On Tap

The New Beers We're Absolutely Drinking This Year

Published On 02/09/2017 Published On 02/09/2017
celebratory beer
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Movie lovers keep an eye on what's about to be released later in the year. They revel in each new film's announcement and get excited to see it. So if you love beer, why are you still buying the same damn brew every time you go shopping? You're drinking the craft equivalent of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel year after year after year! It's time to get excited about the new beers coming out this year.

We got the lowdown on all the beers to be released throughout 2017 that you're going to want to pick up. From Belgians to sours to fruit beers aged in gosh dang maple barrels, here are the beers to get excited about in 2017.

Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada Sidecar

Pale ale, 5.3%
Chico, California
Release date: On shelves now
Heaping any more praise on the classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale would be as pointless as giving a Nobel Prize to an actual Nobel Prize. But we will say, since it's giving us a pale ale but adding a touch of orange peel that brightens the finish without making it taste like you're drinking orange juice mixed with beer, we're going to try to give this beer the Nobel Prize. Shit, we're mixing metaphors again. Bottom line: If any brewery has earned the right to hop on the hoppy fruit beer train, it's this one. We're excited to see it churn out a few more beers in this style posthaste.

Avery Tangerine Quad

Belgian-style quadrupel, 10.1%
Boulder, Colorado
Release date: On shelves now
This is a guaranteed hit for anyone who considers themselves a fan of superb Colorado-based breweries and Belgians. Beers, not Van Dammes. Though we bet Jean-Claude would dig the tangerine and vanilla notes (thanks to the bourbon barrel-aging) in this sucker. This beer is new for 2017, but since this is part of the acclaimed Botanicals & Barrels series, the bar for this brew is set pretty dang high.

Perennial Working Title

Belgian-style pale ale, 6.2%
St. Louis, Missouri
Release date: On shelves now
Sour beer dorks should be on high alert for this brand-spanking-new Brett-conditioned beer, one of four Perennial promises to release by the end of the year. The brewery says it's a dry-hopped, Belgian-style pale with Pilsner, Vienna, and wheat malt, but the star of this brew is the Brettanomyces Bruxellensis. The Brett imparts "earthy funk and pineapple," which basically translates to mean "you will dream about this beer when you rest your head on the pillow tonight." The more funk in America's beers, the better.

Founders Frootwood

Fruit beer, 8%
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Release date: On shelves now
It's rare to see a brew available in both 12oz and 750ml bottles, but Founders seems to have this whole brewing-beer thing figured out, so we're not going to quibble. Lest you think New Glarus is going to be the only Midwestern brewery releasing solid fruit beers, Frootwood is a cherry ale, and the first of six barrel-aged beers Founders is unleashing in 2017. It's been barrel-aged in both bourbon and maple syrup barrels, so expect to taste charred oak and vanilla. This sure sounds like a beer you'll definitely want to drink All Day. (Sorry.)

Deschutes Pacific Wonderland Lager

Session lager, 5.5%
Bend, Oregon
Release date: On draft now, in cans late spring
OK, here's some beer nerd trivia. What are Hallertau Herkules, Hallertau Mittelfruh, and Tettnang Mandarina? If you think they're Game of Thrones characters, you're wrong! They're actually hops, all of which are present in this dry-hopped beer that the brewery says captures the spirit of the state. Somehow with all those hops, it's still only 37 IBUs. That means you can sit down with a 12-pack of these cans and some friends and have a fun night. But you'll have to wait until spring, because while it's been on draft since January, canning takes some time.

SweetWater Brewing Company

SweetWater Grass Monkey

Wheat ale, 5.4%
Atlanta, Georgia
Release date: February
Session ales are all the rage these days, and a 5.4%, 35-IBU wheat ale from the venerable Atlanta brewery certainly fits the (malt) bill. This lemongrass-filled, citrusy brew has piney and grassy notes; it damn well better have 'em with a name like Grass Monkey. And because of that, it looks to be a solid sipper for any nice spring day. It might also make sense to pair this brew with music. Why? The label bears a cheeky phrase: "That funky monkey!" Here, we'll save you a YouTube search.

Dogfish Beer To Drink Music To '17

Tropical blonde, 6.8%
Milton, Delaware
Release date: February
Record Store Day is that special day when people born in the era when CDs were popular flock to vinyl shops to buy music on another obsolete music format. Just kidding, it's a great nationwide event. Dogfish is brewing the official beer for that perfect day, offering up a brew complete with citrus and grapefruit notes. Oh, and because the Delaware brewery refuses to make any boring beer, this is brewed with kiwi juice!

Burial Winnower

Porter, 6.5%
Asheville, North Carolina
Release date: February
While this has been available in the taproom previously (and was a huge staff favorite), when Winnower debuts in cans it will mark the first time beer nerds not physically in the taproom will get a chance to experience it. We bet you can guess what this will taste like when you read two of the major ingredients: 300lb of cocoa nibs and hundreds of pounds of fresh raspberries. And Burial is betting you won't be overcome with too much cocoa-and-raspberry flavor to discard the beer after a few sips -- it's being released in a 16oz can. We wouldn't bet against it.

Cigar City Marshal Zhukov's Penultimate Push

Imperial stout, 11.5%
Tampa, Florida
Release date: March
The best damn brewery in the entire phallus-shaped state of Florida has actually released this beer before. So this beer, named after a World War II general who helped end the conflict, is not new. But we're including it in this rundown because it's never been distributed before, and the brewery told us this is the beer it's most excited to release in 2017. We're excited too: Considering Hunahpu's is an imperial stout people sell their souls to acquire, the brewery has clearly nailed this style. The main ingredients in this here stout are coffee beans, cacao nibs, and vanilla. Prepare to sell your soul.

Hoppin' Frog Barrel-Aged T.O.R.I.S. The Tyrant triple oatmeal Russian imperial stout

Imperial stout, 13.8%
Akron, Ohio
Release date: March
Based on Hoppin' Frog's ability to make its absurdly delicious stouts even more delicious once they've been stashed in bourbon barrels, there is no doubt this beer is going to be a real slam dunk. That reference is appropriate because LeBron is from Akron. Like Drake said, "This shit a mothafuckin' lay up." SWISH. OK, we're done. But for real, this crazy-roasty chocolate bomb is enhanced with vanilla and whiskey notes. We should make it a law that every good stout has to also be released in a barrel-aged version. We're getting our wish with this one in March.

Trillium Anniversary Beer

TBD, ???%
Boston, Massachusetts
Release date: March
To illustrate how influential and important Trillium is in craft beer at the moment, we're going to tell you a story. We reached out to the brewery to ask for help in selecting one of its new beers for 2017 that could be impactful. A brewery rep told us that it's brewing an anniversary beer to celebrate four years of being in business on March 21. The recipe, name, and can design are not set in stone yet. We were only told that it's a "celebratory beer." But we've gotta publish this frustratingly vague info, because you know this beer is going to be fantastic. Why aren't you waiting in line for it yet?

Breakside Something Wicked

IPA, 6.7%
Portland, Oregon
Release date: August
Ben Edmunds, Breakside's brewmaster, has excellent taste in beer. Another case in point: He's clearly a fan of the New England-style IPA, every hophead's new favorite style. His fandom will become even more clear by late summer, because he's releasing his take on an NEIPA in 22oz bottles (and on draft). Edmunds describes it as a wheat-driven IPA, one heavy on the Mosaic hops. And of course that hazy glow you've come to expect.

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Lee Breslouer is a senior writer for Thrillist, and would like one of each beer. Follow him to positive life choices @LeeBreslouer.

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