2016 Year in Review
Brand: Favourite bar is a tough one, 2016 seemed to be the year for UK breweries and I think that’s reflected in the trips we made, from doing the Bermondsey beer mile for Hedges birthday to visiting taprooms like Staggeringly Good. My favourite place we visited for drinks last year has to be the Beavertown Brewery in Tottenham Hale for my birthday back in July. They had an awesome selection of cans and beer on tap, plus we were blessed with the summer sun. The whole thing had a really good vibe and was a great place for meeting up with a big group of mates. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have this so close my hometown! I also really enjoyed Crossing the Rubicon that we visited in Glasgow and have to give a nod to the Wave Maiden, Portsmouth, that’s become my local go to place for speciality beers.
Hedges: Going to Copenhagen this year means it’s like having a cheat code for this question - I’m almost spoilt for choice here. So I’m going to cheat and say two: Mikkeller & Friends and Warpigs. Despite only being in Copenhagen for 3 nights, we managed to visit both of these twice. I would suggest visiting Warpigs in the daytime for some sweet lunch-time beers and BBQ meat and Mikkeller & Friends for an evening to try a beer from their ever rotating 40 taps.
Other highlights include Beavertown Brewery; where one of the taproom staff managed to hunt out the last remaining can of Bloody Notorious in the brewery for me (you are my hero), Tapping the Admiral; a real gem of a pub in North London with fantastic friendly staff and The Southampton Arms; another North London treasure with a fine selection of beer and cider.
B: I’ve had to go back to my Untappd for this one, taking a look at it my top 3 would be:
Kaleidoscope - Wiper & True
A fruity number that I had at Beer Vaults (part of Wine Vaults) in Portsmouth, UK. I don’t think a beer has ever gone down so easily before.
Juicebox Citrus IPA - Fourpure
Continuing on the fruity theme is this offering by Fourepure. On a day full of beer tasting in London, I really enjoyed this on tap at the at the now defunct BeerKat on Holloway Road, London.
Peanut Butter Milk Stout - TailGate
I’m a peanut butter fiend, seriously, I eat peanut butter out of the jar.
H: 2016 was a year of trying lots of juicy DIPA’s and big Imperial Stouts so picking a favourite is tough. The top 3 that immediately come to mind are:
Prairie Artisan Ales - Pirate Bomb!
A rum cask aged Imperial Stout packed with huge coffee and vanilla hits. Massive.
Cloudwater - DIPA v3
One of the juiciest DIPA’s I tried this year. I had this near the start of the year but still remember how fresh it tasted. Deceptive at 9%, this is the sort of beer you could sink a lot of before realising just how much of a kick it has. Excellent.
Alesmith - Hammerhead Speedway Stout
Not content with having one of the best Imperial Stouts in the world with the regular Speedway Stout, Alesmith decided to add more punch to this Hammerhead version - imagine adding an espresso shot to a coffee and that’s the idea behind this beer. Huge.
B: Definitely Drygate’s C>SK:16 festival that we attended in November. We stumbled across this on our trip to Glasgow and it was such an unexpected find. I really didn’t expect to find something like this in the middle of Glasgow. A brewery offering fantastic beers, food and music, it all made for a great day.
H: Collabfest - 27 bars collaborating with 27 breweries to make 27 beers. What’s not to like? My first Collabfest but I will definitely be back this year.
B: Beavertown for all of the amazing beers they’ve put out, I enjoyed plenty of them throughout 2016. Getting to see the brewery in person was a great experience and it was fantastic to see what they are doing.
H: Magic Rock - Consistently excellent. I don’t think I’ve had a bad beer by them yet (even their Rainbow Project beer I was a little apprehensive about was decent). Getting to try Bearded Lady (Grand Marnier edition) and their Cloudwater collab Big Dipper solidified them as one of my favourite UK breweries. A trip to the Magic Rock Tap Room is definitely on the cards for 2017!