Saturday, May 14, 2011

Are these the best beers around?

During the week my attention was drawn to an article on in which 5 celebrities of the beer world selected 20 of their favourite beers, covering both British and foreign selections. I thought I would share their thoughts on the British selection with you.

It does not make it clear whether the list is in any sort of order but first to appear was Dark Star 'Hophead'. I am quite happy for this choice, it is always a beer I enjoy, and rarely falls short and fails to deliver. I have never yet met anyone who does not enjoy it.

Badger 'Golden Champion' is their next selection, ideal for summer barbeques with a hint of elderflower; I must admit it would not appear on my list though. The same is not true of their next choice, I think Meantime 'London Pale Ale' is a gem of a beer, from an excellent brewery, and another beer which seems to attract universal approval. Another London brewery to feature is Camden Town, with their 'Camden Pale Ale'. I have only encountered this beer once, at the Southampton Arms in Kentish Town, where it was excellent, and well worth its place on the list,and well worth a trip out of central London to sample it.

Next come two darker beers, I am not sure about the choice of Hooky 'Dark' which I have always found a bit thin for my taste, but the next choice Harviestoun 'Ola Dubh 40' is certainly a worthy choice, and a beer I had not realised was available in bottles. It is a version of the 6% 'Ola Dubh' which is dark and full flavoured and matured in 40 year old Highland Park whisky barrels to make a decadent beer with all sorts of interesting flavours going on.

Another couple of lighter beers then appear. 'Crop Circle' from Hop Back is a great, summer session beer and one that is readily available in bottles. Just the thing for sitting around watching the sun set on a balmy summer evening. The same can be true of St Peters 'Organic Best Bitter', which is another beer that transfers effortlessly to the bottled form.

Wychwood brew the next choice, Duchy Original 'Old Ruby Ale'. I must confess to never having seen this beer, but I am assuming from the name it would not be one of my favourites, but I have known to be wrong before so who knows ?

The ubiquitous 'Abbot Ale' from Greene King makes an appearance in the list, I don't think its a beer that is as good as it used to be and one I often avoid, but I do know others who really rate it, and not because it comes cheap at Wetherspoons either.

The final range selected I have no argument with, and they are all beers that are often available locally in the Grove. All pack lots of flavour into the glass, and are all massively hopped. My sort of beer in fact. Thornbridge 'Kipling' is there, with its great use of New Zealand hops;Marble 'Manchester Bitter' is also included, as Brewdog 'Punk IPA'. Three more beers that showcase the art of their respective brewers and all, in my opinion worthy of their place in the list.

So there you have it. Their taste is not always the same as mine, but the core of beers that have been chosen cover every type and style, there must be some there to your taste as well. Just try and make a list of your favourites, it is not an easy task at all.


Tandleman said...

Talking about the Grove, a little bird tells me that they serve keykeg through a handpull. Is this true?

Timbo said...

Sorry about delay in replying, I had to go and check !!! At least one of their beers in keykeg is on present it is a 9% double ipa, not bad at all though

Tandleman said...

Thanks for doing that. So. If I read that correctly, it is brewery conditioned beer, therefore misleading dispense? Puts their GBG entry in jeopardy. Do they understand that I wonder?

Timbo said...

Not sure about the 'proper' Camra interpretation of key keg. There is no attempt by the pub to mislead anyone, it is scripted on their beer board as keykeg, I will leave it to others to make what decisions they like in respect of the method of dispense and interpretations of keykeg. I have my opinions but have no intention of going public with them. I just think, although I have not spoken to anyone at the pub about it, that they have found a way to widen the range of beers available to the punter, and source beer that is unusual to the area.

Tandleman said...

The usual method of dispense for keykeg is a keg fount. That's the way it was designed if you read the company's own website. The use of a handpump would indicate some desire to grey the picture, muddy the waters, blur the lines etc. One cannot really put a benign interpretation on that.

Why a handpump when it is firmly associated with cask conditioned beer? If the beer is further conditioned in the keykeg that might well be different of course.

Seems needless to me to create such a situation.