2SP Delco Lager: Brewer Bob Barrar is known for hop monsters and imperial stout, but this easy-drinking amber lager deserves to be the new Delaware County brewery's flagship.
Conshohocken Harbinger of Change: It's a solid choice on draft, but in a 16-ounce can it emerged as my go-to IPA of the year.
Forgotten Boardwalk Funnel Cake: The cream ale with a smooth vanilla flavor was a summertime treat from the Cherry Hill, N.J., brewery
Jolly Pumpkin Ursae Majoris: A complexly flavored sour brown ale with cherry and wood notes, brewed specially for the mail-order Rare Beer Club.
Narragansett Innsmouth Olde Ale: A light-bodied dark rye beer with a surprisingly strong alcoholic kick, part of Narragansett's series paying homage to Rhode Island homeboy H.P. Lovecraft.
Not Your Father's Root Beer: I'm not sure it's even a real beer, but with all the off-the-chart excitement it's kind of hard to ignore this outrageously sweet, soda-like brew.
Samuel Adams Rebel Raw: A lush, strong (10 percent alcohol), unfiltered double IPA in a can stuffed with hop varieties from A (Amarillo) to Z (Zeus).
Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest: This full-bodied Marzen made with Germany's Brauhaus Riegele was as good as Oktoberfestbier gets.
Spellbound Palo Santo Wood-Aged Porter: A Great American Beer Festival medal winner whose chocolate malt is unexpectedly complemented by the coconut and vanilla flavors produced by aging in Palo Santo wood.
Stegmaier Grand Hoppa Double IPA: A double India pale ale with tropical fruit flavors, it was the first (and I hope not the last) in the pre-Prohibition brewery's new Cellar Series.
Other notable new brews of 2015: Brooklyn Defender IPA; Dogfish Head Pennsylvania Tuxedo; Flying Fish Exit 15 Coffee IPA; Otter Creek/Wolaver's Backseat Berner IPA; Saucony Creek Belgian Style Imperial IPA; Sole Artisan Clink!; Tree House Alter Ego IPA; Weyerbacher Sunday Morning Stout; Yuengling IPL.
- Don Russell