Best new beers of 2014…Buxton/Omnipollo Yellow Belly

Posted by on Dec 13, 2014 in Beer of the Year | One Comment


So, the final beer in the six-parter best-of list for 2014 is another collaboration; a peanut butter and biscuit imperial stout. Not a beer style that I ever thought I would write about, but there you go – once again it proves how creatively planned, perfectly executed beers even in styles we don’t expect can still surprise us…

Yellow Belly (11.0%)
Buxton Brewery, Derbyshire (with Omnipollo)
(keg, bottle, September)

Aroma, let’s face it, is the lesser entity when it comes to beer. Flavour is where it’s at, and often – unless you are making a discerning effort to quantify the specifics of a beer – there’s barely a cursory sniff given of the glass at all. It’s almost like the automatic checking-the-milk process you go through midway through making a cup of tea (or is it just me that does that?). Get the beer, quick nose, check everything’s alright, and then you can raise the glass to the lips and begin to actually enjoy it.

But aroma is such an important characteristic, and this particular beer had, quite simply, the best aroma of any I tried in 2014. Born out of the Rainbow Collaboration project – the annual pairing of UK and overseas breweries themed around one of the seven colours – Yellow Belly took the allotted hue to a very different place. Having had every Rainbow beer ever, the ones that tend to stand out are those where the brewers involved think a little laterally – and in this case, it was so lateral as to be pretty much perpendicular.

For Yellow as inspiration, the guys from Buxton and Omnipollo worked around the idea of cowardice – a particular point of note at the moment in the latter’s native Sweden (for full justification of the idea, read this post on Buxton’s website). Dressing the beer up in a KKK wrapper unnerved some people – but it was commentary, not a stunt. And the beer? From the first sniff, the most incredible peanut and biscuit aroma ever – I can only think of a single beer in the world with a better initial aroma – Southern Tier Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout.

To play further on the theme of hiding and striking behind a cloak of anonymity, Yellow Belly – a peanut butter and biscuit stout – contained neither peanuts, butter nor biscuits. But they were all there on the taste. Just an amazing feat – the finish was more akin to a Toffifee liqueur, or a blend of Lion bars and alcoholic chocolate milk. Actually, forget Southern Tier’s beer – this was better.

So, that’s it for the fifth running of the traditional end of year best-of list. As ever, at the start of next week I’ll be writing about the beers that so nearly made it into the top half-dozen, as there were plenty more great new beers on the scene than the ones highlighted so far. Following that, at the end of the week it’s the big one – the BeerCast’s Brewery of the Year…

1 Comment

  1. Ben
    December 13, 2014

    I loved this beer and definitely number 2 of the year for me. Number one being Brewdog Black Eyed King Imp. Will need to try and find some others from your list, not had many of them.

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