My favourite beer of all-time?

Posted by on Jun 18, 2012 in Editorial | 2 Comments

Like comedians being asked to tell someone a joke, when I tell people I write about beer the question that inevitably comes back is “Well, what’s your favourite then?”. There’s so many ways to answer this. Firstly, I don’t really have one – new beers are coming out all the time – and attempting to try as many as possible always leads to good things. It also depends on the season – ask me around Christmas-time, and I probably would think for a while, and come back with something dark and roasty as my (current) favourite.

Having a favourite beer is about much more than the actual drink. Context is all important – the surroundings, the company, the service. Try drinking a bottle of Westvleteren 12 in a bus station during the evening rush hour – those mellow trappist notes will become dulled somewhat by the jostling crowds and discarded Metros fluttering around. That’s not to say an all-time favourite beer experience needs to involve trained sommeliers, hand-polished glassware, and a lecture from the head brewer – there can be a different kind of context.

With that in mind, one of the best beers I ever had was a Black Isle Blonde. A decent crisp lager – but one that not even the proudest native son of Munlochy would hail as the best in the world. However, a while ago, after my other half had emailed about a terrible day at work, I left early and picked up two bottles from an off-licence on the way to meet her. After the surprise, we sat on a wall round the corner from her office, swigging out of the bottles and eating a pack of salted McCoys.

So, if someone asks me what my favourite beer is – the official answer would be Tripel de Garre, served with a three-inch head and cubes of cheese at Staminee de Garre in Bruges. But not far behind, the bottle of Black Isle Blonde I drank in the sun behind Lothian Road, helping my girlfriend relax after a shitty day at work.


  1. beerfortheweekend
    June 18, 2012

    Well put, I too am asked this question and have to give a more broad answer – the double jeopardy on this question of course is that the person really wants something they will then go and try – so if you say “XXX peat barrel aged porter number 6, but only at the brewery” you have lost them, I tend to give a hoppy and a malty which I am currently drinking and which is easily available – that way I have kind of answered the question but also given a suggestion of something they might try

  2. Tom
    June 18, 2012

    Estrella Damm at the Cafe la Fontana in Malaga, for many of the same reasons cited above. It’s all about context.

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