The successful growth of the craft brew movement in the U.S. has enabled craft brewers to brew experimental beers, embrace once obscure styles, and imperialize European classics.
Brewers "Reserve" and "Big" beer series have become popular and now the industry’s more innovative brewers are using Anniversary beers as a forum for some non-traditional releases.
Many of these new wave Anniversary beers are akin to fine wines and single malt scotches in terms of their complexity and depth. In this climate of bigger beers, Anniversary beers have given the craft brewer more flexibility in the market to test new beers for a trial period. Some of these releases have been so well received that their success has prompted year round distribution. Stone Brewing Co.’s Ruination IPA and Middle Ages brewing Co. 10 (Double IPA) are but two examples.
Here is a sample of Anniversary beers released this past summer. Two of these ales are experimental while the third is brewed in the Triple IPA style, which is emerging as a nee extreme style. The final beer is an American take on an old English classic winter style.
Hebrew Brewing Co.’s Genesis 10:10 (10%). is a complex ale brewed with pomegranate juice. This big fruity and syrupy ale has flavors of tangerine, grapefruit, cotton candy, cherry, green apple and salt-water taffy. Mid-palate a yeasty, malty and hoppy note appears. The finish is herbal, floral and warming with suggestions of honey, apples, cinnamon, plums, peaches and pomegranate with a pronounced hoppy bitterness.
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.’s 11 Triple IPA (11.7%) is brewed with a single variety of hops from the U.K. (phoenix) and has 109 IBUs. A rich and spicy ale with a massive hop profile and flavors of spruce, cherry, lime, strawberry jam and bitter hops flow into honeyed grassy floral and herbal notes. Cloves and mint appear followed by pepper, big malt, lemon rind, cantaloupe, alcohol and a long finish of palate impregnating hops.
Middle Ages Brewing Co.’s 11th (8.5%) is a double wheat that pours with a huge white head. It is aggressive and hoppy with a yeasty herbal backbone. Flavors of gingerbread, lemon, honey, grapefruit, orange, green apple, brown sugar and Ringwood yeast shine. The finish is hoppy and minty with a hint of cloves.
Southampton Brewing Co.’s 10th Anniversary Old Ale (8.7%). is a massive ale that is full bodied and very dry. Flavors of apple, plums, raisins, cherry and malt appear. A winy note is pronounced throughout as a rich malty dryness leads to faint hops and figs.
Here are a few more examples of Anniversary beers brewed by some of today’s cutting edge breweries: Stone Brewing Co. 10th anniversary Double I.P.A., Victory Brewing Co. 10th Anniversary Doppelsticke Altbier, Allagash Brewing Co. 11th Anniversary Biere de Champagne, Lagunitas Brewing Co. 12th Anniversary Double I.P.A. and Avery Brewing Co. 13th Anniversary Weizen bock.
This latest wave of craft brewers has created an array of beers, the likes of which has never been seen in the U.S. or anywhere else. Anniversary beers are but one more way the craft brewers of the U.S. are expressing this extreme beer revolution.