BeerCast #67 – Beer of the Year 2011

The first podcast of any year is always one to look forward to – as tradition dictates it’s our BeerCast Beer of the Year show. As highlighted in our recent preview, the four highest scoring beers we could find from the podcasts recorded in 2011 are re-sampled, and a winner picked. Previous winners are Anchor Christmas Ale 2006 (2007), Hop Back Summer Lightning (2008), Stone Ruination IPA (2009) and Odell Isolation Ale (last year), so whichever beer came out on top this time, it would be in good company. The four beers in our BOTY show were Rogue St Rogue Red Ale (5.2%), Kernel IPA Citra (7.2%), Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest (6.7%), and Thornbridge St Petersburg (7.7%). It’s always interesting to re-taste beers, as they can be very different a second time around…and so it was to prove. Our Beer of the Year panel consists of Shovels, MrB, Richard and Grooben…





1. Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red Ale
(5.2%abv) 22oz glass bottle
Rogue Ales, Newport, Oregon.
BeerCast#58 scored 34/40 (85%) 15th February 2011
Originally tasted by Richard ; Grooben ; Shovels ; MrB

What They Say“Reddish copper in color, a roasty malt flavor with a hoppy sprucy finish.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Grooben – Really very malty, more than I remember
MrB – Mine’s got floaters in it, did I like this?
Richard – As close to an American session beer as you can get
Shovels – Still like it, and I still love the aroma



2. Kernel IPA Citra (7.2%abv) 330ml glass bottle
The Kernel Brewery, Bermondsey, London.
BeerCast#59 scored 36½/40 (91%) 29th March 2011
Originally tasted by Richard 10; Stu ; Shovels ; Grooben

What We Say
MrB – These bottles are six months old, it’s lost some aroma
Grooben – Lost some of it’s Citra-yness impact on the shelf
Richard – Back then it was absolutely great, though
Shovels – Thin, with a hoppy aftertaste, then a musty yeastiness




3. Southern Hemisphere Harvest
(6.7%abv) 22oz glass bottle
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Chico, California.
BeerCast#58 scored 34/40 (85%) 15th February 2011
Originally tasted by Richard 9; Shovels ; MrB ; Grooben 8;

What They Say” Robust hop character presents an intriguing floral-citrus aroma leading to layers of fresh-hop spiciness. Enjoy!” [Official Website]

What We Say
Shovels – Nice bit of malt backbone to it, I really like this
Grooben – Difficult to distinguish from their standard beers
MrB – I like it, but it’s no more tasty than other SN beers
Richard – Maltier and more body than the Kernel, it’s a bit soapy



4. St Petersburg (7.7%abv) 500ml glass bottle
Thornbridge Brewery, Bakewell, Derbyshire.
BeerCast#64 scored 26/30 (87%) 20th October 2011
Originally tasted by Richard 9; Shovels ; Grooben

What They Say” Rich and dark with smoke, subtle peatiness and the power of the dark malts. Molasses and liquorice and chocolate goodness all wrapped up in a smooth, warming liquid.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Grooben – Wonderful balance to it, with no harshness
MrB – I’m not used to drinking stouts, it’s still very tasty
Richard – Absolutely cracking beer
Shovels – Lovely flavours, just a great beer



So those were the thoughts – or re-thoughts – of the panel during the tasting of the four beers that had made it through to the final. The next thing to do was go round the table and give our rankings from 1-4 on the night, plus a beer each that we enjoyed over 2011 and felt deserved a special mention…




Grooben
“1. Thornbridge… 2. Kernel… 3. Sierra Nevada… 4. Rogue… My favourite beer I’ve had this year is St Petersburg, it’s fantastically smooth and brilliantly made.”

Shovels
“First for me is the Rogue – I still liked it even though it had bits in, it had a great balance. Second – it’s a tough one, I’m going with the Kernel on memory, then St Petersburg, then Sierra Nevada. I can’t think of anything that’s really stood out for me this year – I’ve been too busy homebrewing.”

Richard
“My first on the night and in general is St Petersburg – it’s just a fantastic beer, second is Kernel IPA Citra, which is my favourite beer I’ve had this year. That for me was the Kernel beer that really pulled everything together. Third is Rogue because I really like it still, and fourth is Sierra Nevada.”

MrB
“Number 1 is St Petersburg, No 2 Sierra Nevada Harvest. I think I’ll have to go Kernel and then Rogue. But it’s not like any of them are bad. My favourite beer this year – 1000IBU from Mikkeller – which these days is where you have to go to make me go Mmmm. I spent 2-3hrs drinking a bottle in Ghent, and I loved it.”





So in the end there was a unanimous winner – Thornbridge St Petersburg becomes our fifth BeerCast Beer of the Year – and the first stout to take the Golden Mouthchart. Congratulations to all in Bakewell – yet another accolade to add to the pile! Second place – for the second year in a row – Kernel with IPA Citra. The two Americans were next, with Rogue’s St Rogue Red Ale picking up third, ahead of Sierra Nevada’s Southern Hemisphere Harvest. Four worthy beers, but one worthy winner.



But at this point we were only half-finished – our panel then tasted four more beers – the traditional ‘end of BOTY surprise’ involved four unusual adjunct-enhanced beers from Bières Bourganel in the south of France. Listen to our tasting after the BOTY voting, and check back to the website in a few days for a full review post on four very different beers. Many thanks to everyone who downloaded or subscribed to our podcasts in 2011 – we’ll be recording many more in 2012 – stay tuned..!

  • Listen to the episode on Soundcloud here:

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