BeerCast #27 – Beer of the Year 2008

Posted by on Jan 31, 2009 in Beer of the Year, BeerCasts | No Comments

Since our highly enjoyable Beer of the Year Show 2007 where Anchor’s Special Ale 2006 was crowned our first ever BOTY, we have tried and tested all manner of ales here on the BeerCast. Nine different panellists sampled their way through 73 different beers over the course of 2008, spread over 16 podcasts. As tradition now dictates, we ended up with a ‘final four’ – those that scored the highest marks last year – which we then pitted against each other to see who would take Anchor’s crown.

We had intended to record the podcast just before the turn of the new year, but unfortunately a procurement issue meant we had to delay until the end of January. After a few weeks we managed to find all four beers once again, and the BOTY show could take place. The worthy finallists were – Thwaites Double Century, Hop Back Summer Lightning, Theakston XB, and BrewDog Hardcore IPA. 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, Grooben, and the Hopmeister Tom. First up, Thwaites Double Century…

1. Double Century (5.2%abv) 500ml glass bottle
Thwaites Brewery, Blackburn, Lancashire.
BeerCast #12 scored 26/30 (87%) 23rd Feb 2008
Originally tasted by MrB 9; Stuart 9; Richard 8

Grooben – Very dry and bitter at the end
Richard – Great hoppy session beer with a hint of orange
Tom – Really nice but gives you ‘hangover tongue’
Shovels – I don’t get the wow factor but it’s decent stuff

2. Summer Lightning (5.0%abv) 500ml glass bottle
The Hop Back Brewery, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
BeerCast #19 scored 27/30 (90%) 4th Aug 2008
Originally tasted by Shovels 9; Grooben 9; Richard 9

Grooben – It’s a summer beer, maybe a bit incongruous for winter
Richard – Very hoppy and pleasant, but you can’t tell it’s 5%
Tom – I’ve tried this before independently and it’s really quaffable
Shovels – On tap it’s one of my favourites and I always look for it

3. Theakston XB (4.5%abv) 500ml glass bottle
Theakstons Brewery, Masham, North Yorkshire.
BeerCast#17 scored 25½/30 (85%) 19th Jun 2008
Originally tasted by Tom 9; Shovels ; Richard 8

Grooben – Nicer than I would have expected, but a bit sweet
Richard – Just one would be very nice, bit molassey and treacly
Tom – No nasty aftertaste, it’s a lovely session ale
Shovels – I really like it, the sweetness isn’t too much

4. BrewDog Hardcore IPA (9.0%abv) 660ml glass bottle
BrewDog, Fraserburgh, Scotland.
BeerCast#15 scored 33½/40 (84%) 27th Apr 2008
Originally tasted by MrB ; Richard 9; Grooben 8; Shovels 7

Grooben – It must be very difficult to make a beer as strong as this but as palatable
Richard – You’d have to savour this one almost like a trappist ale
Tom – This one really stands out because of it’s individuality
Shovels – It’s like an American IPA but tastes less hoppy

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’ve never had XB and darker sweeter beers aren’t for me, but I really liked it. The Hardcore IPA was a bit much for my personal tastes, and was above the other two, but overall the XB was the best.”

“Hardcore IPA was the only beer that was trying to do something different, and you aren’t going to forget your first taste. The others would eventually become forgotten I think. Hardcore IPA made me stand up and take notice so I vote for that.”

“My favourite was Summer Lightning as of the four I’d drink a lot of it either in the pub or from bottles, it’s a really great session ale – light and refreshing.”

“My favourite had to be Summer Lightning, it’s the kind of beer you can really drink. Hardcore IPA is tremendous but you can maybe only savour it – you can get pleasure from Summer Lightning all throughout the year.”

So that was it. A depleted panel compared with last year maybe, but the responsibility of selecting our beer of the year was still just as great. In the end, our winner was Hop Back’s Summer Lightning, a superb golden ale in the classic English tradition. Congratulations to them, and thanks to all the panellists for their opinions over the course of last year.

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

Leave a Reply