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    Sunday, 6 April 2008

    Beer Of The Month - March 2008

    It often feels like March is the beginning of the beer year as festival season starts in earnest and I always have a week's holiday in the month, which tends to result in a reasonable amount of drinking. I sampled 87 new beers in total during the month. Pleasingly the vast majority of these were either in pubs or at a festival; namely Leicester.

    Naturally for the reasons mentioned above, I had a fair few cask beers during the month. The first particularly good one was Woods Shropshire Lass from a brewery which is more miss than hit for me. This was a nice blonde beer with citrus notes and a mouthfeel I described as like fizz bombs. Thornbridge Gildas and Fuglestow Sledgehammer Stout were the stand out beers at Leicester Festival. One a delightfully hoppy full bodied IPA from one of England's finest, and the other a roasty smoky stout. The best beer I had on my Northampton Crawl was Banks & Taylor Edwin Taylor's Extra Stout. I have had this deliciously dry roasty stout before but not I've started rating beers. It's head and shoulders B&T's best beer. From the Wetherspoons festival I have had three beers worthy of a mention. First was Titanic Last Porter Call, a dodgy name for what is a good porter with coffee and chocolate notes. Second was Namyslow Plum, a true love it hate it beer if ever there was one. Yes it's very sweet and not particularly 'beer-like', but that plumminess is amazing. An underused fruit if you ask me. It's not a beer I could drink much of (my half was probably enough), but I really did enjoy it. Thirdly was 'the most talked about beer in Britain': Shepherd Neame Stone California Double IPA, as hoppy as expected and with a decent body. Certain people I know have raved about this, and nobody has said they didn't like it. For me it was very good, but not a beer I could session on. I lost a bit of interest three quarters of a pint through. While this would be a lot of people's cask beer of the month, mine went to Thornbridge Gildas.

    From the bottle just two beers have stood out. An American porter and a Danish stout with undoubted American influence. The porter was Left Hand Black Jack Porter. Left Hand describe this as a London Porter, and even though it uses English hops it uses them in American quantities. Chocolate, coffee and roasty malts complete the flavour. Finally, and the beer which actually outclasses the Thornbridge beer was Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast. Not only a topical name but a delicious beer. I got soy, fish, coffee, hops, fruit, oatmeal and goodness knows what else in this complex stout with a really long finish. This beer has its fans and its detractors, but to me it's a real treat. It's certainly beer of the month.

    Special mention must go to one of the worst five beers I've ever had which was the first bottled beer I had in the month Krombacher Cab. This is some sort of beer/cola concoction with dragon fruit. Avoid at all costs.

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