I’m not much of a list maker so this will be my last list of 2009 which is reflective of 2008.

In order with 1 being the best – my top 5 Beers.

1. Great Lakes Brewing, Dortmunder – It’s what I drink when I don’t know what to drink. My default beer I guess you can call it. Plus it’s brewed right here in Cleveland. Description – A smooth lager that strikes a delicate balance between sweet malt and dry hop flavors. (um, perfect)

2. Sierra Nevada, Anniversary Ale – I believe this was the first year I’ve had this beer and I really enjoyed it. Description – This beer is a big, full-flavored ale bursting at the seams with fresh, spicy and aromatic hops. Our 2008 Anniversary Ale is brewed in the style of an American IPA, a style that Sierra Nevada helped create. This beer is a complex brew made up with a combination of four varieties of malts that add a rich and complex backbone to showcase our signature hop variety: the Cascade. This hop produces the big piney and citrusy flavors that Sierra Nevada beers are known for and is one of the varieties that have become the definition for what the new styles of American beers represent.

3. Bear Republic Brewery, Racer #5 – I had this beer for the first time during a trip to L.A. Recently I found it in a few stores around Cleveland. If you like hops, you’ll love this beer Description – This is a hoppy IP. This is a full bodied beer using American grains. The goal was to create a base for showing off the unique floral qualities of two pacific northwest hops, columbus and cascaed. e

4. Sam Adams, Sam Adams Light – Sometimes you just need a light beer and this one is definitely the best! Description – Sam Adams Light® is not just a lighter version of our Samuel Adams Boston Lager® but rather the culmination of over two years of tireless research and brewing trials to create a flavorful Light beer. And it has proved to be worth the wait. Brewed using only the finest two row malt and German Noble hops it has a smooth, complex roasted malt character that is superbly balanced with the subtle orange fruit notes of the Noble hops. Sam Adams Light® finishes crisp and smooth without any lingering bitterness, leaving you yearning for more.

5. Goose Island Brewery, Imperial IPA – I’m adding this because I just had it a few days ago at the Goose Island Brewery. It was the best $10/a glass beer I’ve ever had. To bad I can’t get it here in Cleveland though. Description – At Goose Island we live and die for hops. With our Imperial IPA, we pushed the limit to the extreme. We took three of our favorite hops, Tettnang, Simcoe, and Cascade, we balanced their spiciness with tons of malt and then added more hops and more malt until this beer was exploding with flavor. You’ll smell the hops from a yard away. What will surprise you is how drinkable it is. 9.0% ABV