I named Hawkshead Windermere Pale as my best overall beer of 2011, but I wonder if that is so now. It is still the lovely easy quaffer with a complex hop bill that made me think so, but you know, last night I had a beer - not for the first time - that sent my senses reeling. Actually, if I'd had a couple more, it would have sent me reeling too.
The beer is of course the one illustrated on the left. (It would have been perverse for it to be otherwise, though I did think of putting something else on to throw you off the scent for a couple of lines.) Hawkshead New Zealand Pale Ale is wonderful. It bursts on the palate with a cornucopia of tropical fruits, is bitter and citric and so very, very drinkable for its 6% abv. One isn't enough and three may just be too many, as it commands respect strengthwise, though the alcohol is cunningly disguised.
If ever a beer could be described as dangerously drinkable, this it it. So will I change my mind? No. But you know, in a sneaking way I want to.
It knocks Jaipur, especially in its current sugar sweet, enfeebled state into a cocked hat.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, CAMRA Chairman and (local) activist, beer author, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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