After a mammoth December 12 beers and a personally mammoth few weeks I thought I should sign off the year with a top ten beers list, what could be easier just look at untapped and jot down a few notes easy.
So two days of moving things up down on and off the list here is my top ten of 2016
10 brewdog – Elvis juice a grapefruit tasting ipa fairly standard example of brewdog however it’s a strong good example in bottles on supermarket shelves at very reasonable prices so it just makes the list
9 nothern alchemy – dark chocolate mint milk stout like a milkshake of a beer its not to everyone’s taste but it’s a brilliant end of the night drink and stunning flavours
8 Almasty – dry hopped stout a 6.5% stout dry hopped with a balance and complexity of a truely great beer
7 box social – campfire porter see 12 beers of Christmas for review
6 Newcastle brewing Co – satsuma ipa fantastic orange citrus and hop combo perfect summer beer
5 nothern monk neopolitan pale the ice cream flavoured collaboration with little Leeds beer house a beer that so far no plans have been announced to rebrew and that is a crime
4 tavernale (bridge tavern) still feel the butterflies a 6.8% brown ale with fruity hops and a fantastic ballanced mouth of flavours
3 Wylam and the yeastie boys wxy a brilliant collaboration ipa from back in January and Wxy2 has been brewed and should be out in January 2017
2 tiny rebel brew Co – stay puft marshmalow porter tastes like toasted marshmalow and this one off got requested so much it became a seasonal and now a core range beer watch out for it in a supermarket near you in 2017
And the winner is garden of Eden – tool Danish brewed Fruity 6.4% ipa that blew my socks off back in March beers from this brewery are becoming more widely available and that can only be a good thing.
So that’s it 2016 a terrible year for celeb deaths politics and a dark patch on humanity, yes but my God the beer was good
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…….
Hops from yakima Valley (yakima gold)
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Something brewed organically (Sam smiths winter ale)
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Beer and charcuterie (box social)
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
A can from Vocation brewery (life and death)
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Real ale from marksy’s (marks and Spencer Adnams Christmas ale)
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me
A speach on sustainability (stu brew dissertation and craft beer event)
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
A can in a christmas tree (flying dog)
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
A ipa from near Derby (amber ales)
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Something tropical and juicy (tropigamma – beavertown)
On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me
A festive beer by anarchy (anarchy brew Co Rum and raisin porter)
On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Something pale and hoppy (radical Road – Stewart brewing)
And On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me
A bottle from the Isles Orkney (Orkney brewery – Clootie dumpling)
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me hops from yakima Valley
Yakima gold by crouch Vale brewery from Essex is the type of beer that got me into real ale blonde and hoppy straightforward and easy drinking, what sets this example (a finalist in Camra real ale in a bottle 2016) is the abundance of amarillo hops grown in the yakima Valley that lends it’s name to the beer. It has a amazing depth of flavour for a single hop beer really showcasing my favourite hop it has a earthyness at first and a great fruity aftertaste.
Unfortunately the demand for this humble hop is far more than the supply so it may become very hard to find amarillo in such a simple unfussy and clean beer in the future, we are already seeing the popularity of them give way to new Zealand’s fruity hop varietys however the UK has a great cross polenation project trying to make these big flavoured hops from yakima Valley happy to grow in the tyne Valley (try jester ipa from Marks and Spencer for a example of UK grown American tasting hops that didn’t exist a year ago).
Overall a very drinkable straight ahead golden ale showcasing a slowly disappearing hop that’s worth celebrating
Bottles available from beer hawk
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me ale brewed organically
Samuel Smith brewery in Tadcaster seems to be a bit of a hidden gem to the younger generation the sibling of the John Smith brewery bloodline who left to do his own thing.
All the beers they brew are certified organic and the chocolate stout has to be tried to be believed the Christmas ale is itself a throw back to a time when instead of adding spices to beers abd slapping a rudolph pump clip on it would take a regular brew and pump it up to a higher abv to see the regulars through the season.
Winter welcome ale tastes like a very fine real ale but with boulder kick at 6.0% bottle conditioned and brewed with hole dried fuggles and goldings hops the taste is that of a great flavoursome and rounded blonde beer
You can pick up a bottle at glug in the grainger market
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me a beer and charcuterie
Box social brewery have opened up a tap room in the former split chimp a former railway arch behind the train station boasting 4 cask and 10 keg lines it offers great choice at very reasonable prices on the night in question the selection included very fresh ipas Belgian beers Italian imports and some great local delights along side a board of meats and cheeses from Northumberland the star of the show was campfire porter brewed by box social themselves containing coffee from Pumphreys in the grainger market offset by a toasted marshmalow flavour it’s a sweet and powerful porter that is one of my favourite beers of the year well worth visiting for the beer the bar and the friendly staff
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me a can from Vocation brewery
Life and death ipa 6.5% is one of those go to beers that always full of flavour and does as ronseal once pitched exactly what it says on the tin
Across the can is written in various points smooth malty backbone rich golden colour tropical aroma and fruit salad taste and it’s really just reviewed itself as I can’t really argue any of it.
A more than adequate fruity ipa may be underselling it, there may be more exciting fruity ipas with way more hype but this however few of them deliver consistently like this one.
And the topper is that cans are available at major supermarkets including tesco for under two pounds
On the eight day of Christmas my true love sent to me a real ale from marksys
Marks and Spencer have been working with some of Britain’s best brewerys for a while now creating a great range of exclusive beers.
The Christmas offering produced by Adnams Southwold for them with all British hops, the colour is rich chestnut there isn’t much scent to it but a beautiful deep fruity malt flavour with near perfect bottle conditioning
Well with a look at little over £2 for 500ml at Marks and Spencer