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50 Top-Rated Beers from 50 Issues of The Beer Connoisseur

Over the course of The Beer Connoisseur's 50 issues, our reviewers have imbibed a huge amount of beers. In this story, we will highlight the 50 Top-Rated Beers from 50 Issues of the magazine, starting all the way back with where it all began in Issue #1.

For reference, this list features beers that received the highest score in each of the 50 issues of The Beer Connoisseur magazine. Some issues did have beers that had the same score, so in that case, we chose the beer we thought best represented the issue.

Read on to stroll down memory lane with the best beers that each issue of The Beer Connoisseur had to offer. Cheers!


Holiday 2009, Issue 1

Out of Bounds Stout
96
Out of Bounds Stout
Avery Brewing Co.
American Stout

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Reviewed by Judge's Panel

Simply put, a transcendent beer that can fundamentally change the way one views bottled stouts. A deep, richly saturated mahogany, almost brown color is capped off by a high, creamy khaki-colored head -- this beer just looks appetizing. The aroma comes on strong, with big roast barley, French-roast coffee and bitter chocolate notes, followed by enticing hop aromas of orange peel, lemon zest and pine. Lee picked up some delicate traces of licorice, and Pete and Tim both commented on a notable alcohol presence. Intricate, complex flavor profile evincing, by turns, cacao, espresso, light caramel malt flavors and resiny, almost piney hop flavors. Assertively bitter from... CONTINUE READING


 

Spring 2010, Issue 2

Rare Vos
98
Rare Vos
Brewery Ommegang
Biere de Garde

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Reviewed by Judge's Panel

Just about as close to perfection as you’ll find on Earth, Rare Vos is a singular drinking experience. A sultry amber, slightly hazy brew topped by a velvety, creamy and tawny head, this is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the palate. Bold aromas of cinnamon, cardamom, licorice, plums, cherrystones and papaya leap from the glass. Tim commented on the hints of clove, brown sugar and caramel in the nose and noted that they all play together... CONTINUE READING


Summer 2010, Issue 3

 

 

Oude Kriek
99

Hanssens Oude Kriek
Hanssens Artisanaal
Fruit Lambic

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Reviewed by Judge's Panel

In the interest of full disclosure, this was a sample from my cellar that had roughly two years of age on it, in addition to the three-plus years it already matured prior to shipping. Still, this is truly a world-class beer, irrespective of its provenance. Hanssens has been producing some of the most widely acclaimed lambic, especially kriek and gueuze, in recent memory. This beer hits the glass with a deep, rusty, reddish-brown color and throws a very small, rather lacy head. The aromas that waft from the glass are rich with hints of almond... CONTINUE READING


 

Fall 2010, Issue 4

Modus Hoperandi
96

Modus Hoperandi
Ska Brewing Co.
American IPA

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Reviewed by Judge's Panel

In what seems to be a growing trend, Ska has joined the ranks of craft brewers packaging exceptional products in cans. Modus Hoperandi comes blasting out of Durango, Colo., tossing around massive amounts of hops while still remembering it is a beer rather than hop soup. The beer pours an inviting deep gold, almost tending toward amber, and it throws a prodigious, creamy-white head that lingers to the very end of the glass. An initial whiff of grapefruit in the nose is quickly supplanted by a firm resinous... CONTINUE READING


 

Holiday 2010, Issue 5

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier
98

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier
Brauerei Heller-Trum
Rauchbier

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Reviewed by Judge's Panel

Hailing from the northern Franconian town of Bamberg, Aecht Schlenkerla truly is the quintessential rauchbier. The aroma, redolent of rich beech wood smoke, pervades the room as soon as the beer hits the glass. Though pungently smoky, the aroma still evinces a slightly toasty malt character under the beech wood. The panel unanimously praised the intense yet deftly balanced smoke, with Rick likening the aroma to a campfire breakfast. Pete found the smokiness appetizing but was impressed with the luscious, slightly caramelly malt component lurking below. Pouring a brilliantly clear amber... CONTINUE READING


Spring 2011, Issue 6

Prima Pils
99

Prima Pils
Victory Brewing Co.
German Pils

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Reviewed by Judge's Panel

Since first firing up the brewhouse in 1996, the good people at Victory Brewing have continually delivered some of the finest beers in America, displaying their considerable skills in every bottle and keg that reaches their devoted public. Prima Pils, one of Victory’s flagship beers, is nothing less than the quintessential German-style pilsner, rivaling anything that Germany has to offer. The aroma, overflowing with flowery, spicy Saaz hop notes, permeates the room as the beer slips into the glass. Pete was immediately taken by the perfume-like hop notes, underpinned by the merest hint of peaches, that played counterpoint to a firm, cracker-like... CONTINUE READING


 

Summer 2011, Issue 7

Sorachi Ace
98

Sorachi Ace
Brooklyn Brewery
Saison

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Reviewed by Judge's Panel

Experimenting with the recently developed Japanese Sorachi Ace hop, Brooklyn Brewery delivers in a big way with its beer of the same name. Crafted loosely in the saison style, Sorachi Ace is a distinctive beer, showcasing all the bright citrus aromas and flavors the signature hop is so rightly admired for. Immediately upon pouring, Sorachi Ace suffused the room with intense aromas of citrus and spice. Tom lasered in on the intense citrus, likening it to fresh, zesty lemongrass and noted an almost ginger-like underpinning of spice... CONTINUE READING


 

Fall 2011, Issue 8

Harvest Ale
96

Harvest Ale
Southern Tier Brewing Co.
Strong Bitter

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Reviewed by Judge's Panel

Southern Tier heralds autumn with its annual release of Harvest Ale, a decidedly American take on the British classic – Extra Special Bitter. Southern Tier has never been bashful when it comes to hops and this beer is no exception. The nose brims with notes of pine, orange peel and hints of pineapple, yet some malt manages to fight its way through. Pete enjoyed the substantial orange zest and pineapple, but thought the toasty and light caramel corn-like malt helped tame the dominating hop... CONTINUE READING


 

Holiday/Winter 2011, Issue 9

Speedway Stout
98

Speedway Stout
AleSmith Brewing Co.
Imperial Stout

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Reviewed by Judge's Panel

Located in a quiet Mira Mesa business park, AleSmith Brewing has been turning out stunning beers since 1995. Speedway Stout is a monster of a Russian Imperial Stout. Clocking in at a mind-boggling 12% ABV, it’s not a beer to be toyed with. Speedway Stout’s aroma washes over the room in waves redolent of anise seed, dark chocolate, and French roast coffee. Tom zeroed in on the strong, espresso-like coffee notes and appreciated the deft balance between the roast and the lightly sweet malt underpinning. The bold notes of chicory... CONTINUE READING


Spring 2012, Issue 10

Hop Henge
94

Hop Henge
Deschutes Brewery
Double IPA

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Reviewed by Judge's Panel

After nearly three decades of operation, Deschutes Brewing is considered one the Pacific Northwest’s “Old Guard” breweries. Among its assertive brews, Deschutes keeps things interesting with the annual release of Hop Henge. Laden with swirling notes of tropical fruit, fog shrouded coastal forests, and even traces of brandy, Hop Henge’s aroma screams “hop driven.” Rick likened the alcoholic smack to “finely aged Armagnac,” noting subtle creamy, almond-like traces lurking just beneath... CONTINUE READING


Summer 2012, Issue 11

Rodenbach Grand Cru
94

Rodenbach Grand Cru
Browuerij Rodenbach
Flanders Red Ale

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Reviewed by Judge's Panel

... CONTINUE READING


 

Holiday/Winter 2012, Issue 12

Aventinus
94

Aventinus
Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn
Weizenbock

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Reviewed by Judge's Panel

One of the world’s truly classic weizenbocks, in constant production since 1907, the Schneider Aventinus throws around gobs of prune, banana, and warm, exotic spices as the aroma billows from the glass. Tim enjoyed the “enticing hints of clove laced with a faint herbal, heather-like” hop note, backed by substantial malt sweetness, almost candy-like. It reminded him of a “rainy day deep in the forest.” While he also picked out the clove-like aromas, Pete found traces of mace, and even a hint of cinnamon floating just beneath the surface. Pete did, however, feel the malt wasn’t quite strong... CONTINUE READING


 

Spring 2013, Issue 13

La Chouffe
96

La Chouffe
Brasserie d'Achouffe
Belgian Golden Strong Ale

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Reviewed by Judge's Panel

Deftly camouflaging its deceptive alcohol strength among layers of ripe fruit aromas and honeyed malt, La Chouffe from Brasserie Achouffe is truly a world class Belgian strong golden ale. Brewed in the Belgian Ardennes, La Chouffe’s nose is rife with notes of ripe banana, juicy peach, and just a whiff of white cardamom. Tom appreciated the aroma’s dominant notes of lush Bosc pear and hints of bubble gum wafting over “sweet, almost honey-like maltiness.” Beneath the initial malt blast, Tim teased out a “subtle note of succulent Asian pear” and praised the amazing... CONTINUE READING


 

Fall 2013, Issue 14

All Day IPA
95

All Day IPA
Founders Brewing Co.
Session IPA

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Reviewed by Judge's Panel

Somewhat of a dichotomy, All Day IPA is a “session” IPA, weighing in at a conservative ABV of 4.7 percent and sporting just over 40 IBU. With its low alcohol and bitterness, All Day IPA is a rather welcome refuge in a world teeming with strong IPAs, Double IPAs and enamel-stripping Triple IPAs. Rich, juicy tropical fruits dominate the aroma, all floating over a faintly nutty, Ritz Cracker-like malt. Tim was “blasted by fistfuls of guava, overripe pineapple, and bright tangerine zest.” Brilliantly clear and radiating from the glass with a fulgent golden glow, this beer boasts a mountainous, rocky white head. Adroitly balanced... CONTINUE READING


Summer 2014, Issue 15

Sünner Kölsch
96

Sünner Kölsch
Sünner Brauerei
Kölsch

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Reviewed by Owen Ogletree

Gorgeous aromas of sweet grains, flowery hops, restrained fruity esters and a honey-like hint are the groundwork for what’s to come in this beer’s flavor. Elegant malt flavors combine with refined noble hops, achieving a fi ne balance in this clear, golden-colored ale. Its crisp, clean flavors are well rounded -- an agreeable citrus/honeysuckle hop... CONTINUE READING


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