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When I do this each year, casting my eye back over my notes and blogs, memories and episodes, I always do it with a smile on my face. There’s so much damn good beer out there. Of course, there was some indifferent, lacklustre, and downright bad beer too (from all kinds of brewers, too) , but not that much. Really. On average, I think we do quite well. Either that, or I don’t drink enough.
My list of beers that really put a smile on my face are below, but first, a couple of honourable mentions for beers that really knocked me for six. Brodie’s London Sour not only packed a hell of of a lot of flavour, taste and drinkability into a 3.8% package, but must be the only UK Berliner Weisse that I’ve tasted (if there’s more, please let me know). Considering the only over Berliner Weisse I’ve tasted is, well, *Berliner Kindl Weisse, that’s pretty unique. I can’t think of many other styles I’ve only drunk two examples of. Massive kudos has to go to Jamie, Lizzie and the crew at Brodies for not only having a go at this – but absolutely nailing it.
I’ve given Oakham praise on too many occasions now; their entire range is packed with great beer after great beer; from the zesty, summer vibes of Inferno, the innovative Citra (still the best Citra beer out there in my opinion – you won’t find one more quaffable and balanced) to the dark deliciousness of Hawse Buckler, the ace up their sleeve is simply to pack their beers with flavour. You can tell an Oakham beer a mile off; it’s full-bodied, generously hopped, yet eminently drinkable.
Green Devil IPA is a masterstroke; and a welcome addition to that family. I won’t repeat what I said on my recent post about it, but if you’ve not tried it yet, then you really are missing out on possibly the best (in my humble opinion, of course) IPA from these shores right now. And yes, that does include Kernel’s imperious output.
Well done those two. Here is my list of some of the beers that have truly stood out for me this year.
Wold Top Scarbrough Fair IPA * Marble/Emelisse Earl Grey IPA * Marble Saison * Marble/Fuller’s Old Manchester * The Brew Co Hop Ripper * Magic Rock Bourbon Barrel Bearded Lady * Summer Wine Maelstrom/Kopikat * Hop Studio XS * Wild Beer Co Modus Operandi * Thwaites Tavern Porter * Revolutions London Calling * Hardknott The English Experiment * BrewDog Dead Pony Club * Saltaire Empress IPA * Bristol Beer Factory Ultimate Stout * Quantum Bitter * Nottingham Brewery Extra Pale Ale * Hawkshead Drystone Stout * Wensleydale Coverdale Poacher * Stroud Tom Long * Sharp’s Quadrupel * St Peter’s Old Style Porter * Adnams Ghost Ship * Roosters/Odell The Accomplice * Nils Oscar Kalasol * Cerveza Tramuntana Rotja * Thornbridge Halcyon 2012 * BrewFist Spaceman IPA * Windsor & Eton Windsor Knot * Beavertown Smog Rocket Smoked Porter * Mallinsons Sorachi Ace *Chapel Down Curious Brew * Crouch Vale Yakima * Five Towns Dunkel * Brodie’s Kiwi * Flying Dog In De Wildeman Farmhouse IPA * Williams Bros Double Joker IPA * Harvey’s Best * Fuller’s Past Masters Burton Ale *
And many, many others, I’m sure….
Ones to watch? The beers of*Wild Beer Co have been excellent each time I’ve tried them, and I think that Hop Studio’s cask offerings are getting more consistent, too. I know I feature them a lot on here, but I’m looking forward to seeing what Tom and Ol Fozard do with Outlaw in 2013, as well.
Here’s to 2013!