Top five beers for.... falling off the wagon
As the end of January approaches, its high time we all started breaking some of those unsustainable, beer-related New Years resolutions. This writer lasted precisely three days at the start of the month before realising a) he works for a beer company b) part of his job is to write about beer c) there were weddings to attend in January and d) also a darts tournament and drinking with be mandatory at both.
There’s nothing wrong with abstaining for a while of course if that’s what you’re into. But if you’ve been a particularly good boy or girl this January and kept off the beer for a whole month, then these five products (new in to TBB) are a great way to flick your taste buds back into happy mode.
Mikkeller Hop Bomb Challenge 2011
The hop bomb challenge is a testament to Mikkeller’s belief that the best beers can often be made by home brewers. The 2011 winner is an American Pale Ale that really lives up to its title. Resinous fruit and hop aromas are coupled with a punchy tropical hop hit on the palate. One for the hop lovers and laced with a deliciously bitter orange hit on the finish.
At 15%, this is truly something to awaken your beer-deprived taste buds! Aged for nearly half a year in old Bourbon Casks, this Imperial Stout is a wonderful demonstration of specialist brewing from the Chicago based Goose Island. Deliciously rich and overflowing with charred oak, vanilla, caramel and smoke flavours, this will dominate the palate of even the hardiest 40-a-day smokers among you. Oily, dense and one to savour for 2+ hours on a cold wintery evening.
Mad Hatter Jasmine Green Tea IPA
Brewed in collaboration with beer author Melissa Cole and coffee merchants Taylors of Harrogate, Outlaw brewing brings us a refreshing take on IPA. Made with Jasmine Tea, this still has all the hoppyness that you’d expect but with a forceful floral finish that to support it. An aroma of tropical fruit and a distinct parma violet aroma completes a real palate pleaser of a beer.
Arbor Ales “Down Deeperer” Barley Wine
A deep, dark opaque colouring and thick tan head are the first things that hit you about this flavoursome Barley wine from Bristol based Arbor Ales. As soon as the bottle is opened you’ll notice rich fruit and malt aromas working together beautifully while the taste provides blackcurrant, chocolate and mild aniseed. Another one for a chilly evening in with a movie and maybe a bar of dark chocolate. There was never a sweeter end to your January dryathalon!
One of the Maryland brewery’s more conservatively named beers, Underdog is a great example of how to do lager properly. At 4.7% it’s about average for a premium lager but don’t think for one minute that means its low on flavour. Fresh clean smelling hops are used more subtly than in their excellent IPA’s and are balanced beautifully with pale, smooth, almost buttery tasting malts. The result is arguably one of the nicest lagers being brewed today.