So, here we are at the end of the year, and with the 50th post of the series. As we’re both at the end of the year and a significant numbered post, it seems appropriate to take a look back over the past year and determine just what were the best beers consumed as part of writing these posts.
You may have seen the longlist I posted a couple of weeks ago. Compiling that list I found that there were many I couldn’t remember, but also a few that stood out as clear front runners for the overall winner.
I feel I should point out that for a couple of these I have since had pints (or in one case, bottle), that probably wouldn’t have made it to this post if that is how the beer was when their respective Friday Pint post was written. Each of these beers have gained their place based on the impression they made on that occasion, and number one is a beer I wish I’d drunk more of when it was on draught.
5. Anderson Valley Winter Solstice – The Friday Pint #45 (Original Post Date – 23rd November 2012)
In retrospect, I didn’t write enough about this beer, or the location that I drunk it in. I’ll admit now that the only reason I was drawn to it was to obtain the badge on untappd, but I’m glad I was.
I enjoyed Winter Solstice enough to buy a bottle to take back with me from the USA, which I still have waiting to be drunk. With the experience I’ve had recently with another of the beers featured in this post, it’ll be interesting to see how I find the beer when I drink it again.
4. Dancing Man Brewery DNA – The Friday Pint #35 (Original Post Date – 31st August 2012)
When I first wrote about this beer I was somewhat uncertain about it. Since that first pint, which was for me too sweet, I have since had pints of DNA that have been just right, and one pint that seemed to be lacking in marmalade sweetness and somewhat watery.
Despite its seemingly inconsistent nature, DNA is a beer that intrigues me. I still can’t quite determine how much I like it. It’s most definitly a beer I’d drink again though.
3. Brodies Superior London Porter – The Friday Pint #14 (Original Post Date – 6th April 2012)
Brodies Superior London Porter, along with Fuller’s London Porter, are the porters that set the benchmark for all other porters for me, especially when they are on form.
It really has been far too long since I last visited a Brodies run pub, especially considering the beers they’ve been outputting this year, including their Peach Sour, which impresed me at the Euston Tap a few weeks ago.
2. Otley Experimental Stout – The Friday Pint #41 (Original Post Date – 19th October 2012)
The pump clip (a handwritten piece of corrugated cardboard) described Otley’s Experimental Stout as being “a bit bretty”. I was expecting a bit of sourness. What I actually got was a wonderful flavoursome stout that worked way beyond what I was actually expecting.
As a result, a brett infused stout is on my list of beers to brew at some point in the future. Hopefully, it’s on Otley’s list to brew again too.
1. Vibrant Forest Black Forest Porter – The Friday Pint #40 (Original Post Date – 12th October 2012)
My first taste of Vibrant Forest beer back in January was a bottle of Dark Castle Porter, drunk as part of Porter Weekend. Whilst I enjoyed it as a porter, I felt it needed a bit more flavour to make it stand out.
Black Forest Porter was the beer I wished Dark Castle Porter was. It was full of wonderful Brambling Cross fruitiness, and enjoyable enough to go back for more.
Last Friday, I had the chance to drink Black Forest Porter again, this time from a bottle. The bottle was brought to my house by my friend Chris, with who I shared a pint or two of the beer when it was available on draught at The Platform Tavern back in October. We both agreed that, whilst it was still a very nice porter, it was lacking the fruitiness that made it so moreish on draught.
Through the process of drinking my homebrew porter I’ve seen how time can change the flavour of a porter. When it went into the bottles from the fermenter it was of similar fruity levels to the Black Forest Porter. Recent bottles I’ve opened have started to see the smoked malt I used come out more, with the fruitiness starting to mellow.
As I said at the start of this post though, the judging has been based on the beer I drunk when writing the original post, and Black Forest Porter was by far the most enjoyable Friday Pint of the year.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of The Friday Pint. It shall return next year, albeit it with limitations. Enjoy the rest of 2012, and have a very happy 2013.
See you in the new year.