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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ryan Sweeney’s Top 5 Beers of the Moment


Photo: Matt Fink
As the co-owner of Imbibe’s 2013 Beer Bar of the Year, Little Bear in Los Angeles, Ryan Sweeney is the beer buddy everyone wishes they had. Little Bear’s extensive and ever-changing selection of Belgian and Belgian-inspired brews reads like a beer lover’s fantasy—recent draft selections have included local LA-area offerings like Angel City's Eureka Wit, Monkish’s Feminist and Russian River’s Damnation, just to name a few. So we thought we’d tap Sweeney for five brews that currently top his list—here are his picks.

Firestone Walker Pivo Pils. “I'm in a sessiony mode right now,” says Sweeney, “so whenever I spot this on tap I get excited. They took a while and got it dialed in perfectly, and now they have a beer that showcases exactly what they wanted to see in a Pilsner.”

Lagunitas Daytime. “This is one of the better pale ales I had last year,” says Sweeney. “It’s super citrusy and hoppy at just 4.65% ABV, and I’m hoping for more of it in 2013.”

Lost Abbey Saint's Devotion. “This is my go-to whenever I’m near San Diego,” says Sweeney. “I love Orval, and this is like a more bretted version—simply great.”

Noble Ale Works Naughty Sauce. “Brand new out of Anaheim, California, this might be a one-off, but based on the response the beer has been earning, I hope to see it go wide,” says Sweeney. “This ‘blonde stout’ is a totally bizarre mix of styles, but the result is amazing.”

Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Bigfoot. “We just got a case in, and I couldn't be more excited to try it,” says Sweeney. “Bigfoot was the formative beer in my college days, and I can't wait to see how they developed this classic in the barrel.”