There are currently over 6,000 breweries in America. For context, there were fewer than 3,000 just four years ago. That’s insane growth. With those numbers, consumers have more options than ever before. That’s a great thing, but it also means it can be easier to miss good beers in the sea of suds. We drank our fair share of quality stuff this year to help you out—also because, well, we like drinking beer. Below is a collection of our 8 favorite beers from the past year. We tried to make it a mix. Some beers saw national distribution. Some were local gems. Some beers returned after years off and some appeared for the first time. These are the best beers we drank this year.

Trillium Affogato Imperial Stout

Earlier this year, Trillium teamed up with J. Wakefield to produce an imperial stout that mimicked the flavor an affogato, an Italian dessert of ice cream and espresso. It was easily one of the best beers we sampled all year, as the silky smooth stout was infused with coffee and vanilla notes that didn’t jockey for dominance. When we hear the phrase “dessert stout” or “pastry stout” we immediately think cloying and artificial. Affogato is neither. If more beers were as refined as Affogato, “pastry stout” wouldn’t be a derogatory term. Link Style: Stout / ABV: 13.3%


Burley Oak JREAM

I’m not going to pick out one specific beer in this series, because all have been incredible. Juice Rules Everything Around Me (JREAM) is a series of beers from Maryland’s Burley Oak Brewing that see the marriage of fruity sour and lactose, giving the beers a luxuriously thick body and creaminess. When we first tasted a JREAM (Apricot Raspberry) we noted that it tasted like drinking melted sherbet. We haven’t wavered from that proclamation after trying more. The beers are alcoholic smoothies with a mildly tart finish that conjures up images of fresh fruit. In 2018, make a trip to Burley Oak to try as many as you can. Link Style: Sour / ABV: Varies


Dogfish Head Oak-Aged Vanilla World Wide Stout

The Dogfish Head gang has never been one to play by the rules. For every 60 Minute IPA, you have a dozen beers brewed with bizarre ingredients based on recipes found on a cave wall or something. World Wide Stout was never unique because of the ingredients, but it was unique for the ABV, which clocks in at a body-warming 18%. This year, Dogfish Head played around with their big stout and brought some vanilla into the mix and let it rest in oak barrels. The result is, in our opinion, even better than the original. It might make for a quick night, but at least it will be an enjoyable one. Link Style: Imperial Stout / ABV: 17.5%


Prairie Bourbon Paradise

Let us first state that Bourbon Paradise is where we’d like to ride out our days. We imagine a mystical island where everyone unwinds with world class hooch every night. Until that utopia exists, we’ll settle for Prairie Artisan Ales Bourbon Paradise, which is a damn fine consolation prize. Bourbon Paradise is an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels with coconut and vanilla. While that may sound like something too decadent for the average beer drinker, Prairie pulls those flavors together to delight your taste buds in unison. It should come as no surprise, as Prairie’s Bomb is one of our favorite beers of all time and is a masterclass in balancing flavors. Dare we say that Bourbon Paradise is better? Link Style: Imperial Stout / ABV: 15.9%


Equilibrium Fluctuation

Equilibrium is a brewery we tried to put on your radar as 2016 was coming to a close. Now, a year later, we can report back that many people did just that. Equilibrium put out some of our favorite hoppy beer this year and drew large crowds every time they did so. Picking one is tough, but we’re going to and we’re going with Fluctuation, as it was one of the first we had and it’s stuck with us ever since. It’s an all Citra Double IPA that pack all those notes of mango and orange juice you’d expect in a body that’s creamy and velvety. Look, there are a lot of breweries in America doing this style of beer, and a lot of them are doing it very well. Still, when you taste an Equilibrium IPA, you understand there is another tier of quality. Link Style: Double IPA / ABV: 8.1%


Founders CBS

Canadian Breakfast Stout isn’t new, but it did return in bottle for the first time in the better part of a decade. It’s close to impossible for a beer to live up to the hype CBS had, especially when it rolled out nationwide, but Founders did a fantastic job here, as CBS is bursting with sweet maple syrup notes. Rich, velvety, and straight up delicious, CBS is worthy of the praise heaped upon it over the years. Here’s to hoping this becomes a yearly tradition and we don’t have to wait 1,000+ days to drink some of this liquid breakfast again. Link Style: Imperial Stout / ABV: 11.7%


Black Project Jumpseat

We had Jumpseat at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. Then we got in line and had it three more times and proceeded to try everything Black Project makes. It was all fantastic. Jumpseat is a golden sour that’s aged for a year and finished with hops for an aroma that’s bright and citrusy. It’s a meeting of worlds, as the tart and the juicy combine like Voltron. While the beer has been released sporadically for the last two years, it’s the first time it has ever crossed our lips and now we need to plan a trip to Denver to secure some more. Link STYLE: Golden Sour / ABV: 6.2%


Lagunitas Willettized Coffee Stout

Lagunitas has a few friends over at Kentucky’s Willett Distillery and that friendship has proven mighty fruitful. Willett gifted Lagunitas some barrels that once held bourbon and rye whiskey and the folks at Lagunitas filled those casks with a stout primed to soak up all those barrel notes. That’s just what happened, as Lagunitas Willettized Coffee Stout is one of the most barrel-forward beers we’ve sampled in recent memory. That’s because every drop of this beer was aged in oak, not stainless steel. Link Style: Imperial Stout / ABV: 11.7%

Brooklinen-CM-IF2-6-25

With their cozy sheets, blankets and candles, Brooklinen has more than taken care of all your needs in the bedroom–now they want to tackle the bathroom as well with their Super Plush Towels. After two years of testing textiles, Brooklinen has made towels that are strong, absorbent and luxuriously plush. With both traditional bath towel and larger bath sheet options–along with the requisite hand towels, washcloths and bath mat–you can deck out your entire bathroom in Brooklinen luxury without breaking the bank.