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Belt’s Beer Garden: Best Beers of 2023

Our annual review of the best brews of the year!

As the December comes to a close, it is time to look back and reflect on all the great moments and, more importantly, great beers that were shared throughout the year.

And, as always, I like to start off with a few stats just for fun.

There was no way I was going to top my record-shattering number of beers from last year, when I tried 1094 different beers in 2022. This year was a bit more modest and on pace with my usual numbers.

In 2023, I was able to try 752 new beers (-342). Belt’s Beer Garden has now showcased 720 beers from 482 different breweries across all 50 states and 14 different countries.

Since hop-forward beers continue to be my go-to and, having sampled many more IPAs than other styles, I divide the rankings into two categories - Top of the Hop (Pale Ales, IPAs, DIPAs) and Best of the Rest (all other styles).

Let’s jump right in to it with my ten favorite hoppy brews of 2023!

*NOTE: just because the beer is on this list doesn’t mean it was first brewed in 2023, just that I had it for the first time this year*


5: Fields of Tall Grass - Finback (Queens, NY)

This collaboration with Cerebral Brewing was dry-hopped with HBC 472, Sabro, 007 and Mosaic hops. Absolutely delightful Double IPA.

4: Fragaria - The Drowned Lands (Warwick, NY)

This strawberry, basil, and vanilla sour IPA was phenomenal. It wasn’t too tart and was packed with strawberry and basil flavors. DELICIOUS.

3: I-L-L I-P-A - Millpond Brewing (Millstadt, IL)

This IPA used as many Illinois grown ingredients as possible, with the hops being grown just three miles from the brewery!

2: Magpie - Belleflower (Portland, ME)

This hazy Pale Ale is a little floral, a little piney, and all sorts of fruity! It’s light, crushable, and insanely delicious.

1: Sky Flowers—Citra - Mountains Walking (Bozeman, MT)

This cannabis-infused Pale Ale was hands down my favorite beer this year. It was dank, citrusy, light, and just absolutely amazing. Infused with Grapefruit Kush terpenes (post fermentation) and hopped with Citra and YCH638 hops.


5: I Life: Tangerine - Icarus Brewing (Lakewood, NJ)

This lager was conditioned on tangerine zest and bergamot tea and is quite the easy summer sipper. Perfect for pool days and after yard work.

4: Pils - Heater Allen (McMinnville, OR)

Fantastic example of a Czech Pils. Light, crisp, a tad hoppy...everything you could want in a lager.

3: Iced, Please - Strike Brewing (San Jose, CA)

A sweet and delicious Mocha Stout brewed with local coffee and Ecuadorian cacao for an added kick. Like iced coffee but with added bonus of 8% alcohol! Fantastic brew.

2: Abraxas - Perennial (St. Louis, MO)

Sweet, roasty, and a little kick from the chili peppers...hard to make a stout better than this.

1: Melange—Barrel Aged Cuvee - Fremont Brewing (Seattle, WA)

A blend of select vintages of The Rusty Nail, their famous Barrel Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout, and a special porter made just for this. Sign me up!

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