By Conway Diddle
2020. What a year to consume massive quantities of craft beer, aye?? What a year to just lose your job, watch your marriage crumble before your very eyes, sense the loss of admiration your children once possessed toward you, and numb your pain with just about anything that has the words ‘double dry-hopped’ in the title and contains grotesquely high ABV percentages! What an incredible period of time to start a niche hobby like producing beard oil YouTube tutorials, purchase binoculars to monitor your neighbor’s nighttime behavior and traditions, as well as devote extensive hours that could be spent toward amending your marriage and family but instead invested in binge watching early 2000’s USA Network original programming such as Monk and The Dead Zone! But above all, what an incredible year to pretend to give a shit about craft beer!
Because we here at Tapline Magazine are obsessively committed to providing our readers and followers with the latest in craft beer journalism, we spent 2020 enduring relentless hours of consuming massive quantities of exquisite craft beer (and occasionally cheap gin). This is all because we are entirely devoted to enlightening our craft connoisseur fan base, and definitely not because we are in severe denial of our deep, dark, harrowing cases of depression and crippling financial states that we’re able to ignore and mask via dangerous consumptions of various flavors of beer.
And just because this year is a giant asshole that’s constantly shitting out feces of despair, fluids of uncertainty, and corn pieces of sorrow, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t honor and salute all the wonderfully tantalizing craft beers that were produced for our overindulgence in 2020. So without further ado, here are Tapline Magazine’s selections for the best craft beers 2020 had to offer while we confronted our own fears, insecurities, and agoraphobia by pretending a Hulu subscription is a justifiable expense and succumbing to the notion that masturbating to porn through VR headsets is one hundred percent more enjoyable and less emotionally draining than regular sex with a human being:
BEST IPA: Hoppy Ending Brewing’s ‘R.I.P. IPA’
The extremely clever, beer pun-obsessed brewers at Hoppy Ending took a controversial approach to crafting the latest addition to their IPA inventory, the ‘R.I.P. IPA’. Convinced that the India Pale Ale itself was at risk of becoming the most oversaturated and blandly recycled beer recipe on the market, Hoppy Ending decided to concoct one final IPA variation to conquer them all and make a beer to die for… Literally… Brewed with a healthy blend of citra, mosaic hops, and cyanide, the ‘R.I.P IPA’ will be the last beer you ever tasted, because its consumption will render the consumer unconscious and ultimately deceased.
When asked why brew a beer that possess such morbid consequences, Hoppy Ending head brewer Stephon Stevenson suggested that,
“The IPA is dead. It’s a redundant style of ale that’s been brewed, fermented, and barreled every which way imaginable. No one can specifically distinguish one IPA from another because they literally all taste the same, and anyone who claims to be able to differentiate one IPA from another is a liar and impotent. So I figured rather than brewing another bland, bullshit IPA and giving it a clever, marketable name to provide it with a sense of identity, I might as well just make an IPA that kills whoever’s dumb enough to drink it so we can hopefully kill off all these beer drinking imbeciles and their poser palates.”
We want to reiterate that while this IPA is exceptionally hoppy and beautifully bitter, we highly recommend those considering drinking it to be elderly, suffering from a life-threatening disease, or employed at a marketing agency. We also want to commend our former beer critic Nathan Miller for his bravery in sampling the ‘R.I.P. IPA’ and for providing us with his notes prior to excessively seizuring and enduring his ultimate demise. RIP Nate.
BEST BEER TO POUND: Chug-a-Lug Brewing’s ‘Smash ‘n Crash Sour’
As we mentioned earlier, 2020 was an applicable year for binge drinking alcohol and knocking on all your apartment neighbor’s doors to inquire whether anyone’s ‘horny’. And as far as crushing brews goes, the winner for this year’s easily consumable and intoxicating brew has to go to Chug-a-Lug Brewing’s ‘Smash ‘n Crash Sour’. Remember how popping a Warhead candy in your mouth used to fuck your shit up as a child? Well imagine the intense head rush of a watermelon Warheads overdose combined with the euphoric internal rupture of a mainline cocaine injection, allowing you a two-hour time window to possess the ability to not feel pain and exhibit no concept of time or morality, before your decreasing respiratory levels force you to keel over and submit to the process of natural inhibition and prolonged unconsciousness.
Chugging several of these bad boys during a prototypical power hour session will boost your confidence higher than early 2000’s Andy Dick on a crack bender, and allow you to harness that self conviction to the point of consenting to a video of you agreeing to be shot in the foot in an effort to boost your friend’s TikTok following. While I may never be able to put weight upon my left foot again, I must say, the ‘Smash ‘n Crash Sour’ leaves up to its name, and my friend Carl has raked in thousands of views (I’m now available for Cameo videos if you’re interested).
BEST BEER TO BUY FOR $19.99 BECAUSE THE FLAVOR SOUNDED INTRIGUING, BUT UPON FIRST SIP, YOU IMMEDIATELY REGRETTED MAKING THAT PURCHASE: Tim Buck Too Brewing’s ‘Mango Curry Spiced Rum Porter’
It happens to all of us. We cruise through the booze store, trying to see if there’s something different we haven’t tried that sounds interesting, and then we see it. A ‘Mango Curry Spiced Rum Porter’. We stare at it, baffled by its title, yet entranced by its potential. We look around and nobody’s near, giving us more time to contemplate this elusive elixir. We take the four-pack out of the cooler and we inspect each can, nodding our heads at the relatively high ABV, which we infer as even if the taste is intolerable, this shit will fuck us up, which is nice. But then we raise our eyebrows at its extravagant price tag and wonder ‘should I really spend twenty dollars on these four beers that will most likely taste like spicy cow cum when I could instead invest that Jackson into twenty-four beers I concretely know will satisfy my palate and desire to depress my cognitive function’, to which we counter by acknowledging that life is frivolous and has no meaning, thus if our actions bear no moral consequence, then why all this distress and internal conflict?
So we shrug a shoulder and take the four-pack up to the cashier, who casually comments something along the lines of, ‘Mango Curry Spiced Rum Porter, jeez, they make just about anything nowadays, don’t they??’ which we chuckle and mutter words like, ‘Ha ha, yeah, pretty crazy, but sounds kind of tempting, right?’ to which the cashier furrows their brows and shakes their head in disagreement, declaring, ‘Not for me! Call me old fashioned, but I miss the days when beer was just… Beer!’ as he bags up our twenty-dollar four-pack of ‘Mango Curry Spiced Rum Porter’ and, in an almost mockingly insincere tone, asks, ‘Anything else?’ to which we shake our head and grab our overpriced paper bag of beer before feeling overwhelmed with shame and remorse.
Then we arrive home and pull the four-pack out of the bag and stand and stare at it for an hour with the same contempt we’d give a newly adopted dog that’s feverishly scratching fleas off its body after it just pissed all over the couch. When we’ve finally mustered the courage to crack one open and tilt the aluminum cylinder toward our lips, we close our eyes as the malty liquid sprints past our tongues and runs down our throats. And when we open our eyes, it finally hits us. Our suspicions were accurate. Our self-consciousness was justified. That smug, portly cashier was correct. This beer tastes like sour cow cum. We might as well have pulled a twenty-dollar bill out of our wallet and lit in on fire in the presence of a homeless person.
We finish the opened beer out of spite, but the other three cans meet their secluded fate in the back of the refrigerator, where they will be stored in their chilled tomb until an unsuspecting guest inquires our beer inventory, to which we’ll raise an eyebrow and immediately suggest a ‘Mango Curry Spiced Rum Porter’, to which that naïve guest will be forced to comply with based on curiosity and chivalry alone, and now you’ve successfully passed on the cursed concoction to someone else… Yeah, that pretty much sums up Tim Buck Too Brewing’s ‘Mango Curry Spiced Rum Porter’!
BEST BEER FOR FUCKING PUSSIES: Feeble Rock Brewing’s ‘Puny Pilsner’
If you’re a fucking pussy, finding a beer that’s frail enough for your decrepit flavor profile can be tough. Fortunately, the fucking pussies at Feeble Rock Brewing have crafted a beer that’s clearer than hydrated baby urine, tastes like malty swamp water, and properly canned to come off as an FDA-authorized alcoholic beverage, so your superior in every-which-way friends won’t question your inferiority. Feeble Rock’s ‘Puny Pilsner’ is perfect for anyone who winces at the taste of ginger ale, mentions Zach Braff in passing, and would describe the aroma of a raspberry White Claw as ‘pungent’. If you find animal crackers to be a completely suitable dessert option or the last concert you attended was Michael McDonald during the 1990’s, be sure to get your meek, sweaty palms on Feeble Rock’s ‘Puny Pilsner’ so you can temporarily pass for not being a fucking pussy.
BEST BEER TO PAIR WITH HOT POCKETS: Little Italy Brewing’s ‘Now That’s A Spicy Meatball!’ Marinara Stout
Hot pockets and craft beer go together like Laverne and Shirley; while this odd couple may seem quirky and irreverent, in the end they’re destined to be together because both of them taste soooo good. And by god, if there were ever a beer to wash down a piping hot cheeseburger Hot Pocket with, it’s goddamn Little Italy Brewing’s ‘Now That’s A Spicy Meatball!’ Marinara Stout.
Imagine being able to chug pasta sauce by your own free will, without absorbing concern from friends or family, AND get drunk from it?? Well you no longer are forced to imagine such a utopia, as Little Italy Brewing’s ‘Now That’s A Spicy Meatball’ Marinara Stout provides its drinker with a chunky, potent potion that tastes even better when slammed after burning the top your mouth with a scorching, microwavable steak fajita burrito! Stuff the Hot Pocket into your mouth and, without chewing, pour the Marinara Stout down your throat, allowing the suds to become absorbed within the flaky, fiery outer crust. As you choke and cough for air, you’ll enter a new dimension of euphoria you thought unattainable from previous Hot Pocket culinary experiences. Roll on the floor with pleasure while your newfound higher consciousness elevates you to a superior state of understanding, in which flavors are merely a trite, dated concept, and death is the only form of servitude worth enduring. Try getting that rush from sipping a Deschutes Fresh Squeezed!!
BEST BEER FOR FORGETTING YOU’VE MASTURBATED SEVEN TIMES TODAY: Down River Brewing’s ‘Tiki Torch Tropical Kiwi Saison’
There comes a point just after we’ve obtained our fifth orgasm of the day as a result of varying self-satisfying methods that we look down on our pleasure puddle and think to ourselves, ‘I can do at least two more’. So we grind our teeth, tighten our grips, and stretch our skin to its capacity, in pursuit of that magical number that will defy doubters and garner praise from our peers. But once we’ve finally caught our breath and reentered our normal states of rationale and consciousness for the seventh time in less than twenty-four hours, a new thought infiltrates our psyches: ‘What the fuck is wrong with me?’
Anyone looking to shake off shame and forget today’s nut-busting bender ever happened should seek refuge in Down River Brewing’s dainty and delectable ‘Tiki Torch Tropical Kiwi Saison’. It’s got the perfect flavor profile and hop balance to shift your attention toward, instead of contemplating another tug or finger fest, which would make you two away from a personal record. Best of all, the ‘Tiki Torch Tropical Kiwi Saison’ is highly potent, with an ABV of over 11 percent, ensuring that multiple sips will increase your overall fatigue and subdue even the most intense, debilitating libidos.
BEST BEER FOR HELPING YOU REMEMBER BILL ENGVALL JOKES: Yuk Yuk Brewing’s ‘Blue Collar Belgian’
We’ve all been there. You’re at the holiday office party, surrounded by a crowd of coworkers, completely in awe and engulfed in every word that comes out of your mouth. You begin reciting the set up of your favorite Bill Engvall joke, and right before you slay your fellow cubicle spectators with a foolproof, blue collar-patented punchline… Nothing… Blank… Darkness… You open your mouth in the shape of how you usually verbalize words, but the only thing that vacates your face hole is the aroma of menthol cigarettes and humiliation. As you struggle to summon the necessary sentence that completes the joke and evokes laughter, your coworker crowd scatters, hanging their heads in indignity at your failure to entertain. You blew it.
If you never want to experience this level of mortification and dishonor again, it’s time to start sipping some Yuk Yuk Brewing’s ‘Blue Collar Belgian’ before your next social gathering. With its subtle sweetness and tangy aftertaste, ‘Blue Collar Belgian’ is able to edibly evoke the comedic characteristics and charm of Bill Engvall, whenever you need it the most. After indulging in some ‘Blue Collar Belgians’, you’ll never risk crashing and burning a classic Bill Engvall bit, such as,
“This guy from L.A. sits down next to me, and he says “you like baseball?” I said, “Oh, man, I love baseball.” So he goes “Did you know that if Jesus had played ball, he’d have been the greatest ball player ever?” Like I’m gonna argue with that logic. So I sat there for a second, and then I said “did you know that if Babe Ruth had been the Messiah, the Catholics would have beer and hot dogs at Communion?” He left!”Famous Comedian And Multi-Millionaire Bill Engvall
BEST BEER FOR WATCHING THE 2007 VINCE VAUGHN HOLIDAY FAMILY COMEDY ‘FRED CLAUS’ WITH: ‘Mickey’s Malt Liquor’
‘Tis-the-sea-son-for-Fred-Claus-time, VIN-VIN-VIN-VIN-VIN, VIN-VIN, VINCE-VAUGHN!!!’ Ho-ho-ho merry drinkers! It’s that time of the year again where we pop open the bags of Garden Salsa Sun Chips, fill up our syringes with extracted gland fluids of venomous Amazon toads, and fire up the HD DVD player for another enchanting viewing party of the 2007 Vince Vaughn Holiday Family Comedy ‘Fred Claus’!!! But before we witness this festive spectacle that failed to surpass its $100 million budget at the box office, we need to twist our caps and raise our plastic green containers in honor to Mr. Christmas himself, Vince Vaughn! There’s nothing like the malty foam of a Mickey’s Malt Liquor to twist our tongues and deplete our brain oxygen levels as we treat our eyes to the greatest piece of cinema to ever cast both Kevin Spacey and Ludacris. Happy Holidays folks!!! Hasta la vista 2020!!!