I listed the best beers I tried at Earls Court during my round up of GBBF. Some of them were real crackers, and could have been Beer Of The Month under normal circumstances. The near misses for beer of the festival were Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, De Molen Tsarena Esra Reserva, Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale, Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout and De Molen Bloed, Zweet & Tranen. These were excellent beers and give away more than a little bit about my love for strong dark beers.
The Tommyknocker beer is the only one of those listed which came from the bottle and wins the bottled beer of the month
Of the English beers I had during the month, a number are worthy of mention. Loddon Ferrymans Gold is a nice light hoppy beer served very nicely in my local Lloyds No 1 Bar; Son Of Sid Muckcart Mild at Peterborough was my first beer from this Cambridgeshire micro, and was full of flavour being roasty and fruity. Twickenham Naked Ladies, and Alehouse Enormous A.P.E, both of which I had at a local pub festival were lovely hoppy beers, both making fashionable use of US hops. (I've since been informed the Twickenham beer actually uses Stryian Goldings only(oops))
The best English beer though was Ascot Anastasia's Exile Stout, again at Peterborough. A roasty burnt, yet hoppy stout from a micro which is really impressing me.
I've left the best to last though, and that is the Beer Of The Month and it was cask conditioned too. That was Lost Abbey's Bourbon Barrel Aged The Angels Share, one of the truly special treats at GBBF. I can't resist barley wines of any type, but an American 12.5%er aged in bourbon barrels is very special. The bourbon comes through on the amazingly boozy and fruity taste. There's brandy in the nose, and it's an all round smooth beast of a beer. It certainly wouldn't be to everyone's taste, but the people around my table seemed to like it.
It'll probably take another year and another GBBF for me to get another beer like this.