Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Beers of the Year 2014




It's been a brilliant year for beer and I. We've had our up's and down's like any relationship, but I guess it's been pretty defining for us, and we've gotten through it stronger than ever. Last night me and a few mates in the pub had a little debate about what we thought our 'Beers of the Year' were, the highlights, the lowlights, and everything in between It got quite heated at one stage, when someone piped up their rediscovering of San Miguel, but you know what, it's a bloody good lager, especially on draught in this country (it's rubbish in Spain - always luke warm). Anyways, in no particular order, here's my Beers of the Year 2014!


St Austell Korev Cornish Lager

Brewed by the St Austell brewery in the West Country, Korev is a beautiful lager with a rich Honey aroma and taste. Easy going with plenty of flavour, it's hands down my favourite lager of the year. Available direct from the St Austell brewery.



BrewDog Konnichiwa Kitsune

Probably released to invade the lucrative Japanese market, the guys at BrewDog have churned out a brilliant, balanced Double IPA, as per their speciality. With massive mandarin, grapefruit and lime notes, it does my heartburn no good whatsoever, but it's damn good, and a little dangerous, sitting at 8.2%. Buy it in the BrewDog shop online.



Weird Beard 5 O'Clock Shadow

Maybe I drink this in the vein hope I'll one day grow some facial hair. But alas, no such luck. I stumbled on this beer back at the London Craft Beer Festival at the Oval Space in Bethnal Green. In fact, that's pretty much all I remember about the night, apart from monkey-bar swinging on tube trains on the way home and being mildly inappropriate to a young couple. The less said about that the better, but the beer is fantastic.
Disclaimer: Weird Beard 5 O'Clock Shadow was not in any way (well, maybe a tad) responsible for my terrible behaviour and inappropriate yodelling on the Central line on the 16th August 2014.


Pressure Drop Bosko IPA

Ah, Pressure Drop, probably my favourite brewery of 2014, beautiful little bottles with fantastic labelling and even better contents. This is my kind of brewer, not defined by the label, but lets the beer do the talking. Bosko is a slightly sweet and malty, dry-hopped IPA with a colourful character and a label which looks like an 80's TV holding page. Buy it HERE!


De Halve Maan Bruges Zot

Don't you remember, I went on a Beer Pilgrimage in September to the mecca that is Belgium, and Bruges in particular. I had a blast, but one beer stood head and shoulders above for me for  drinkability and taste, and that was the unfiltered Bruges Zot, available only from the brewery in the heart of Bruges. Worth the trip alone, this biscuity, hoppy and slightly yeasty Belgian was at its best straight from the tanks. Pretty good in bottle in this country, but unbelievably good in the courtyard at De Halve Maan brewery.


La Socarrada

I've saved the best for last, obviously, and if you read my post about My Favourite Beer, then you'll know how much I bum this one. Brewed by some artisan brewers in the heart of Spain, La Socarrada is brewed with Rosemary and Rosemary Honey. The result is a perfectly balanced beer, at home with food, but I love it on it's own. I paired this at a tasting with Roast Lamb and it remains a biblical pairing for those who witnessed it. Expensive, but worth it, La Socarrada is available from Ales By Mail for £3.65 a bottle.


So, there you have it. I've tried so many more beers this year, extended my knowledge and liver capacity far beyond anything I ever imagined, and I'm sure I'm missing loads of fantastic beers I've tasted, but can't quite remember. I'd love to hear what your Beers of the Year are in the comments below, but from me, have a Hoppy Christmas and a Happy New Beer, see you on the other side!

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