Top 10 list of 2011 beers in New Orleans

Inspired by Polly Watts' list posted on the Avenue Pub's Facebook page:

1) Cantillon Iris. A gueuze that has been brewed with hops instead of wheat. Tart, sharp, a subtle hop bitterness on the finish. The sour and atypical bitterness marry well. Very refreshing while retaining the traditional gueuze sour characteristics. Recommended for sour lovers and sour skeptics alike.

2) Cantillon Zwanze 2010. More tart than sour, well balanced, crisp, refreshing, mild tartness and subtle. Like a belgian berlinerweiss. Wheat is turned all the way up. Smooth. Biscuits and lemon juice. Dances over the tongue leaving a trail of tartness behind. (I know it's something that won't be around to have again, but it was just that good.)

3) Mikkeller Drink In The Sun. Best session beer in the country. Wouldn't know it was less than 3%, the taste is much bigger than that.

4) Rogue Brutal Bitter: Balanced but very flavorful, like an amped up ESB. An interesting beer to say the least. It's a cross between the hoppiness of an IPA and the smoothness of an ESB. Apparantly in recent releases it's been renamed "Brutal IPA" which I think is misleading, because as IPAs go, it's not brutal at all. "Brutal Bitter" sums up the style quite nicely, a bitter with some West Coast OOMPH. A delightful discovery!

5) Aphrodisiaque from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel, an absolutely yummy stout with vanilla, caramel, cocoa, coffee notes all roasty and smokey. Also on Polly's list.

6) Page 24 Biere De Printemps, crazy excellent. It's a beer de garde from Brasserie Saint-Germain.

7) Brooklyn Brewing Sorachi Ace. It's spicy and faintly herbal, with a lemon citrus aroma. Easy drinking and a dry finish. The style is a saison and the spiciness specific to the Belgian yeast works with the spiciness of the Sorachi Ace hops in a truly unique but very satisfying and drinkable way.

8) Jolly Pumpkin's Baudelaire IO Saison. a saison/farmhouse style. It pours a beautiful amber-ruby color and has spicy, floral notes mixed in with a mild bret-style funk. It drinks crisp and clean with a tart, dry finish

9) NOLA Brewing Cascade Crack on cask- The NOLA version of a black and tan is made with NOLA Hopitoulas and NOLA Irish Channel Stout. Additionally, we have dry hopped the Brewer's Crack with fresh Cascade Hop Cones. Thus, we have Cascade Crack.

10) could be one of several: Saint Helene La Grognarde, Sierra Nevada Life & Limb, Stillwater Cellar Door, Moylan's ESB on Nitro, Thierez Extra, Poperings Hommel, Brooklyn Main Engine Start, NOLA Flambeaux Red, etc., etc., etc. I can't make up my mind!