As we leave 2017 behind, let us count our blessings and be thankful for the beer we drank and for the beer we will drink! Here are the five craft beers that had us coming back for more.
1. THE PATSY
This coconut rye stout is Barley Forge's flagship beer, rich in flavor with six different malts and plenty of toasted coconut. The Patsy (6.6 percent ABV) is our go-to stout on a brisk winter evening. Dark chocolate, rye and vanilla all combine for a brilliant clean finish—think liquid Almond Joy. Pro tip: Ask Barley Forge to pour it over some vanilla from Han's Homemade Ice Cream. 2957 Randolph Ave., Ste. B, Costa Mesa, (714) 641-2084; barleyforge.com.
2. LA TARTE CERISE
Sours are an acquired taste, but once you've tasted this cherry sour, you'll want to acquire as much as possible! Hoparazzi Brewing is small in size, but big in quality and variety. Its signature La Tarte Cerise (5.5 percent ABV) is cherry-forward with just the right tartness and a clean finish. 2910 E. La Palma, Ste. D, Anaheim, (714) 204-0655.
3. HIDDEN HOLLOW KENTUCKY COMMON
This is a pre-prohibition-style beer that would have satisfied the thirst of the hard-working blacksmith or been served in saloons on the Wild West frontier. Ten Mile Brewing did its research, uses the same malts and mash as were used then to brew this hearty beer that's refreshing and full of flavor. Saddle up to Ten Mile's bar to enjoy a Hidden Hollow Kentucky Common (5.2 percent ABV). 1136 E. Willow St., Signal Hill, (562) 612-1255; www.tenmilebrewing.com.
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4. C IS FOR COOKIE STOUT
I got to enjoy this limited-edition collaboration beer between Chapman Crafted Beer and Brewery Rex at the recent Brew Ho Ho. The C Is for Cookie Stout (8.2 percent ABV) was akin to drinking a chocolate candy bar; thick and rich, with plenty of vanilla and toffee, it was pure deliciousness. 123 N. Cypress St., Orange, (844) 855-2337; www.chapmancrafted.beer.
5. DIG MY EARTH DOUBLE IPA
One of the best hazy IPAs I had all year, Dig My Earth (8 percent ABV) is extremely smooth, bursting with juice. Brewed with Mecca Grade estate-grown barley and raw wheat, plus Amarillo, Simcoe and Centennial hops, the result is hoppy, smooth and delicious. Cheers to Brouwerij West! 110 E. 22nd St., San Pedro, (310) 833-9330; www.brouwerijwest.com.