In January I drank 48 new beers and revisited a few old favourites as promised. However for the purposes of these Beer Of The Month posts I will only consider new beers. Of these 48 I have drank 33 in pubs, most of which were cask conditioned ales, but there's been some bottled or keg stuff mixed in.
The cask ales this month have been just about average on the whole. I've had some decent stuff, but haven't seen enough strong Wintery ales to warm the cockles on these cold January days. The best three cask ales were: Castle Rock Black Gold, a very tasty mild with some interesting hop notes which was easily the best beer I had on my Nottingham Pub Crawl; Milton Sparta, a very hoppy beer with good grapefruit notes. Most Milton beers are well worth sampling. I have a good chance of trying both Mammon and Marcus Aurelius this month which is exciting; and Nobbys Winter Ale, a fascinating old ale, with a dandelion and burdock and licquorice thing going on. I admit a bit of Northamptonshire bias in giving Nobbys the cask beer of the month.
From the bottle, I enjoyed Harpoon IPA which I has at The Criterion's American Bottlefest. This is not the best IPA in the World of course, but it was decent, and it's always nice to see a new US beer in this country. I also enjoyed Hobsons Postmans Knock, a strong mild from the CBOB winning Shropshire brewery. This is like a big brother to the Champion, and is an old fashioned mild with some good coffee notes. The best bottled beer of the month was a Czech Dunkel which was part of a pretty large box of beers my parents bought over from France. Primátor Tmavé Lezák from Pivovar Náchod is a sweet full flavoured dunkel with some smokiness and lots of dark fruits. I have never understood the passion around Czech pilsners, but really do enjoy a lot of the darker beers.
Of the two winners Nobbys just shades it, and thus wins overall beer of the month.