Yesterday we announced the first of our pick of British beers launched in 2010 – BrewDog Abstrakt AB:01 (10.2%). Today we bring you our second (again, these are roughly in order of release) – and we’re moving south of the border for another UK producer who released a big-hitting series of beers this year.
Saint Petersburg (7.7%)
Thornbridge, Bakewell, Derbyshire
(500ml bottle, released April 2010)
Derbyshire’s Thornbridge Brewery are rapidly becoming one of the most consistent producers in the UK. Their multi-award winning Jaipur (5.9%) is one of those ‘must-order’ beers if the distinctive orange pump clip appears in your local, even before it won a gold medal at the 2010 GBBF. The rest of their cask range is also tremendous – Thornbridge’s two pale ales Hopton (4.3%) and Kipling (5.2%) are also well worth seeking out. Two of their rarer, stronger cask ales are Halcyon (7.7%) and St Petersburg (7.7%), and at the start of the year the decision was made to bottle these two beers for general release.
Fast-forward to the end of April, and the re-badged Halcyon 2009 Green Hop Harvest and Saint Petersburg hit the shelves. The first of these is a mighty Imperial IPA, that quickly won the plaudits from a majority of beer writers (including the BeerCast – our review is here). To be honest, it probably deserves to be in the best new beers of 2010, ranking alongside the peerless Sierra Nevada Estate series in terms of wet hop ales. But our personal pick was the second of the two releases – Saint Petersburg, a fantastic 7.7% Imperial Russian stout.
After pouring, the aromas alone would be worthy of a 2010 ‘best of’ list. Coffee, liquorice and peat are finely balanced by enough fruity hops to give it an amazing nose. Tastewise, it really doesn’t seem as high as 7.7%, the smooth mouthfeel doesn’t give away any punchy bitterness like other Russian Imperials. Instead, dark chocolate and coffee hints give way into a lovely slightly smoky dry finish. Saint Petersburg is one of the best imperial stouts to come out of the UK in a long time, and without doubt one of the highlights of 2010.
Join us tomorrow for the third in our ‘best of new brews’ feature. In November, Thornbridge announced that Saint Petersburg had won a gold medal in the European Beer Star awards in Germany.