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Winter 2018, Issue 34

A new year is upon us, and with it come the sweeping changes we so quickly attempt to inject into our everyday lives. While New Year’s Resolutions are a dime a dozen, craft beers certainly fetch a prettier penny, and this issue of The Beer Connoisseur is stuffed with all the brew that’s fit to drink.

Seeing as this is our year-end issue wrapping up the action-packed craft beer news and reviews from 2017, our headlining story is 2017’s Beers of the Year led by an impressive 11 world-class concoctions that were rated above a 96 by our panel of judges.

For those 11 special brews, we asked the judge who reviewed them to revisit the beer and tackle the beer from a different angle than the rote technical deliberations of a beer review. We also asked the brewer responsible for that beer to answer a few special, year-end questions regarding each world-class beer of the year.

Jonathan Ingram checks in with a Connoisseur’s Corner covering the changing business landscape of the craft beer sphere, including the sizeable differences between competition, co-opetition and co-option, and how each one affects the industry to varying degrees.

New Holland Brewing Company’s Brett VanderKamp talks with Jim Dykstra regarding the state of the Holland, Michigan-based brewery that saw many changes throughout 2017, including dropping many stalwart members of its year-round beer rotation in the name of progress. VanderKamp’s thoughtful insights provide a window into the inner workings of one of the most well-respected craft breweries in America.

Rounding out our issue, we have BC judge James Link offering up 18 beers for wine lovers to enjoy, the differences and similarities of on-premise and off-premise business models in craft beer by Pat Evans, and an exploration into the immense individuality of each state’s beer shipment laws by Bob Barnes.

We also have a solid array of the usual beery goodness you’ve come to expect from BC, including new reviews, brewer Q&As for high-scoring brews and much more.

So be resolute and make the choice to imbibe more high-quality craft ales and lagers in 2018… we’ll be right there with you!

Happy Brew Year!

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The Original Craft Beer Club
Willamette Valley Hops


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From the Editor

Industry News



Top 100 Beers of 2017
The highest rated beers of the year reviewed by our panel of judges. Enjoy the brewers' perspectives and judges' second opinions.

The Best Breweries of 2017
Congratulations to 2017's brewers producing the highest rated beers collectively.

The Beer In Review 2017
A look at the best brews by the most populated style categories reviewed by our judging panel.

Abita calls on the natural resources of Louisiana to produce
beers as distinctive as the Creole and Cajun cultures.


Cicerone Certification Program Celebrates 10 Years
We chat with CCP founder Ray Daniels about the ups, downs and continued success of the Cicerone Certification Program.

Industry Outlook With Brett VanderKamp Of New Holland
New Holland's founder and CEO has a lot to say about the changing craft beer landscape, as well as his brewery's place in it.

18 Beers For Wine Lovers
Ditch the Merlot for Duvel and kick the Cabernet for a Quadrupel.





Is ‘Co-opetition’ at the Core of Craft Beer’s Future?
Connoisseur's Corner

On-Premises Retail vs. Brewery On-Premises
As more and more breweries open up, interesting and entertaining taproom experiences have become the norm.

Beer Shipping Laws Deconstructed
What's the legality of shipping beer across state lines? We discover the answer to that question and more.



Official Review
Single-blind reviews from our panel of experts. Featuring Rodenbach's Vintage 2015, Starr Hill's Double Bass Mocha Double Chocolate Stout, pFriem's Flanders Blonde and many more!

Brewer Q & A
Brewers share secrets of their highest-scoring beers.


Table of Contents