The Best Beers of the Year (So Far): Quarter 1, 2023 Edition

Have you ever looked at a “best beers” list and been disappointed that all of the winners were only available on the other side of the country? Even a local list could show beers that were available nearby, but they’re long gone and you just didn’t know what you were missing at the time. We need a list that highlights the best new beers available right here, right now. With that in mind, welcome to “The Best Beers of the Year (So Far)”, where we will highlight the highest rated beers released just in a 3 month period around Central Texas – with the hope that it’s not too late to run out and grab these before they disappear forever.

Photo Credit: St. Elmo

Some important notes about this series:

  • Rather than share opinions, these rankings are purely based on data. What data? Untappd’s data. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Untappd ratings are unreliable and heavily skewed, we can’t trust them!” We’ve considered this, and are presenting the data with a few considerations:
    • Beer awards will be grouped based on style.  Not only is this a nice way to organize the results, but it also resolves “style skew” that Untappd is notorious for – that is, IPAs/Stouts/Sours always rank higher than Lagers/Wheats/Etc because those styles are generally more popular.
      • Similar styles are grouped together, and some categories may be combined if there aren’t many entries.  For example, Belgian and Wheat are combined here just because neither category individually had enough beers.
    • Only the top beer from each brewery in each style category will be judged, although we will write out all other beers that would have made the list as well.  As we know, some breweries specialize in certain styles and would run the category if not limited to one entry.  This is an attempt to resolve “brewery skew”, where breweries that are known for making good beer will generally get higher ratings.
    • And most importantly, for those of you not familiar with Untappd, a beer must have at least 10 ratings for an average to be available.  Any beer with less than 10 ratings on Untappd cannot be eligible.  Naturally this is in place… well because it has to be, we can’t rank a beer that doesn’t have a rating.  But also it also helps to resolve “sample size skew”, which is that more ratings = more accuracy.  We considered increasing that number from 10 to 25, but there are way too many beers that would lose eligibility if that were the limit.  In this case, some skew is preferred over disqualifying a large number of beers.
      • Untappd check-in count is different from rating count, because a surprisingly large number of people do not rate beers.  So you may see a beer with more than 10 check-ins, but less than 10 ratings, which would not make the list.
      • To give beers a chance to obtain the necessary 10 ratings, this data will be complied and the article released 2 to 3 weeks after the end of each quarterly period.  Any beers released during that 2 to 3 week period are eligible for next quarter.
      • Unfortunately, this means that popular breweries are more likely to be eligible than those in less populated areas.  We apologize to breweries that do not make the list because they have not gathered enough data to do so.
  • Considering the small sample size, should this series become popular, there is a definite possibility of cheating occurring.  All Untappd data is publicly available, so if you are caught giving beers high ratings just to help them make this list, you will be publicly shamed.  This goes for both individuals, and employees of breweries.  If you’re a brewery employee, you may even risk getting your brewery banned from the list.  Please don’t cheat, let the votes work out naturally.  There’s no prize here, just a minor amount of publicity.
  • Release date in this case is equal to the date the beer was added to Untappd.  This is usually the first time someone checks-in the beer, the same day or soon after it’s available.  Some beers may be added ahead of time, and others may not show up for a little while.  If the actual release date places the beer in a separate quarterly period than the Untappd created date… sorry.  It’ll be eligible for the next article instead.
    • Additionally, this list is only including new beer releases.  New batches of existing beers are not eligible, as that data cannot be easily pulled.
      • Although now we have to discuss Untappd vintage rules… the rule is that a yearly release of a beer is only allowed on Untappd if it has been packaged, and the label has the year written on it (the label – not a stamp on the bottom of the can).  So, a special stout released in bottles yearly is allowed (if the year is on the label), but a draft only IPA released yearly is not.  It would be strange to exclude valid packaged vintages from this list since we do have the data for those, so they are allowed.  I apologize if this doesn’t make sense, but that’s the data we have to work with.  If you’re a brewer, include the year on the can design if you want in!
  • Ratings are accurate as of writing.  They will certainly change as time goes on, so it’s very likely the number seen on Untappd will not match the one in this article.  This is not a live data view, so we apologize for any changes in ranking that occur after publishing.
  • Although this article attempts to be timelier than yearly lists, it’s likely that many of these beers are already unavailable, as they’re often draft only and last just a few weeks.  As much as we’d like to produce articles like this monthly, there just isn’t really enough data by the month to do so accurately.  Hopefully you can still get your hands on a number of these, if you haven’t already!
Photo Credit: Hedgehog Brewing

Without further ado, here are the top beers released in Central Texas from January to March 2023!


  • Rippem Lotto
    • Pinthouse Pizza
    • Lager – Japanese Rice
    • Added 03/17/23
    • 4.06
    • Vundabier also made the top 5
  • Smoke Rings
    • Roughhouse Brewing
    • Lager – Dark
    • Added 01/19/23
    • 3.95
  • Dangerous Nights
    • Pecan Street Brewing
    • Schwarzbier
    • Added 01/08/23
    • 3.95
  • Schmaltzy
    • Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
    • Lager – Vienna
    • Added 01/26/23
    • 3.93
  • Sandlot Lager
    • Barking Armadillo Brewing
    • Lager – American Light
    • Added 03/02/23
    • 3.88


  • Grimm Tales
    • Hedgehog Brewing
    • Pilsner – German
    • Added 01/07/23
    • 4.06
  • Bierra Di Bocce
    • Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches
    • Pilsner – Italian
    • Added 02/11/23
    • 4.02
  • Before Times Pilsner
    • Pecan Street Brewing, Collaboration with Circle Brewing Co.
    • Pilsner – Czech / Bohemian
    • Added 03/05/23
    • 3.95
  • Neu! Pils
    • Hold Out Brewing
    • Pilsner – German
    • Added 01/16/23
    • 3.85
  • Starè Bohemian Pils
    • Pinthouse Pizza
    • Pilsner – Czech / Bohemian
    • Added 02/15/23
    • 3.85

Pale Ale:

IPA (New England / Hazy):

IPA (West Coast / Other):

Porter / Stout (Standard):

Porter / Stout (Imperial), Strong Ale:



Belgian / Wheat:

  • Dooble Troobel
    • Slackers Brewing Co.
    • Belgian Dubbel
    • Added 02/12/23
    • 4.02
  • Rum Barrel BTHA
    • Guadalupe Brewing
    • Belgian Blonde
    • Added 01/14/23
    • 3.98
  • Redheads Have More Fun
    • Lass Haüs Ales
    • Belgian Strong Golden Ale
    • Added 01/06/23
    • 3.93
  • Steps
    • Austin Beerworks
    • Wheat Beer – Witbier / Blanche
    • Added 03/12/23
    • 3.89
  • Luna Azul
    • Whitestone Brewery
    • Wheat Beer – American Pale Wheat
    • Added 01/27/23
    • 3.69

Ale (Other):

  • Faery Boots
    • Acopon Brewing Company
    • Mild – Other
    • Added 03/08/23
    • 4.19
  • Goldens Grahams
    • Austin Beerworks
    • Cream Ale
    • 4.01
    • Added 03/12/23
    • Tree Boys also makes the top 5
  • Stretchy Pants
    • Zilker Brewing Company
    • Blonde Ale
    • Added 02/17/23
    • 3.96
  • Hazel
    • St. Elmo Brewing Company
    • Bitter – Extra Special / Strong (ESB)
    • Added 03/03/23
    • 3.90
  • Layla
    • Lass Haüs Ales
    • Cream Ale
    • Added 03/06/23
    • 3.84


And there we have it!  If you enjoyed this article or have feedback, please feel free to email me directly at, or you can contact us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  Thanks for reading!

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