BeerCast #10 – Beer of the Year 2007

Posted by on Jan 10, 2008 in Beer of the Year, BeerCasts | 2 Comments

And then there were four. After starting up the whole reviewing/podcasting thing in June 2007 we sampled our way through thirty-four beers from half a dozen countries. On the way we’ve drunk our way through numerous others in various guises – but it was down to those 34 when we decided to re-taste the top scorers and find out what would be crowned our first annual BeerCast Beer of the Year. Using our standard scoring system throughout, we had one beer out on top with three others tied for second place – so it was only fair to take all four away and revisit their many pleasures.

On new year’s day our extended BeerCast panel of seven sat down in a windy house in the border village of St Abbs, and let the battle commence. The beers we had with us were the Anchor Brewey Our Special Ale 2006, Daleside IPA, Erdinger’s Weissbier Dunkel, and Coniston’s Bluebird Bitter. All four are tremendous – and very different – so it would be tough to pick a winner. As scoring had been done in each individual BeerCast, for the final we re-sampled each one and gave our general thoughts, before going round the panel and simply picking a winner. For this BotY edition, the panel consisted of Richard, Shovels, MrB, Andy, Jess, Grooben, and BeerCast newcomer Gillian. First up, was Coniston’s Bluebird Bitter…

1. Bluebird Bitter (4.2%abv) 500ml glass bottle
The Coniston Brewery, Cumbria.
BeerCast #3 scored 16/20 (80%) 9th Aug 2007
Originally tasted by Shovels 8; Richard 8

Grooben – I like it a lot, and on tap it might be even nicer
Andy – It’s quite thin and tastes like it has something else in it
Jess – I don’t like it, I find it too bitter, especially the aftertaste
Richard – I think it’s really nice and I stand by my 8/10 score
MrB – Pleasant but not astounding – on tap I’d drink it all night
Shovels – I still think this is a really good beer
Gillian – I agree, this is perfectly drinkable

2. Daleside IPA (4.5%abv) 500ml glass bottle
The Daleside Brewery, Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
BeerCast #3 scored 16/20 (80%) 9th Aug 2007
Originally tasted by Shovels 8; Richard 8

Jess – This is much nicer, it reminds me of honeysuckle
Andy – Much more pleasant, with more substance to it
Grooben – One of the nicest of IPA’s I’ve tasted on the BeerCast
MrB – Very very nice, this is my kind of hoppy session ale
Gillian – Smoother and nicer than the Bluebird
Richard – More flowery than the Coniston
Shovels – All round the mouth taste, it’s good stuff

3. Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel (5.6%abv) 500ml glass bottle
Privatbrauerei Erdinger Weißbräu, Erding.
BeerCast#8 scored 32/40 (80%) 1st Dec 2007
Originally tasted by MrB 9; Richard 8; Grooben 8; Shovels 7

Gillian – I could drink more of the previous beers but I prefer this
Richard – Wheatbeer flavour gives way to nice dark malts
Shovels – First few mouthfuls are tasty but it then loses flavour
Jess – This is lovely, full of bubbles, and it smells really nice too
Andy – Looks dark but it tastes light, there’s an iron taste in there
Grooben – I thought I wasn’t going to like this again, but I do
MrB – I may have overmarked it, but as a wheatbeer it’s ahead of the pack

4. Anchor Our Special Ale 2006 (5.5%abv) 350ml glass bottle
Anchor Brewery, San Francisco.
BeerCast#9 scored 34½/40 (86%) 15th Dec 2007
Originally tasted by MrB ; Shovels 9; Grooben 8; Richard 8

MrB – That you can put these flavours into a beer is amazing
Jess – I don’t like it, it’s totally overpowering and not very subtle
Grooben – They’ve crafted this, I have lots of time for it
Andy – Smells of so much yet is forgiving on the tongue
Shovels – It’s really got that spicy Christmas taste to it
Gillian – A gorgeous colour, it’s drinkable but very, very seasonal
Richard – All the other beer smells tonight combined wouldn’t come close to this

So the beers had been re-tried and thoughts given – but only one thought counted, the overall winner of the four. The final step of the Beer of the Year show was to go round the table and pick the one that stood out the most…



“I had a really tough time between Daleside IPA and the Erdinger. I really like the Erdinger, but it had too many bubbles and I wouldn’t actually drink that much of it, so I chose the Daleside because it’s a nice beer and very pleasant.”




“I had real difficulty choosing between Daleside IPA and the Anchor, but of the four beers presented to me this evening, I liked the taste of the Anchor the best. So I have to vote for that.”



“Again it was between two, the Daleside IPA and the Anchor, and I’ve gone for the Daleside. It’s a beer I would enjoy more on a more consistant basis. I’ve got nothing bad to say about the Anchor – I think it’s brilliant and will drink it every Christmas, but Daleside hit more buttons for me.”



“It came down to either the Daleside or the Erdinger, and although I could drink more of the Daleside, I picked the Erdinger. It was a more complex taste and I quite liked all the bubbles.”



“Daleside IPA was fantastic but there’s at least half a dozen beers – some of which we haven’t reviewed this year – that were better than that, so my vote goes to the Anchor. It was extraordinary, and I’ll be drinking it at every Christmas from now on.”



“I have to give it to Bluebird as it’s one of my favourite beers and I love it. It’s everything I want from a beer and I’ve enjoyed drinking it this year even before we were sent some. Anchor is truly special, but Bluebird is my BotY so I vote for that.”



“Anchor has so much taste and so much going on, but it’s only available for two months of the year. The Daleside IPA is amazing, but there are lots of other good IPA’s out there. I have to say – purely based on all the flavours going on – my BotY is the Anchor.”


So there you have it – the BeerCast Beer of the Year for 2007 is, rather strangely, Anchor’s Special Ale 2006. UK beer drinkers can often be at the back of the queue when it comes to finding the American seasonals, but the Californian brewer lists their Special Ale as having a two year shelflife. We did manage to source some of the 2007 Special Ale, and tried that in the same session. It was also extremely good, albeit very different – but the 2006 vintage was the one we tested during our first year, and it was that beer which came out on top – both in overall scoring and our BotY special. Congratulations to the Anchor brewery, as well as Coniston, Daleside and Erdinger, and we’ll be back on the BeerCasting front very soon with episode 11. In the meantime, here are the panel’s honourable mentions for 2007…

BeerCaster’s 2007 personal favourites

Shovels – Williams Bros Joker
Grooben – Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted
Jess – Wynchwood Hobgoblin; Shepherd Neame Bishop’s Finger
Richard – Stewart’s Edinburgh Gold
Andy – Fruli; Minoh Seasonal Beer; Belgian Peach Lambic
MrB – Fyne Ales Avalanche
Gillian – Didn’t have a favourite, but did try a beer in 2007 she thought was truly awful – so we gave her the honour of naming it as the worst beer of the year – Desperados, the French 12%abv tequila beer. If we ever do a French episode….



We’ll be back soon with episode 11. Stay tuned for details…and please leave us comments on the blog or iTunes, or emails. Cheers!


  1. john
    January 11, 2008

    Good work.

    Deperados should be the worst beer of every year. It is truly disgusting.

  2. Craig AS
    March 19, 2008

    If you think Desperados is bad, you should try Tornado brewed by those Crazy Canucks, Molson. I tried it after seeing it described as a microbrewery (microbrasserie) beer on a men in Little Italy, Montreal. Don’t know quite how Molson (TM) counts as a microbrewery, but there you go… Its actually a sangria alco-pop. Yuck.

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