As 2015 comes to a close I thought I’d take a look back and highlight my top 10 beers of the last 12 months.
I am happy to report that the choice becomes more and more of a beery dilemma, year after year.
The number of fine beverages in pubs, bars – and even in supermarkets – presents a pleasurable head scratcher.
I have drunk lots of different beer brands and styles in 2015 – all in moderation of course.
And I would say I have enjoyed at least 30 stand out beers.
A stand out beer for me has to have many components. A nice bouquet, fine balance, fully flavoured, good mouthfeel and a pleasant finish and aftertaste.
I have managed to eventually identify a top 10 tipples of the year.
They are not in order of preference and also included are the watering holes where they were consumed – all destinations are very highly recommended for their consistency of beer quality and condition.
The list starts with the brewery, followed by brand and then the location where I was fortunate to taste it.
Marble, Earl Grey IPA, Marble Arch, Manchester
At a whopping 6%. Smooth texture and citrus fruit laden. Balanced to perfection.
Swannay (Orkney), Pale Ale (4.7%),New Brew-M, Burnley
This refreshing, citrusy delight had the “wow factor” for me, like many do at this town centre bar.
Stancill (Sheffield), Barnsley Best Bitter(3.8%), The Junction, Castleford
All beers from the wood here. You can tell the difference too. Malty smooth and refreshing - and yes, a tad woody.
Seven Brothers (Manchester), Session, Ale House, Clitheroe
Another “wow factor” beer. How did they pack so much citrus and floral flavour, in a 3.8% ale?
Big Clock (Accrington), Ghost Imperial Stout (7.5%), Hare and Hounds, Padiham
Rich,smooth and complex. Dark fruits, treacly, roasted malts. Deep flavoured excellence.
Stewart (Edinburgh), Saison Des Pluies (4.9%), New Brew-M, Burnley
Refreshing, lemony and a hint of spice. Top three contender.
Camden Town, Camden Pils (4.6%), Nino’s, Burnley
Lemony aroma. Grapefruit, lemons and subtle spice flavours detected. A zestful delight.
Vocation (Hebden Bridge): Heart and Soul (4.4%)
This was out of a can! I was gobsmacked at all the fruitiness and refreshment in a canned beer. Mango, passion fruit and pineapple all present. A brewing masterpiece.
Everards, Tiger Bitter (4.2%), Bridge Bier Huis, Burnley
I drink this superb beer about twice as fast as any other. It’s so flavoursome and thirst quenching. Malt and hops are perfectly balanced.
Ghost Brewing Co. (Baildon), Heretic (5.7%), Beer Engine, Skipton
Smooth, robust and chocolate laden. Subtle smoked notes detected. Another one that wowed the palate.
So, there you have 10 tremendous tipples - in my opinion.
I’m sure 2016 will be even better, in the pursuit of quality beers.