February was far quieter for beer drinking than I had envisaged. In fact the same can be said about updating this blog. I must change both of these indiscretions.
I make no excuses for bigging up Great Oakley beers. I may be the BLO and live in the same village as the brewer, but if the beers were poor I would say so. They are not poor though by any stretch of the imagination, and the new beer Monkey, brewed to celebrate the 500th brew was very good. Brewed using a mix of the hops and malts used in all the other beers it is pretty complex. Most describe it as malty but on the second occasion I had it the hops were really blossoming. It's a shame that we will probably never see the beer again.
Abbeydale Vespers, Julian Church Midnight Mass and Thornbridge Ashford were the best three beers I had at Wicksteed Park Beer Festival, all three being darker beers; Ashford having the hop profile of a New World Brown Ale as it is described.
The best cask ale of the month though was Castle Rock Screech Owl. It's odd how I've had just two beers in The Kean's Head in Nottingham this year; both of them strong, pale and hoppy, and both of them cask beer of the month. Lovely stuff and all over Castle Rock pubs at the moment.
Only one bottled beer I had in January is worth a mention and it is a beer I've written about before. Mikkeller All Others Pale is a delightfully hoppy American Pale Ale from Denmark's finest and is so wonderfully drinkable. It uses four different hops: simcoe, centennial, amarillo and nugget, and is delightfully balanced. It just beats Screech Owl to overall beer of the month. Buy it in the UK while you still can from Beermerchants