the na beers of 2021

what’s in my fridge right now

well as you likely noticed (or maybe no one noticed cuz i’m pretty sure no one reads this blog), at some point last year i lost steam with my non alcoholic beer reviews. i’d even made a spreadsheet and everything to keep up with all the beers i’d tried and managed to get to 70 before completely abandoning it all. (i’ve definitely tried at least a dozen more since then.)

what happened? well nothing really. i guess it just got so routine to be able to order a wide variety of na beer from various craft breweries online and have it all shipped to my door that perhaps it wasn’t as exciting as it was when i was first starting out. it also got REALLY expensive and i had to curb my habit a bit. (there was also the matter of a little hurricane called ida and its aftermath, which definitely derailed me for a few months.) but it doesn’t mean i ever stopped trying new brews or drinking my favorites, i just slowed down a bit and simultaneously stopped writing about it.

so here at the beginning of a new year, and prompted by one of my facebook na beer groups, i thought i’d do a top 10 of 2021 list. i’m not gonna rank them in order cuz that feels too hard but on the facebook group they asked for a top 5 and once i’d written it down i kept thinking of others that i thought should be on the list… so i’m just gonna go for 10.

athletic brewingcerveza athletica: i love this beer because it is smooth, light, easy drinking, malty and not hoppy, and goes great with every kind of food. to me it reads like a light amber kind of beer. abc calls it a copper. i’m really not sure why they gave it a mexican name because it does not remind me much of mexican beer (dos equis amber would be the closest but this is much better!), but whatever. i have found over the past 12 months that it is the beer i run out of fastest, that i grab for the most in the fridge, and that never disappoints me. it has even eclipsed athletic’s upside dawn as my favorite of their beers!

wellbeing brewing / 4 hands brewery – liquid rain: this collab was brewed as part of the things we don’t say IPA campaign, for a mental health/suicide prevention project called hope for the day. they call this an ipa but as with many ipas in the na world, it doesn’t taste like an ipa to me. it’s not bitter hoppy and in fact the IBU is only 10! instead it’s fruity (pineapple, peach, apricot) but not overly sweet. smooth but complex and just really unique. i was so glad they kept making this beer after the initial batch sold out as it’s been a staple in the rotation. (sadly not currently for sale on their site but i still have a few in my fridge.)

rightside brewingcitrus wheat: i love a good wheat beer and a citrus wheat even more. this one just does it for me on every count. you immediately get the citrus in the nose as soon as you pour it, and it’s got a solid malt backbone to make it smooth going down. and that color! just gorgeous. i love supporting a woman-owned brewery and a sister southerner too. (they are based outside atlanta.)

athletic brewingrainbow wall: i almost forgot about this one until i saw others putting it on their lists. rarely do i like a beer that has a bit of a bite to it but this one just worked for me. of course i loved that it donated all proceeds to an lgbtq+ group called athlete ally. and i love a blood orange beer. more of my thoughts on this beer here. really hoping they bring it back for pride month this year.

athletic brewingdave’s american dark malt: when i was drinking alcoholic beer, i always loved a dark beer. porters and stouts and black lagers were my favorites. so i was super psyched this porter turned out to be awesome. not overly sweet, a little dry, just perfectly balanced. chocolatey, hints of roasted coffee, and a low IBU = perfect for me. i think i’m on my 3rd or 4th six pack of it already. sad to see it currently out of stock.

ceria brewinggrainwave: definitely one of my staples of the year, from the brewmaster of blue moon. this non-alcoholic belgian white definitely has some blue moon vibes but isn’t a clone; it’s got its own unique thing going on. i don’t always keep it in my fridge but i sure would be delighted to find it at my fave local restaurant or bar. it pairs really nicely with all manner of food. my initial thoughts here.

mikkellerraspberry limbo: i like fruity beers but am not entirely a fan of the sour genre, so it’s hard finding one that i like or that i don’t have to cut with ginger ale. i got the opportunity to try this one thanks to NA Brews (RIP) as they sold singles and i was really glad i did. full review here but i do wish it was easier for me to get my hands on.

wellbeing brewingintrepid traveler coffee cream stout – this one is a seasonal beer only available in the winter months. this dark brew has a lot going on, including dark roasted coffee vibes (including caffeine!), cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and lactose. i have to kind of be in the right mood for it but when i am, i really love it!

wellbeing brewingvictory wheat: this beer literally got me through the hottest of the summer months. sometimes i’d bring one along with me in the car while dog walking, as it’s chock full of electrolytes, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. but also, it tastes great! thirst quenching, hydrating and delicious!

athletic brewingcream ale: this one was part of athletic’s pilot brew program and so was only available for a short time. but i really loved it and wish it was available more often. smooth, malty and refreshing, it was everything a cream ale should be, just without the alcohol. hopefully they will make this one again.

there’s probably a handful more beers i could add to this list but i will stop. can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store!

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