We’ve sipped, sunk, quaffed and drunk through oceans of beer this year. Now it’s time to reward the best of the best…
Siren Undercurrent (4.5%)
We hung a ‘best newcomer’ medal around this bottleneck last year, and since then this has consistently been the beer we’ve reached for when booze o’clock swings around. No man-fridge is truly complete without a row of these chilling in the door. A wonderfully mysterious ale.
Pressure Drop Pale Fire (4.8%)
If, like us, you’re always the first to the bar, this is the beer you want to hand your mates. The flavour is familiar enough for them to enjoy, but contains the legendary
Hop X, born from a science experiment that helps take it all the way to
BrewDog Five AM Red Ale (5.4%)
Last year we’d have bolted for the door if handed a red ale: it just sounds like
a brain-rotter. But this has become our go-to brewski at BrewDog’s killer pubs. It’s no flavour bomb, but who cares when it’s just so damn smooth?
Rebel Mexi-Cocoa Stout (8.5%)
This southern hero came out of the shadows during our Cornwall vs London Craft Beer Showdown (check out our YouTube vid), and blew the socks off our booze pros. A triple-infused chocolate and vanilla stout, it possesses the strength to land a KO right on your kisser.
Wild Beer Co Wildebeest (11%)
When the percentages start hitting double figures, you’d better know what you’re in for. Through one door, a brandy glass filled with this incredible weapon of mass destruction, through the other, a misjudged night that finishes in your local A&E.
Northern Monk Mocha Porter (5.9%)
It’s nowhere near as strong as its fellow winners in this category, but this Yorkshire brewery has earned its place on the podium thanks to the toasty bear-like belly hug that the black stuff gives you as it hits your gut. Heaven
Rogue Sriracha Chilli Stout (5.7%)
We’ve slathered sriracha chilli sauce on everything
from bacon sandwiches (incredible) to porridge (not so incredible). But in a pint? Only US craft beer lunatics Rogue were brave/crazy enough to risk brewing it with a stout. And good lord did it pay off.
Bevog Rudeen Black IPA (7.4%)
With labels depicting Brothers Grimm-like monsters and coming from
a small town amazingly named Bad Radkersburg, Bevog Brewery has become
the standard-bearer for the craft beer revolution in Austria.
To Øl Final Frontier (9.0%)
Straight outta Scandinavia, this carries a Viking hammer blow of boozy strength. Norway’s finest brewery has created this sequel to its successful First Frontier and it’s best suited to pouring out right at the end of a bloody great evening.
Beavertown Quelle Saison (4.1%)
Still the coolest of the lot, Beavertown continues to turn cans of beer into works of art. With skull portraits and “space nonsense” penned by illustrator Nick Dwyer, this saison (our tipple of the summer) deserves its own wall space in The Louvre.
Mad Hatter Hare Of Darkness (7.4%)
know much about these Liverpudlians, but can kinda guess they have a twisted sense of humour. This label looks straight from the childhood-ruining dream sequence from Watership Down. Amazing, but still utterly petrifying.
BrewDog Punk IPA (5.6%)
Of course our favourite Scottish punks have gone one better than everyone else. Right when the world and his drunken uncle are shunning bottles for cans, BrewDog go supersize and launch their world-famous Punk IPA in a huge ‘tall boy’.
It’s yet to blow a single
candle out on a birthday cake, but we’re already gasping
for more from this baby-faced brewery. Owners Thomas Palmer and Todd Matteson learned their crafts in Germany, the US, Japan and Spain before showcasing their
skills in Southwest London.
With the team behind this Manchester brewery having
a combined CV that lists Marble, Summer Wine
and BrewDog as previous employers, things were only ever going to go down a
storm. These beers are
fresher than a slap round the face from a White Walker.
Bradford is probably the last place you’d think of hitting for a craft beer pilgrimage, but the West Yorkshire city has gone bonkers for the microbrew. Among a handful of speciality bars is Bradford Brewery, where you can drink awesome nectar within sniffing distance of where it was born.