My 2012 200 beer challenge – and a top 20

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As well as a love of cooking, I’ve always had a keen interest in beer – particularly in seeking out and trying new and different beers to try. With a real explosion in real ales and craft beers over the last couple of years this has become much easier (and more enjoyable).

At the start of the year I downloaded a handy little app called untappd – a sort of social network for beer which lets you ‘check-in’ to drinks to keep a record of what you’ve tried. You can add the location and also give a score out of five.

I thought it would be interesting to challenge myself to try 100 different beers but got through that fairly swiftly so 200 became the goal. They weren’t all beers that I’d never tried before (some were firm favourites) – I was just trying to do 200 different ones in the course of the year. I hit 200 with a pint of Otley 03 Boss on 22 December.

Here’s a look back at the year and a round up of some of my favourites.

Breweries

Breweries I have tried most frequently including Otley Lancaster Bare Naked Beer and Brains

Not really a surprise that Otley came out top – they’re a client and so I’m lucky enough to go to plenty of events where it’s on the bar. That said, it was a complete co-incidence that number 200 was an Otley beer and it was a great one to end on.

I went and did the brewery tour in Lancaster which was a great way to spend a day – highly recommend a visit and their beers (the Lancaster Blonde is a favourite). Brains has had a really interesting year with the opening of its craft brewery and collaborations with beer bloggers. It’s been great to see new styles alongside old favourites on Brains’ bars.

The Artisan Brewery (Bare Naked Beer) has been the discovery of the year for me. Kind of knew it was there but only got round to finding it this summer – it’s a small brewery tucked behind a residential street which opens up on the first Saturday of each month for what feels like a mini beer festival – tables out in the brewery yard, BBQ and music. Their American IPA, Vienna Lager and Helles have become firm favourites.

Beer Styles

List of favourite beer styles

I was a little surprised by this. It’s been a year of seeking out IPAs I thought, but good old Bitter was there at the top. I’ve found some very good blonde/golden ale and have been looking out for American craft beers to try – something which has thankfully become easier as the year progressed. There were two styles I’d forgotten about but have rediscovered and would recommend – German Alt and Vienna lager.

Location

Thanks to the amazing range at Discount Supermarket in Cardiff and Roath’s Bottle Shop, plus an increased range in Morrisons the majority of beers have been at home.

In terms of pubs, I combined a visit to the Jolly Butchers with our Olympic trip which was a fine evening of discovery, Cardiff has seen a few new openings in the last couple of months which are focusing on interesting beer (Fire Island, Cosy Club) and I can always rely on the old Albany to have a few interesting guests on.

Also the GBBF was so much better at Olympia that we even managed to reach the bottle bar before it ran dry. It gave me the chance to try some amazing American IPAs and Pale Ales.

Top 20

I’d given around 50 beers the full 5/5 rating so these are the 20 that stood out for me – from memory (which may not be that reliable) and in no particular order. But with special mentions for Goose Island IPA, Worthington White Shield, Jaipur and Harvest Ale as probably my favourites of the year. Although Fursty Ferret was good. And Vienna Lager. And I do like a Kolsch or an Edelstoff on a sunny day. That Old Empire’s good, mind too…

top 20 beers of 2012

2013

This year has included most of my favourites and the more readily available ones – my challenge to myself for next year is to try 100 that I’ve not drunk this year.

I do like a challenge 🙂

Cheers!

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  1. My 2013 200 beer challenge – and a Top 40 | easyteas - January 24, 2014

    […] year I started using the Untappd (drink socially) app to track the beers I drank. I covered most of the familiar, usual brews that I drank so for 2013 set myself a new challenge […]

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