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The Best Beer I Drank In...

The Best Beers I Drank In… SEPTEMBER 2015

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It was a particular challenge not to let this list be dominated by two fantastic events I attended in September: Leeds International Beer Festival and The Rainbow Project Northern Launch at Magic Rock Tap.

They were both so good but I drank plenty of other great beer too, so I’ve limited them to just a few places each on this list. I’ve written those events up separately though, with both posts including their own ‘best of’ lists.

So here’s ‘The Best Beers I Drank In… SEPTEMBER 2015*’

The Kernel Brewery – Pale Ale Mosaic Nelson Sauvin (Keg @ The Gaslamp)

Kernel’s pales are always excellent but this is the best I’ve had for a long time.

Supremly fresh and containing two of my favourite hops. They seem to complement each other so well; masses of tropical fruit from mosaic and a piney, slightly bitter grassiness from the nelson sauvin. A proper juicy banger.

The Kernel - Pale Ale Mosaic Nelson Sauvin
The Kernel – Pale Ale Mosaic Nelson Sauvin

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – 90 Minute IPA (Keg @ Magic Rock Tap)

This beer had been on my wish list for such a long time. Often when that happens the expectation leads to disappointment, but not this time.

It’s a typical U.S style IPA, and a very good one. Built on its sweet malt backbone with plenty of fresh hops to balance, though it’s definitely sweeter and maltier than many of this style.

I loved it so much it was one of only two beers I went back for more of. It could be called ’90 Second IPA’ since that’s about how long it lasted.

Dogfish Head - 90 Minute IPA
Dogfish Head – 90 Minute IPA

Westbrook Brewing Co. – Gose (Can)

I just love that there are so many great beers in cans these days.

Few are better than this Gose from Westbrook which was one of several cans drunk on a train to Milton Keynes.

Gose is a traditional German sour brewed with wheat, coriander and salt. Westbrook are American but I this is a perfect representation of the style and the best I’ve had.

It’s sour and slightly salty while at the same time fruity and utterly refreshing.

Westbrook - Gose
Westbrook – Gose

Mikkeller – Blå Spøgelse (Keg @ Leeds International Beer Festival)

I’m not sure there’s been a single month of these ‘Best Of’ posts that doesn’t contain at least one Mikkeller beer.

This months is another collaboration with American ‘Three Floyds’, a stunning blueberry lambic. A gorgeous vivid purple colour with a fruity aroma, full on tart blueberry flavour and superbly thick mouthfeel.

A definite beer of the year contender.

BrewDog – Black Jacques (Bottle)

This is the most unique beer I’ve had for a while.

The simplest description is: an 11% black saison aged in red wine barrels. But that only tells part of the story.

I don’t really get much in the way of typical saison flavour, there’s far too much else going. That could easily be a criticism but I mean it in an entirely good way here.

We’re talking dark fruits, toffee, coffee, spice and dominant red wine. It’s brewed with wheat and oats which gives a silky mouthfeel.

What can I say? It’s complex and totally unique, there’s literally nothing I can compare it to.

BrewDog - Black Jacques
BrewDog – Black Jacques

Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. – American Presidential Stout (Keg @ Magic Rock Tap)

A thick and super smooth imperial stout. With chocolate and coffee flavours along with a touch a smoke and spice. It’s big but perfectly balanced.

Surly Brewing Company – Darkness (Keg @ Magic Rock Tap)

Big, bold and boozy. So black and thick.

This packs about as much flavour as you can possibly get from a non-barrel aged stout.  There’s the usual chocolate and coffee as well as cherries, raisins and even toffee flavour.

It has a well deserved Ratebeer score of 100.

Presidential Stout & Darkness
Presidential Stout & Darkness

To Øl – Nelson Survin (Bottle)

This was my first sour double IPA so I didn’t really know what to expect. But I love To Øl, I love Nelson Sauvin hops, I love sours and I love double IPA’s. So in theory it could be my perfect beer.

And in practice too. Wow! There’s so much going on here: it’s sour, fruity, piney, grassy, floral and hoppy all at the same time.

A bit like a complex bitter grapefruit juice. So drinkable for 9% too, the very definition of ‘loopy juice’.

To Øl - Nelson Survin
To Øl – Nelson Survin

Cigar City Brewing – Jai Alai IPA (Keg @ Magic Rock Tap)

Another classic U.S style IPA. This one is absolutely textbook.

With a perfect balance of sweet malt and a huge amount of hops. Six different varieties are used in the brew before being dry hopped with Simcoe for a clean, bitter finish.

Buxton Brewery – Wyoming Sheep Ranch (Keg @ Magic Rock Tap)

I loved this beer the first time I had it but it was something else here.

An unbelievably fresh imperial IPA, not from one of the massively hyped US breweries but our very own Buxton, who can do no wrong lately.

So light it doesn’t feel half of its 8.4% yet it’s bursting with topical fruits, citrus and pine. It’s about as perfect as an IPA gets in my eyes.

Buxton Brewery - Wyoming Sheep Ranch
Buxton Brewery – Wyoming Sheep Ranch

8 Wired Brewing Co. – iStout (Keg @ Leeds International Beer Festival)

I’ve avoided this beer for a long time, partly because it’s usually really expensive but if I’m honest partly because of the terrible name too.

Of course it doesn’t really matter what a beer is called, especially when they taste so good.

Some 10% imperial stouts are clearly sippers but this is one of those dangerously drinkable ones.

It’s clever in that it’s rich and complex yet somehow retains a lightness and freshness, perhaps due to the slightly higher hop profile than similar beers.

It’s not a Black IPA but it’s closer to it than other big stouts.

Founders Brewing Co. – Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) (Bottle)

One of the best things about Leeds Beer Festival is tokens can be spent in the bottle shop too. So we used up our last tokens to buy a bottle of something special for the train.

We made a wise choice, this is very special.

It’s big at over 12%, it’s dark, it’s rich. It tastes amazing, on the sweeter end of where I like my stouts but not too sweet. There’s coffee and vanilla and a boozy warmth from the bourbon barrel ageing.

Founders - KBS
Founders – KBS

To Øl – Udder Means (Bottle)

A really lovely milk stout with bags of coffee flavour and a gorgeous silky smooth & rich mouthfeel.

It has the richness of a 10%+ imperial stout yet is actually only 7% (‘only’, I know). Thanks to the added lactose that gives it a really creamy texture.

It’s not too sweet as many milk stouts often are to me.

To Øl - By Udder Means
To Øl – By Udder Means

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Agree? Disagree? Let me know!