Last week, we turned the BeerCast over to the newcomers – the six best new British beers of 2012. Of course, with twelve months of full-on beer drinking under our (gradually expanding) belts, there were plenty more that could have made the list. As we move into the final blog-posting week before Christmas, it’s time to look back at the rest of the great new British beers we were lucky enough to try, and run down some of the ones that were just as outstanding as the six we mentioned last week.
Back in January we named Tempest Brewing Co as the Scottish brewer to watch, and over the course of the year, they didn’t disappoint. Released back in February, Cresta Black had a huge amount of flavour at 4% (possibly due to the added walnut power bars), and they then followed it with the 8% Double Cresta. Their all-rye beer World of Pain still causes wincing from Gavin and Allan, but it was (to us drinkers, at least) utterly worth it. Tempest are currently looking for larger premises near to their converted Kelso dairy, and when they get a larger facility sorted – look out.
We have a rough rule of thumb – referred to around BeerCast HQ as ‘the Kernel rule’ that only a single beer from each brewery gets into our top six.* So, step forward Marble Earl Grey IPA, Roosters Londinium, and pretty much every other beer Craig Middleton made up in Cromarty. Rogue Wave, Red Rocker – both sit alongside AKA IPA as the very best you can get hold of at the moment. I don’t want to pre-empt our 2013 breweries to watch post, but I’ll give you three guesses who we’re picking for next year.
*Ironically this year, not a single Kernel beer did actually make it – but their Table Beer is an absolute treat, and the pick of their many, many, full-on IPA’s released in 2012 was surely their IPA Double Citra.
It wouldn’t be a best new beers feature without mention of Summer Wine or Magic Rock. They both have that brewing gift – augmented by skill, forethought and a huge amount of hard work. You could pretty much name any of their beers from the last twelve months, but I particularly enjoyed two of the lesser-praised SW beers – Half-Wit and Mokko Milk Stout, the latter being the best representation of the style I’ve had for a long time. As for Magic Rock, it was Clown Juice, the ‘India Wit’, that really sticks out – just superb.
Finally, heading back to Scotland, other picks from the year in hops would have to include Fyne Ales Superior IPA (which was – in every respect), and Stewart Brewing Radical Road – a modern classic, and one which spurred them on to producing a great Black IPA. This year’s SRAF saw me drink a lot of Spey Valley’s Spey Stout – the pick of the festival – but the beer that so nearly made it into last week’s top six is that pictured above – Alechemy Five Sisters. As good an amber ale as you can find, anywhere.
Well, that’s a lot of beer – and I didn’t even get to mention Redchurch’s Great Eastern IPA. There were other things I haven’t touched on – so join us on Wednesday as we talk about the brewery who made the leap in 2012 into becoming, hands-down, the best in Scotland. Find out who (and how) then, and let us know in your comments other great new British beers you enjoyed in 2012 – or stablemates of those we’ve mentioned that we should have included!