This is the second part of my end of the year series. You can read the first part here: “The End of 2019“. Which was essentially a recap of the year 2019 for The Beer Thrillers. I discussed when / why the blog was started back on May 17th, 2019, and how its grown since then to where we are now. I discussed how we have grown exponentially since we first started, from just me writing a few beer blogs, to adding J. Doncevic, to adding Default Brewing, to doing contributing work with Breweries in PA and Let Us Drink Beer blog as well as numerous other things, like how we’ve done brewery reviews, beer event reviews, book reviews, and gotten asked to write up brewery openings, etc.
2019 has certainly been a big year. For the brewing industry, for myself, for this blog (well… primarily because its been the only year the blog’s been around…), for the country, and for the world as a whole. It was certainly a pivotal year. (Though at the end of each year, it feels like we say this every year.)
I wanted to do a bit of a recap and “best” of series all wrapped up in one. This second part will recap some of 2019; in the sense I’ll talk about my personal favorite beers I had in 2019 for the first time, my favorite new brewery stops, the blog’s top viewed articles, and I’ll show the results of fans top beers / breweries. I asked here in the blog, on my personal Facebook, our Twitter, and in several Facebook beer groups what people’s favorite beers / breweries of 2019 were, and I’ll share the results of that.
First off, I’ll start with the blog, and then work towards my personal, then to our fans.
The Top Ten Viewed Articles Here on The Beer Thrillers:
Working our way up to the #1 most viewed:
10. We actually have a 3-way tie to start off the list, so this really becomes a Top 12 rather than Top 10. The first of the three way tie is:
Caucus-Race 6.0 by Boneshire Brew Works
Breweries Around the Outskirts of Harrisburg – an article about the various breweries in the Harrisburg / Hershey area
And the third tie for #10 is – A Beer Flight from Ever Grain, reviewed. Their 3rd Anniversary, Cinn-a-bon, etc.
Number 9 on the list is Guava Lemonade Kettle Sour by Newfangled Brew Works
Number 8 on the list is AuZealand 2.0 by Boneshire Brew Works
Number 7 is the Mango Guyabano sWheat Tart beer review by J. Doncevic, brewed by Rotunda Brewing Company
Number 6 is The Hog by Boneshire Brew Works, a recent article, but one that climbed fast and got a ton of views quickly.
Number 3 is yet another Boneshire Brew Works beer – Harrishire
And number 2, and the last individual page that got the most views was Dillston by Boneshire Brew Works.
Because number one overall, is our main page – The Beer Thrillers homepage. Which I suppose should come as no surprise. But the Boneshire Brew Works beers definitely cleaned up, with several in our top 10 – Dillston, Harrishire, The Hog, AuZealand, and Caucus-Race.
I love seeing the statistics and analytics of what posts get the most views, where the people are coming from or how they find the site through different search engine results and things. So its neat to see some of the local beer reviews we’ve done – for Boneshire and for Rotunda – making the top 10.
Now, onto the personal. I got to check out 17 new breweries or brewpubs this year:
- Columbia Kettle Works (2nd Gear) – Lancaster, PA
- Twisted Bine – Mount Joy, PA
- Tun Tavern and Brewpub – Atlantic City, NJ
- Battlefield Brew Works – Gettysburg, PA
- Straub Visitor Center, Tap Room, and Brewery – St. Mary’s, PA
- Logyard Brewing – Kane, PA
- Twisted Vine – Kane, PA
- ShuBrew Brewery – Zelionople, PA
- Cinderlands Beer Co. Warehouse – Pittsburgh, PA
- The Church Brew Works – Pittsburgh, PA
- Yellow Bridge Brewing – Delmont, PA
- Stone Bridge Brewery – Johnstown, PA
- Olde Bedford Brewery – Bedford, PA
- Cushwa Brewery – Williamsport, MD
- Mad Chef Brewing Company – East Petersburg, PA
- Rotunda Brew Pub – Hershey, PA (formerly Irv’s Pub, I’m counting this as “new” since its now rebranded as a brewpub)
- Official BBQs and Burgers, Pizza Boy’s Second Location – Rutherford, PA
Out of these 17 places, I’m going to have to say my favorite was Logyard. Stopped there, during my three day vacation trip with my daughters, and they loved the brewery, loved the food, loved the atmosphere, and the beer was phenomenal. It was also small, out of the way, not even really on the map. So I think it was super cool for that. A runner-up would definitely be Cushwa. Which had fantastic beer, a great bartender, didn’t get any food, and didn’t get to stay long, so I can’t really speak of the atmosphere. Third place would have to go to The Church Brew Works, which is a must-visit just for the aesthetics of seeing an old church turned into a brewery. A visually stunning location and brewery and worth a trip to see when in the Pittsburgh area.
Top beers is going to be much harder to narrow down and pick and choose. I have so many I could pick. From local breweries, I loved this year’s version of Double Blizzard, by Troegs Brewery, I also loved several of the sWheat Tarts I got to try this year, notably the Juicy Fruit one by Rotunda Brewing. Boneshire Brew Works also pumped out some amazing beers, like the s’Mores Lazaris, The Hog, the 2019 Holiday Reserve, several of their one offs, Caucus-Race 6.0, AuZealand 2.0, Sunburst, almost too many to list. And Tattered Flag really pumped out some great beers this year. The Peach Rings of Fire beer, Inexplicably Juicy, the Should Have Put Him Custardy, the Imperial Churro collaboration, basically any collaboration they made was phenomenal. I loved the beers I had at Yellow Bridge, Cinderlands, Mad Chef, Cushwa, and especially Logyard. I got some great beers from trades that I really liked, like There’s Nuttin Butter Than a Nice Pair of Camo Pants, and Azathoth, I also got gifted Sap and Autumn from Tree House, which were fantastic. So many good beers, so hard to narrow them all down. Had some really great ones at the various brewfests I went to like Lititz, Mount Hope, Atlantic City’s, etc. I’m going to just have to cop out here and say I can’t name just one.
I will provide a link here to my “Your Year in Beer” by Untappd. Ben’s 2019 Year in Beer.
It was certainly a great year with 1,000+ unique beer checkins from a ton of breweries.
Now lets switch again and go to some reader responses.
On my personal Facebook page, Tyler Budwash said his favorite was Should Have Put Him in Custard by Tattered Flag.
On the Central PA Whalerz Facebook group, the answers were varied. Some were:
Collin Short said Trillium’s Max Headroom, Monk’s Western and Del Amo, Solo Hike, Bloom Blossom, Super Fluffy; Veil’s Buried Alive 3, We Ded Mon 3, Good Morning Anxiety; and Aslin’s Castle Hill and Sperryville.
James Nicastro said 3 sons and Voodoo’s Summagick, Aslin’s Luling, Sperryville, Alexandria, and Gang Gets a Barrel; Other Half’s BA Snowbirds; Monkish Space Churro; Hudson Valley’s Amorphia, Other Half’s 5th Anniversary, Tilted Barn’s Space Cactus, Equilibrium’s Dream Wave Distortion, and Dream Wave Fluctuation.
Chris Scott said New Trail’s Red Line.
Greg Brunner liked The Veil’s Patient Man and White Bugatti.
When posed the question to the Breweries in PA Facebook group, I got a large range of answers as well:
Douglas Allen – MissileToad by Ever Grain
Anthony Ferraro – New Trail Backast Double IPA and Victory’s Cloudwalker IPA.
Kaela Williams – anything by Imprint
Michael Dunmore – Special Cookie by Free Will Brewing
Michael Keener – North County Brewing White Tea, Abjuration Brewing WCPM v1.0
Shawn Bryne – Broken Goblet Brewing – Hazenberg IPA
Dean Horning – Yuengling’s Hershey Porter
John Welsh – Ralphius – Free Will (and variants)
David Villafane – Lollihop – Troegs
James Frank – Wild Berry Pineapple Puffsicle
Tim Kilian – A Nap in the Pollen – Forest and Main
Nevile Mehta – Schmoojee beers – Imprint
Scott Bombeck – Shallow and Pointless – New Trail
Wilson Myers – Frost – Robin Hood Brewing
Chris Ciccarone – Raspberry Heliocentric – New Trail
Teri Smith – Morning Blonde – Hop Hill Brewing
Matthew David Prince – Double Guava Milkshake IPA – Tired Hands
Andie Bicho – Stratophonic – Levante
Siobhan Royack – Lost in Suspension, Apricot – Lost Tavern
Thomas Slovik – Chaka – Schaylor Brewing and Sunny Side Up by Pizza Boy
So this kind of wraps up 2019. Sums it up to some degree. Between this and the “End of the Year – 2019” article, I think I wrapped up the year of 2019; for the blog, for myself personally, and for some of our readers. Hopefully you enjoyed what we’ve done in 2019, and even more importantly, hopefully you are looking forward to what we have in store for 2020. I know I am.
I just want to say thank you for reading, for myself, Josh, AJ, Default Brewing, Let Us Drink Beer, and everyone else who has worked to help me with this blog behind the scenes, we all want to thank you – the readers – for checking us out, and reading. Thank you!
Happy New Year. Happy start to 2020, and lets make it a fantastic year!
Cheers, toast, and prost!