Top 10 beers of 2009


Dallas Craft Beer Examiner

Of course, everyone puts out a “top ten” list this time of year, so break with tradition?

This list of mine is not necessarily of the best beers available commercially today, nor are they essentially new beers brewed for the first time in ’09. This is a list of what I consider the best beers to make their first appearance on the local North Texas market this year just past—beers worthy of not only a second chance but fine beers you should be purchasing on a regular basis.

10. (512) Pecan Porter. Only just recently trickling into our market, this offering by the Austin-based brewery is hopefully a good omen of more to come.

9. Big Sky Moose Drool. Already a staple and a legend in other states, this is a great, satisfying rich brown ale that I find really easy to drink any time.

8. Abita Andygator. I love bocks, that should be no secret; and this is a fantastic maibock made by an often overlooked brewery nearby in Louisiana.

7. Harpoon Leviathan (Imperial IPA). Harpoon debuted strong in our market this year, and their Leviathan series is a much anticipated addition.

6. Real Ale Shade Grown Coffee Porter. Neither new nor new to our area, this fall seasonal makes the list for being made available in bottles for the first time ever.

5. Belhaven Scottish Stout. What took Belhaven so long to think of brewing a stout? Bye bye, Guinness!

4. Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale. A surprise addition for a “best of” list, given that most entries are most often high-gravity and super-robust, but this is the amber ale executed just perfectly.

3. Rahr & Sons Bourbon Barrel-Aged Winter Warmer. Also not a new addition (especially as Rahr is a local brewer) but a return to using Maker’s Mark for their aging barrels plus a slight tweak of the recipe this year guarantees the “Whiskey Warmer” a slot in my list.

2. Fuller’s Prize Old Ale. A gorgeous, flavorful, complex beer that can really convince you to become a fan of the old ale style.

1. St-Feuillien Tripel Abbey Ale. I have a small spot on my mantle where I set the bottle of the best beer I’ve had recently, only to be replaced when something better knocks it off. This bottle is still on my mantle.

There’s my list (and it was a close contest between #1 and #2). Let the arguments commence, and have a safe and happy New Year!


Originally published December 30, 2009, at