We’ve taken the time to reflect back on the year that was 2018 – a memorable year for us in many ways. Because of your support, we’re able to continually grow and support the beers and breweries we all love. We’ve run the reports to see which beers you enjoyed the most over the past twelve months. Some may seem obvious, while others may come as a surprise. Without further ado, our 2018 Top Sellers:
10 – Allagash Brewing White
The classic Belgian-style Witbier from one of our favorite breweries in the country is somewhat of an anomaly on this list for a pair of reasons: 1. It’s only one of two bottled beers. 2. It’s only one of two non-IPAs.
It’s no secret that we absolutely adore this beer. Orange peel, coriander, and Rob Tod’s secret spice meld in harmony to create a beer that is perfect every time. A big change is coming in 2019 for Allagash White – one that we think will ultimately push this beer even higher on next year’s list.
9 – Small Change Brewing A Little Rain
Long time Somerville-based customers and homebrewers Mike and Emily launched in May of 2018 with this absolute gem of a Pale Ale. Situated somewhere between the classic West Coast and the modern New England styles of hoppy beer brewing, this crisp little 4.9% beauty is hopped in the kettle with Warrior, Cascade, and Mosaic, then finished with a generous Mosaic dry hop. Dry, incredibly drinkable, and balanced, we taste gorgeous notes of pineapple, orange flesh, nectarine, white grapefruit, and fresh cut grass.
The most incredible aspect of this beer making our Top 10 list, is that it was only available for six short months (May – October). We can only imagine how high on the list it’d be if we had it for the entire calendar year. Since the release of A Little Rain, Small Change has continued to deliver with their new offerings – an awesome 3.1% English Dark Mild called The Future Is Unwritten and a robust, bold American Porter by the name of Night Windows.
Small Change is kicking off 2019 with a fresh batch of A Little Rain and we couldn’t be happier to have this beer back in the store. The future may be unwritten, but it is very bright for this duo!
8 – Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale
After years of anticipation, MA finally received distribution of Bell’s in June of 2018. Yes, this is yet another beer on the list that we only had for a portion of the year!
There’s really no other way to say it – Two Hearted is a classic and quintessential American IPA. Our very own Beer Geek Joey claims it as his favorite beer in the world, and for good reason. Brewed with 100% Centennial hops, this perfectly balanced beer is named after the Two Hearted River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and offers flavors and aromas from lush grapefruit to hints of pine.
We couldn’t be happier that we finally have access to what has been named The Best Beer in America two years in a row by Zymurgy Magazine!
7 – Night Shift Brewing Morph
It could be argued that because the recipe for Morph changes approximately every other month (it used to change even more frequently), that including the beer in this list isn’t a fair comparison. Ultimately, we decided that in today’s currently climate, where one-offs and limited releases are commonplace, and even flagship brand recipes are tweaked over time, Morph belongs on the list.
Batches #58 – #63 of this rotating IPA were released over the course of 2018, ranging in ABV from 4.9% – 5.8% and featuring all of the modern hops we love, such as Citra, Vic Secret, Mosaic, Amarillo and more. We look forward to more experimentation in the world of NEIPA from Night Shift in 2019!
6 – Night Shift Brewing One Hop This Time
Back-to-back rotating IPAs from Night Shift proving that you love ever-changing IPA series – and for good reason! Unlike Morph, where a blend of hops come together to create flavors and aromas that are a sum of it’s parts, OHTT shines the spotlight on just one hop variety each time. In 2018, we saw versions featuring Simcoe, Citra, and Mosaic, each with drastically different flavor profiles despite hops being the only variable in the recipe!
A peak at Night Shift’s 2019 Release Calendar shows that in addition to the three OHTT variants we enjoyed this year, we’ll be treated to an Idaho 7 batch next July!
5 – Founders Brewing All Day IPA
Another Midwest beer makes the list! Founders’ All Day IPA is pretty much the de-facto beer that comes to mind when we think of Session IPA. This beer checks a lot of the boxes for us. The main feature is the low alcohol, allowing us to have more than one without feeling fatigued. It’s also priced excellently and is available in just about every format you could want (15 packs, 19.2oz can singles, 12oz bottle 6-packs, etc.)
All Day launched in 2011, but really took off once the brewery began to release the beer in cans in 2013. Showing impressive staying power in the age of ‘What’s New?’, this beer now makes up well over 50% of the brewery’s annual production, and we see no signs of All Day slowing down.
4 – Night Shift Brewing Whirlpool
Y’all like Night Shift, huh? Us too! The Everett brewery’s year round New England Pale Ale is pretty much the perfect beer for any situation. Straw yellow and super light in body, Whirlpool’s use of wheat and oats in the grain bill adds a pillowy character to the mouthfeel.
The hop profile is made up of a touch of Summer and a whole lot of Mosaic, including a massive Mosaic dry hop. We taste peach rings, overripe mango, and a bouquet of tropical citrus fruit. This beer is on this list for good reason – it’s a delicious go-to everyday Pale Ale.
3 – Night Shift Brewing Santilli
We promise this isn’t a Night Shift Top Sellers list! I think by this point it’s pretty clear who our number one overall selling brewery is, and it’s only fitting that their flagship, award-winning IPA is the beer you buy the most in their portfolio. Named after the highway on which the brewery is located, Santilli actually originated as Morph #5!
This thing is loaded with Amarillo hops, which contribute tangerine and pineapple notes, with just a touch of pine. Over the years, the beer has really come to represent who Night Shift is as a whole – consistent, accessible, and something we come back to time and time again.
2 – Exhibit A Brewing The Cat’s Meow
Our Bottle Shop Manager Ken Cioffredi is on record as saying The Cat’s Meow is his favorite IPA produced in Massachusetts. Considering the competition and how much IPA is brewed in this state, it’s a pretty impressive and highly warranted compliment. Located in Jack’s Abby’s original location in Framingham, MA, Exhibit A has CBC alumni on the brewing team!
The Cat’s Meow is truly an excellent example of the New England IPA style. Hazy, but not over the top murky. Huge notes of tropical juice, but with a welcomed touch of bitterness to balance it all out. There are periods through the year where this beer is out of stock and it still made its way to number two.
1 – Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine
The beer that built a brewery. In November 2018, Lawson’s opened their gorgeous new brewery and taproom in Waitsfield, Vermont and now we’re being treated with small drops of beers such as Double Sunshine, Chinooker’d, and Maple Nipple. Sip of Sunshine is the reason we’re lucky enough to offer those beers on occasion.
It’s pretty mind-blowing how much of this beer we sell. For perspective…the margin between Sip and The Cat’s Meow (Top Seller no. 2) is more than the amount of Allagash White we sold last year (Top Seller no. 10). And we’re not even reaching our full potential with this beer! We receive allocated deliveries of Sip every Monday, and we rarely have any left from the week prior when our next delivery arrives. This means that there are some weeks where the beer is out of stock for multiple days.
Honestly, we don’t see this beer slowing down anytime soon, especially if we’re able to keep it in stock 100% of the time. Here’s to more Sip of Sunshine and many other Lawson’s treats in the future!
Social Media & Marketing Coordinator – Craft Beer Cellar & CBC Belmont
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