You love the blog, so subscribe to the Beervana Podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud today!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CDAs and People's Choices

Last week, I polled you about your favorite CDAs. There was a method to my madness: as we come toward the year's end, I start eyeballing the Satori Award (which honors the best debut of a beer to an Oregon brewery's regular or seasonal line-up). The really big trend this year was Cascadian Dark Ales, which I have to consider for the Satori, even though it's a style I don't really love. So to help winnow things down, I polled you. Below are the results with a weighted average (1-4, poor to excellent):
  • 3.1 - Deschutes Hop in the Dark
  • 2.9 - Widmer W '10
  • 2.6 - Oakshire O'Dark 30
  • 2.6 - Boneyard Armored Fist
  • 2.4 - Alameda Cascadian Coal
  • 2.4 - Terminal Gravity CDA
  • 2.2 - Full Sail Bump in the Night
So there you have it: Hop in the Dark the clear winner. (It also polled the best in a multiple choice, but that was biased toward the beers more people had tried.) Widmer placed a close second, and I kept hearing complaints that Hopworks' Secession wasn't on the list. Technically, it was an '09 release because it appeared at the Organic Beer Fest that year. I'm persuaded by those who think it's properly a '10 beer, though: it couldn't have qualified in '09 because I didn't expect to ever see it again. I'll therefore add all three to the final Satori long list, which currently includes these beers, annotated where necessary:
  • Beetje Small Saison
  • Block 15 Figgy Pudding (based on its expected return)
  • Boneyard (?) - not sure which, if any, beers this new brewery might place in the long list.
  • Breakside Dry Stout - I could be persuaded this wasn't Breakside's best beer
  • Cascade Noyeau (also thinking we may see this beer again in the future)
  • Coalition King Kitty Red/Loving Cup Maple Porter - either one of these should be in there--the red's the best of their hoppy beers (ie, most of them), but the porter's the really inspired beer.
  • Columbia River Brewing [Paddlers Porter?] I should check this brewery out before final Satori balloting.
  • Deschutes Hop in the Dark
  • Hopworks Secession
  • Mt Tabor Little Bull Stout - This was so well-loved at the Microhopic I'm thinking it's this new brewery's best. Yes?
  • Ninkasi Maiden the Shade (appeared at the '09 Oregon Country Fair, but counts even less than Secession's '09 appearance)
  • Prodigal Son Bruce/Lee Porter - I could be persuaded this wasn't the best Prodigal Son beer, maybe. Damn fine beer.
  • Rogue Single Malt - easily the best of their debut beers made with homegrown ingredients
  • Widmer Sunburn
  • Widmer W '10 CDA (I'll check to see if this will be back in the future)
Obviously, not every beer that meets the criteria is on this list, but you might see something that I clearly missed. Please holler. I'd hate to miss an obvious choice. Although the Satori isn't exactly the most important award on the planet, I'm pretty happy with how the previous choices look in the rear-view mirror. I like to get it right.

In case you're scoring at home, only two of these are straightforward hop bombs (you could boost the number to five by including CDAs), while five are porters or stouts. Only a couple Belgian-styles, which may mean the streak in that genre (of two) may be over.

Weigh in and I'll post a follow-up poll with all the finalists and get a people's choice. (Oh, and the interns are madly collating your suggestions on the DMS Awards, which will be announced by week's end.)


  1. Based on the list, it's an easy choice for me:

    Cascade Noyeaux

    The Figgy Pudding will be pretty impressive in a year, methinks, but there's no guarantees and the Noyeaux was more impressive upon debut.

  2. Tough choice. None of those seem as eye-opening as past winners, except Noyaux and maybe Figgy Pudding, though I'm not as big a fan of either as most people are.

    All due respect to the nanos, but can you really confer classic status on something with such limited availability? I loved Mt. Tabor's Stout -- I think the one I tried was Sibeerian, not Little Bull -- but how often will we get to try either, when it's made a keg or two at a time?

    Now I'll open myself up to ridicule: the 2010 beer that surprised and delighted me the most this year was Green Dragon's Chamomellow. You might find it Satori worthy.

  3. I'd add in both Block 15 La Ferme de Demons and Ferme de la Ville.

  4. I'll second the Ferme de Demons and I'll second the Paddler's Porter. I did not have the same impression of it as you did Jeff, that it was all about the chocolate/cocoa flavors and not beery enough. I thought it was one of the best beers at HAF. I still need to stop down at their brewery though to try more things. I haven't had a bad beer yet from Mt. Tabor, but their small ipa, which is really more like a super late-hopped pale ale, was fantastic.

  5. I don't remember anymore what they were called, but I remember what they tasted like: either of those two bottles Nick Arzner served to us at B15. Was one Ferme de la Ville?

    Also are you sure about Maiden the Shade, I could have sworn I had it two summers ago from the bottle...?

    And, I'd put in a vote for the Well-Mannered Gnome from Oakshire: give up some props for a true small-beer (okay, perhaps not entirely true - they did add some grain but still).

  6. Bill--I agree about overall level of competition. This year we saw FAR fewer new releases. If you scan my list, you see that half came from breweries new in 2010. Still, I'll be happy to cite one of these as a winner. As for the nanos, I'm not going to ding them for being hard to find. After all, Prodigal Son is a lot harder to find in Portland than Little Bull. The beers from the nanos meet my criteria.

    Derek, those beers won't be officially released until 2011. But I'm willing to say now that they'll be on the '11 long list for the Satori. That Ferme de La Ville Provision I tried last month blew me away.

    Patrick, you're right about the Well-Mannered Gnome. I'll see if Matt plans to brew it in the future.

  7. Oh, and Patrick, according to my exhaustive search and the dates of ratings within BeerAdvocate and RateBeer, it's definitely a 2010 debut.

    The problem is that you're old and time has no meaning to you anymore.

  8. La Ferme de Demons was on at the Cheers to Belgian beers, and Ferme de la Ville has been on tap around town I believe.

  9. I'd add Line Dry Rye to the list. It was probably my favorite beer this year.

  10. Maiden the Shade was first bottled this year. Although, it had a limited release in July 2009 for the Oregon Country Fair.

    I am also going to throw a vote in for La Ferme de Demons. I've had it a few time this year, most recently at the Week of Wild Ale Fest, side by side with Ferme de la Villa Provisions. The better of the two in my opinion and better each time I try it.

    Beer and Coding

  11. KeAloha, I considered Line Dry but decided against it. If anything, Well-Mannered Gnome deserves a nod. A really wonderful beer--and extra points for being wee.

    Kevin and Derek, this poses interesting questions. The Demons was released way prematurely for Cheers to Belgian Beers (despite winning the competition). Even Nick agrees, and almost pulled it before CtBB. Both that and La Ville seem to be making official debuts in 2011, so I'll just hold off until then.

    These single-keg rollouts make Satori judges crazy, so I may have to make a rule about 'official' releases or something. In any case, these will almost certainly be on next year's list.

  12. The problem is I have a 40 -something brain and my short-term memory is useless.

    That's cool, Maiden the Shade is great.

  13. Breakside released its IPA this week. While I like the dry stout, the IPA has to be one of the better local IPAs I've had - and deserves mention here.