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aleandhearty
20-12-2011, 12:53
OK, there are a couple of weeks to go, but I thought I'd get things started to give people a chance to reflect and ponder awhiles. Personally, I think it's been another very good for beer, though on an anecdotal level I seem to have found more problems with quality and conditioning in the last couple of months, than the rest of the entire year. No doubt a reflection of the parlous times we live in.

My choices are based on those I've actually drunk and enjoyed over the last twelve months, I'm not saying they're necessarily the best twelve out there. Anyhoo, they are:

Dark Star - Hophead.
Sarah Hughes - Ruby Mild.
Ossett - B2K IPA.
Five Towns - Lucky7.
Fernandes - Malt Shovel Mild.
Elland - Nocturne.
Mallinsons - NZ3.
Northern - Two Tone Stout.
Kirkstall - Black Band Porter.
Magic Rock - High Wire.
Magic Rock - Dark Arts.
Fyne Ales - Jarl.

As someone who tends to drink at the pale end of the spectrum most of the time, I'm surprised at the number of dark beers in the list (approx 2:1), but maybe my enjoyment of them is a reaction to pale beer overload?

If I had to pick a champion beer, then it's an easy choice (and probably no surprise to many), the superb Magic Rock High Wire.

What about everybody else?

Bucking Fastard
21-12-2011, 17:28
Like a&h,a lot of my drinking is focussed on the lighter end of the colour spectrum and here are some runners and riders in that category:

Fyne Jarl
Thornbridge Chiron
Redemption Big Chief
Blue Monkey BG Sips
Oakham Citra
Oakham Bishop's Farewell
Titanic White Star
Magic Rock High Wire
Steel City Brewing Riot in Paradise
Marble W90


I have tried this year to be a bit more adventurous and have a go at a few more dark ales and glad I did so.In this area these were some memorable pints

Titanic Chocolate Vanilla Stout
Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby
Red Squirrel London Porter
Fullers London Porter

Two other more traditional bitters also stand out

Bathams Bitter
Bass (which I believe is now brewed by Marston's and has regained it's sulphur nose)


So pint of the year is going to be a difficult decision and I may well have forgotten some complete stars.However compiling that list shows that 2011 was a good year:nishelypished: and made me rather thirsty.Off down The Edgar Wallace tomorrow ,lets hope that trip adds to the list.:drinkup:

Thuck Phat
23-12-2011, 21:04
This year I have mostly been drinking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Oakham Bishops Farewell.

Farway
24-12-2011, 14:20
This year I have mostly been drinking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . HSB

Mainly because as ex Gales area most are now Fuller's pubs, limited choice TBH, but still a nice pint

MJ71
25-12-2011, 19:54
My favourites of 2011 have not been particularly new beers:

1) RCH Pitchfork. Gorgeous as always.
2) Salopian Shropshire Gold
2) Holdens Black Country Bitter
4) Gadds no.7
5) Dark Star American Pale Ale.

oldboots
26-12-2011, 11:22
after a long hard think I've narrowed it down to anything by Mallinsons, Oakham or Salamander

Oggwyn Trench
26-12-2011, 12:07
after a long hard think I've narrowed it down to anything by Mallinsons, Oakham or Salamander

Agreed but could easily add anything by White Rose , Pictish or Salopian , decisions decisions !

Strongers
26-12-2011, 13:52
I've not really got a beer of the year, but I've been drinking a lot of Dark Star this year and I've not found one I don't like. So hats off to them.

Spinko
26-12-2011, 16:54
I scrolled right through all your choices as I wanted to make my own before reading yours, and then read yours.

I've had a good number of tasty Ossett and Fernandes ales, but because they never call their best ones the same name twice, I can't remember any of them.

Oldenshaw-Heavenly Blonde
Rat-King Rat
Magic Rock-Cannonball

I would like to add Thornbridge-Kipling but I won't, because I'm not sure if I had it this year!

Old Blue
28-12-2011, 11:31
I've not really got a beer of the year, but I've been drinking a lot of Dark Star this year and I've not found one I don't like. So hats off to them.

I'm in pretty much the same place, loads of great stuff from Dark Star, with Oakham, Thornbridge and (less consistently) Cottage putting in really good showings also.

Plymouth City Roller Girls' Skullcrusher by Summerskills remains the most memorable of my year, though I'm not sure what fantasies that might betray...

Quinno
28-12-2011, 12:07
I suppose a lot of it depends on where you live and where you travel to during the year. For me, the consistent brewers this year (where I have sampled five or more) are Saltaire, Thornbridge, Hawkshead, Dark Star, Marble, Purple Moose, Ascot, Windsor & Eton, O' Hanlons, Bath, Moorhouse and St Peters.

Only had one taste of the Magic Rock so far :confused: and that was in keg, so I'll reserve judgement for now. I'm looking forward to seeking out more Camden, Buxton and Kernal beers as those I tasted this year were fantastic.

I think Saltaire are my brewery of the year, they have come on leaps and bounds in the last 12 months and have an excellent portfolio of brews now.

Beer of the year was Ascot Ales Aardvark. Very many to choose from but I must have had six or seven pints of it when it was on in the Nags so that clinches it for me.

On an aside, the two Sarah Hughes I had this year were not of the high quality I associate with the brew and one bordered on the disappointing. Maybe I was unlucky?

PaulOfHorsham
28-12-2011, 16:58
Dark Star, of course, always have something of interest and this year's Green Hopped IPA was right up there. Possibly even better was the Saison, which was ideal summer drinking. I'm looking forward to seeing their plans for 2012.

The Kernel Simcoe IPA was sensational but, at 7% not one for session drinking (even if I could find it regularly). I also had more Surrey Hills this year than in recent years and I like what they do.

But the most notable brewery for me has been Magic Rock and, in particular, their High Wire, which the Southampton Arms served up splendidly a few months ago.

Wittenden
28-12-2011, 18:42
From light to dark...

Dark Star –Hophead
Ossett-Silver King
Thornbridge Hall-Wild Swan
Triple fff-Ramble Tamble APA
Copper Dragon-Golden Pippin
Old Dairy-Blue Top
Adnams -New Zealand PA
Larkins-Traditional
Harvey’s –Knots of May Light Mild
Old Dairy-Silver Top
Loddon –Penny Pond Porter
Harvey’s xxxxOld Ale
Tonbridge-Ebony Moon
Flowerpots-Cheriton Porter
Theakston-Old Peculier

My overall beer of the year is Adnam's New Zealand Pale Ale, a serious, sensual , reassuring ale that I could have drunk all evening, in a pub that I'd returned to after too long a gap.
Usually at this time of year I whinge that I have still not drunk anything from Palmer's, Thornbridge Hall, or Donnington. This time, I can announce that I enjoyed a couple of pints of Palmers Copper Ale, revelled in a pint of Thornbridge Hall White Swan (still no Jaipur IPA). Again, no Donnington, and I have added Magic Rock to the list.

aleandhearty
29-12-2011, 16:47
This year I have mostly been drinking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Oakham Bishops Farewell.

If anyone deserves a few complimentary shares from Oakham 'TP', it has to be you! :D


I'm in pretty much the same place, loads of great stuff from Dark Star, with Oakham, Thornbridge and (less consistently) Cottage putting in really good showings also.


Dark Star - check. Oakham - check. Thornbridge - check. Cottage - ...er, are you sure 'OB'? :eek: Definitely one on my list of underwhelming breweries.

Quinno
29-12-2011, 17:45
Cottage - ...er, are you sure 'OB'? :eek: Definitely one on my list of underwhelming breweries.

Now, there's a category. Underwhelming breweries of 2011.

Despite the near monthly pic of Nick and praise in What's Brewing (do they know something about the editor's sister?), I have found a lot of the Otley beers flat and drab. :(

Seemingly hyped to the hilt round here over the last few months are Arbor, most of whose beers I find rough and as subtle as a half-brick in a sock. Some of their single hop range were particularly grim, like drinking hop oil rather than a carefully crafted ale. :sick: in stark contrast to what Chris at Ascot produced.

Old Blue
29-12-2011, 18:10
Cottage - ...er, are you sure 'OB'? :eek: Definitely one on my list of underwhelming breweries.

Yes, at the moment I am, A&H. They went through a really crap period earlier in the year, which lost them a hell of a lot of their custom. They ended up blaming it on a faulty heat exchanger, though if true it's not a great reflection on their QC that they send out so much duff beer before they noticed. Anyway, I believe the upshot was that they got their act together, and got back as much custom as possible by making offers too good to refuse to pubs they'd lost, and everything of theirs I've drunk since has been really good. I liked their Jurassic Bark even more than Dark Star's Festival. Their Invincible, Healey 3000, Wessex Brue and Concorde all worked well for me. It may just be that my tastes are different from yours, but if you've been steering clear of Cottage beers for a while, it might be worth giving them another go.

Thuck Phat
30-12-2011, 13:10
If anyone deserves a few complimentary shares from Oakham 'TP', it has to be you! :D




I'd definitely take those along with any free samples going A & H. I'm fortunate enough to have a local which has Bishops on as a regular as well as taking the odd guest from Oakham. Apparently, Oakham's owner still regularly quality checks the beer and has been known to reject a batch even if it's been passed by the brewer. Impressive and may explain the consistently high quality.

I'd agree with most other breweries mentioned here and would probably add Salopian who seem to have be brewing very good beer at the moment.

NickDavies
30-12-2011, 20:28
This month's Wot's Bruin tells us that if you're in CAMRA you can vote for the Champion Beer of Britain here www.cbobvoting.org.uk though I can't log into it to find out what you are supposed to do.

MJ71
31-12-2011, 15:54
Your membership no. + postcode should log you in.

Strongers
31-12-2011, 21:03
I've been trying to recall my favourite single beer of the year and I've decided on the pint of Over the Moon I had in the Victoria in Brighton.

trainman
02-01-2012, 12:19
So many beers, so little time...

I'd agree with many approvals above, incl Magic brewery whose High Wire I tried at Craft Beer Co & Cask P&K (for £3.90!) and at Crown Inn (£2.60). I gave Two Tone my botw in Wakefield but Osset Silver King was also superb at Graziers. Bishops Farewell would probably be in my all-time top 5, but I think I found more Thornbridge Kipling in 2011, often at Croydon's George, and that just about gets my nod.

Oggwyn Trench
02-01-2012, 19:06
After much thought i think my beer of the year will be Titanic - Chocolate , Vanilla Stout , but only the first batch i tried , for the second batch they tinkered with the recipe :confused: and it was still very good just not outstanding:(

Bucking Fastard
03-01-2012, 15:14
Having had a while to think about this ,my pint of the year goes to Steel City Brewing Riot in Paradise,a pale hop monster but with a degree of sublety which made it an outstanding ale.They use the small brewing plant owned by the Little Ale Cart Brewery behind The Wellington in Sheffield;I encountered this wonderful brew in their sister pub The Dragon Inn,Worcester.:drinkup: