My Son’s back from Iraq and we’re planning to celebrate his return from harm’s way by visiting the Great British Beer Festival this weekend!
It occurred to me that one of my first contributions to The Brew Club was about last year’s GBBF, and I thought this an opportune moment to think back to some of the fine beers I’ve enjoyed on the The Brew Club’s behalf.
Over the past 12 months or so I’ve reviewed over fifty beers, from across Europe, South America, Asia and of course The UK. And looking in my beer fridge there are some interesting beers still to still be sampled and reviewed including beers from Thailand, Lithuania and Estonia, plus the 2009 Great British Beer Festival this weekend which boasts “At least 450 beers available throughout, including golden ales, fruit beers, stouts, bitters and some international real lagers.”
So, in no particular order, while these might not be my absolute favourites, here are ten beers that have really stood out for me, ‘Bob the Brit’ this year:
1. Timothy Taylor’s ‘Landlord’ – Bitter – 4.1% – 4.3%
“a full bodied dark amber ale with a slightly nutty taste that distinguishes it from other bitters.”
2. Jenlain – Biere de Garde 7.5%
“The flavour is rich and malty, slightly sweet, slightly spicy with a subtle hop bite that reminds you you’re drinking something special. Some have described a hint of apples or Armagnac…”
3. Samuel Smiths Old Brewery Bitter – 3.8%
“The nose was pleasantly hoppy and the flavour was distinctively ‘nutty’… first cousin to Timothy Taylor’s Landlord… but not quite as strong.”
4. Grolsch Premium Weizen – Wheat Beer – 5.3%
“…this is a traditional wheat beer; better than that, it’s a classic! I would suggest that this is probably a good yardstick to measure other wheat beers by…”
5. Bernard ‘Tmave’ – Dark Czech Lager = 5.1% ABV
“hints of chocolate, coffee and, somewhere in the mix, a hint of black cherry… sort of Black Forest Gateau.”
6. Kasteel Cru – Lager – 5.3%
” light and refreshing, and ever so slightly sweet… an excellent, well balanced flavour”
7. Fullers London Porter – 5.4%
“The flavour is full, with strong dark coffee giving way to bitter chocolate, with a hint of apple and spice… and then the hops kick in and you know you’re drinking a classic.”
8. Schneider Weisse Aventinus – Doppelbock – 8.2%
“…incredibly complex, you get a sharp/sour note that’s close to a Belgian Lambic and then the full flavour rolls in; once again, it’s Christmas pudding, raisins, cherries and a hint of caramel.”
9. Staropramen – Czech Lager – 5%
“slightly sweet, but with a gentle malty background flavour that soon surrenders to a hoppy bite.”
10. Lion Stout – 8.8% ABV
“rich fruitcake, followed by the coffee and hints of dark chocolate. Then the taste of liquorice comes in and hits your taste buds until the next sip when the whole experience starts again.”
Looking back at that list there are quite a few dark, sweet chocolatey beers in there, which surprises even me as I’m usually to be seen at my local holding a pint of Hurlimann Lager or Masterbrew Bitter.
No matter, I hope you’ve enjoyed these reviews over the past year as much as I’ve enjoyed drinking the beers and writing about them, as always The Brew Club welcomes your comments, and here’s to the next year of reviewing!
Have you uncovered any surpising beer favourites of your own over the past year?