encountering the Hibiscus Sour at Stanley’s NE. It had all of the sour flavor with a nice infusion of hibiscus. The thing is that Fair State Brewing not only seems to be known for sours, but they change it up with a new one in this “LÄCTOBÄC” series of lactobacillus-soured beers. So who knows if we’ll ever see it again. I had number two. At the time of this writing, Fair State’s website shows that they are on number Eight: Salted Watermelon Gose.




Yes, you read that description in the photo correctly. First, I’d like to announce that the Indeed Rum King should have gone in a Draft long ago. But this stout is a little something extra special. When it comes to barrel-aged beers, Indeed does them right over and over again. I mean, that gorgeous night in September we also had a Barrel-Aged Door County Cherry Sour. Seriously.


Central Waters Call Me Old Fashioned (WI)

Visiting Central Waters was a pilgrimage of sorts for me this year. It really pains me that rule #2 is forcing me to choose between this beer and the Headless Heron Barrel-Aged Pumpkin Spice Ale.


Central Waters knows how to make bourbon barrel beers! I ultimately chose the Call Me Old Fashioned because it screams “Wisconsin!” and I’ve only had it twice. It’s something special because you probably have not had an American Red/Amber Ale aged in whiskey barrels with oranges and maraschino cherries. Have you? Plus, it’s never been bottled. It’s not even listed on CW’s website. Will we see it again? I don’t know. But I do know that in the late fall, I can find the Headless Heron at the liquor store down the street. So I’m glad I got to enjoy The Old Fashioned in case it isn’t released again.


Not Your Father’s Root Beer (IL)

The first time I saw this stuff advertised, we were at a local sports bar. I looked across the room and on the wall a poster read “NOT YOUR FATHER’S ROOT BEER Beer” in big, bold lettering. I thought to myself, “But what is it!?”

I understood that this was a hard root beer, but I was confused that the tagline “Not Your Father’s Root Beer” was easy to read, without a trace of the name of the beverage anywhere.NYFRB

But that is the name, silly!

This stuff is scary. It is nostalgic – very reminiscent of that root beer from your childhood. That’s all well and good; but it barely, if at all, tastes alcoholic. I love it. But I fear drinking too much of it. I’ve never had more than one in an evening. But generally, if drinking a sweet soda, I rarely would have more than one of those either.



Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat (MO)

I fully admit that I will put beers that are created by breweries that mass produce in my draft lineup. Sam Adams Cherry Wheat has been on my list in years past. But the interesting thing about this beer is that I don’t even like Shock Top beers. I encountered this one at a St. Paul Saints game about two years ago {before the new stadium}. It was German night and they had a few specialty beers on tap.Twisted-Pretzel-Wheat-6-Pack

Pretzels and beer are an age-old common pairing, so how could this version not work.

I fell in love with it that night. But knowing it was a Limited Edition, I thought I’d never see it again. That was until I saw it advertised on my iBotta app this fall, offering a rebate on it. I hadn’t even ever thought of searching for it in a store! And sure enough, a trip to Total Wine yielded me a 12-pack. I once again remembered why I loved it so. I never even eat pretzels with beer. But this one just works. It’s one of my dad’s new favorites, too, since I’ve introduced him! Even my husband, who is not a fan of wheat beers, whole-heartedly admits that this one is stellar.


Castle Danger Sommelier George Hunter Stout (MN)

Our visit to the North Shore on a brewery tour, introduced us to Castle Danger, beers from which are just starting to make its way down to the Twin Cities.


Castle Danger really knows how to barrel-age their beers as well. {See a theme here?!} But they also make them unique. They’ll often start with their basic (but the taste is anything but!) George the Hunter Stout. A bourbon-barrel aged George will produce Gentleman George Hunter. However, what was even more exciting was the Sommelier George Hunter is George aged in Napa Valley red wine barrels! And it tastes fabulous.

Coming over to my house?

Pick up any one of these beers and you’ll win me over.


And just in case you are curious, here are my picks from previous years:

Fantasy Draft 2013
Fantasy Draft 2014

What was your favorite new-to-you beer this year?

Happy New Beer Year!