You may have read my last post about my accidental journey into the world of beer reviews, well here are my ten favourite brews I tried in 2013.
It’s actually quite a difficult list to write, and even tougher to list them all. A lot of beer is of a certain level, and there’s not a lot to say why x is much better than y. Plus sometimes it’s not about how the beer tastes, but the context you’re drinking it in. The list here doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best beers – more, perhaps, the ones that made the biggest impression on me.
The first five in the list aren’t in any particular order, the top 5 are sort of ranked, with a definite favourite at number one. If you asked me tomorrow I might change my mind, but you can rest assured I enjoyed all of these beers.
10 – 6
St Austell: Tribute
This is here because it’s a good quality, tasty beer that is freely available in most large supermarkets. I remember being pleasantly surprised by just how good it was, and that also applied to ‘Proper Job’ another of St Austell’s beers.
Aptly named this one, because I’d forgotten all about it. Looking over my mini reviews though I wrote some very good things about it – which is fairly unusual. That’s enough for me to recommend it, even though I can’t remember that much about it!
Williams’ Bros: Ceilidh
I like the beers that the William’s Brothers put out, and this was a great little find in a deli shop in Perthshire. It only cost me £1.30, and as I noted in my alelog review I really should have bought 30 bottles. A good lager.
Harviestoun: Schiehallion / Sainsbury’s Craft Lager
Talking of good lagers, this is another. Even better that you can get it from Sainsbury’s labelled as their own ‘Craft Lager’.
Greenwich (for M&S): Black IPA
Greenwich have done quite a few nice releases for M&S, and they’ve all been pretty good. This one was my favourite though. I like a fruity, zesty IPA. I like a darker beer, and this combined the two very effectively.
5: Black Isle: Black Run (Tomintoul Whishky Cask)
Going by Ml/£ this is by far the most expensive bottle I’ve treated myself to so far. It was a special small run, bought directly from the brewery shop on the Black Isle in Scotland. Aged in whisky barrels from the Tomatin Distillery, it was a wonderfully heavy, aroma and flavour packed concoction. I’m glad I spent my money on it.
4: BrewDog: Hobo Pop
Don’t let the name put you off. It might conjure up images of Heldy Super or Buckfast, but thankfully this is a world away from booze stained shirts on a park bench. Wonderfully grapefruity aroma, a wonderfully light, zippy taste and a finish that stayed with you far ages. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
3: Hardknott: Code Black
Another great example of a dark IPA, combining the best of both very effectively – and slightly tastier than the the Greenwich.
2: Wold Top: Headland Red
This was a beer that genuinely made me say “Wow!”. Genuinely different flavours that pretty much everything else I tried all year – and in a good way. Almost coffee like, but with a gorgeous nutty creaminess to the whole brew.
1: Windswept: Tornado Citra IPA
This one blew me away (arf). I try not to talk about hops too much, but it’s hard not to with a single variety beer l like this. I had tried Citra hops in a few different beers over the year, and although I like the top heavy, blow your head citrus power of them, I’ve always found the drinks themselves to be a bit too much hard work. Too bitter, too harsh – too hoppy. Tornado gets it spot on, all that citrusy, grapefruity flavour, but with the right amount of bitterness an bite. Absolutely the beer that stood out most for this year.