Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Story So Far

As mentioned in my previous post, this blog doesn't begin at the start of my journey with 1001 Beers to Try Before You Die. It is probably more the end of the beginning (though I still have a very long way to go). In this post I thought I'd provide a bit of a summary of where I've got to and what has been good and bad so far.

As of today (23 June 2013):

  • I have tried 153 of the beers in the book (just the 848 to go then!).
  • I have scores for a further 34 beers that I have also tried.
  • From the list 40 have been from England, 29 from the USA, 23 from Belgium, 15 from Scotland, 9 from Germany, and the rest from all over the world (including Laos and Peru!).
  • 31 have been amber (red/brown) ales, 23 have been India Pale Ales (IPAs), 13 stouts, 12 porters,  and 12 have been speciality beers (including fruit, sours, aged, etc).
  • Strength (ABV) ranges from 3% to 18.2%(!).
The Best So Far
My scoring system is a tad subjective (but then what else could it be!) with beers scoring between 1 (undrinkable) and 10 (I need more NOW). Because I can be a bit indecisive I have allowed myself 1/2 points. 

3 beers have scored a whopping 9 out of 10. If you seen any of these in your local offy I'd suggesting buying them now and drinking one out of a bag on the way home (but you do so at your own risk and if you get arrested or walk into a lamppost don't come crying to me)! These are:
  • Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest.Style: IPA. ABV: 6.7%. I love IPAs, and would probably be classified as a "hophead". To me this is an almost perfect example of the style - the hops are intense but well balanced by a malty beer and the ABV doesn't overdo it. A really well balanced beer.
  • Ola Dubh (30). Style: Aged porter/old ale. ABV: 8%. This is an imperial porter aged in malt whisky casks that previously held Highland Park 30 Year Old Whisky. Peaty and smoked; a real sipper of a beer.
  • Brooklyn Black Chocolate StoutStyle: Stout. ABV: 10%. This is a big, ballsy, beast of a beer. Dark chocolate, thick, and malty; yet it comes across creamy. You would never guess this is a 10% beer, its very moreish and the temptation to guzzle it is there - try to avoid this or you'll have a very sore head in the morning!
There has also been one beer that rated 8.5:
  • Aventinus (Schneider). Style: Dopplebock. ABV: 8.2%. Unfiltered, cloudy, malty, and quite sweet, yet the alcohol content really carries it through to a well balanced finish. 
Plenty of beers have scored 8, but I don't plan to list them all in this post. I might come back to some of them in the future, but I'll give a special mention to Samuel Smith Brewery. In my opinion this is the best brewery in the UK, and none of their beers have scored below a 7.5 for me. Seriously, go buy Samuel Smith Beer and enjoy (responsibly).

Outside the beers listed in the book another scored a very impressive 9:
  • Mein Hopfeweisse (Schneider)Style: Weizen (wheat beer). ABV: 8.2%. On a summers day there is nothing quite as refreshing as a wheat beer, though sometimes they can be lacking in taste - not this beer. There is a really pleasant hoppyness that cuts beautifully through the crisp wheat beer. Again it hides its 8.2% ABV disturbingly well so be careful!
And the worst
This is just my opinion, but the following beers (and I don't plan to go into any real detail) shouldn't be in the book except maybe for comparison sake. I've tried them, their crap, you don't need too. You have been warned!
  • Scored 3 out of 10 - Deuchers IPA, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Tsingtao, Grolsch, James Boag's, Singha, Chang.
  • 3.5 out of 10 - Havest Pale.
  • 4 out of 10 - 80, SA, Beerlao (though they do provide great glasses!), Budweiser, Castle Lager, Kirin Ichoban, Banana Bread Beer.
Disclaimer - obviously my opinions are subjective. You may love some of the beers above, and that's fine we can agree to disagree and you can tell me why I'm wrong in the comment section below - I'll give any beer a second chance! The main thing is to drink beer you enjoy. 

From now on posts are likely to be shorter and focusing in more detail on the 2 or 3 new beers I've tried since my last post.


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