2014 has, so far, been another exciting year in what is proving to be an exciting decade for beer on the whole. We may only be three months deep and still regularly donning our spring scarves and gloves, but whilst the first two months of the year have been slow for most of us, it certainly hasn’t slowed the craft beer industry down.
Magic Rock & Lervig Øl – Farmhouse IPA
UK breweries are slowly catching on to the seemingly unstoppable and relentlessley flexible Saison style, and with good cause – it’s a seriously underrated style originating in French-speaking Belgium and highly affiliated with actual France and actual farmhouses actually. Magic Rock and Lervig Øl’s (I’m told that’s pronounced “Ehl”) latest collaborative offers a rustic Saison experience with some familiar hop punch and a little sourness derived from the use of Brett.
Beavertown & Wild Beer Co – Rubus Maximus
What? An adventurous beer from Wild Beer Co? Geez guys, brew a pale ale sometime will ya? Rubus Maximus is the lovechild of two seriously creative UK based craft breweries, and holding back was apparently totally off the cards when they brainstormed this beer – super sour and intense raspberries, wild yeast, 9 grains and a pink intensity that would have Rip Taylor blushing. Beavertown and Wild Beer Co just seriously upped thier game, and Rubus Maximus is well worth seeking out.
Siren – Calypso
The UK has something of a little problem with sour beer – in fact, most of us can’t recognize it as anything but “off” – but stroll the streets of Germany on a hot summer’s day, and you’ll find a Berliner Weisse in every other glass. Calypso blends heavy dry hopping with a puckeringly tart base, delivering a beer that you’ll either love or hate – but certainly one you should try. At a modest 4%, it’s just right for supping in a warm beer garden. It’s the third in a line of 7 dry hopped Berliner Weisses from Siren, and while it’s not out yet, the other two – Amarillo and Citra – are worth checking out in anticipation.
Brew By Numbers – 03/03 Porter Traditional
Since their formation in 2011, Brew By Numbers have been making some consistently excellent and exotic beers, encapsulating everything from a Strawberry and Mango Witbier to more traditional porters, and some sour and barrel aged beers to boot. 03/03 Porter is based on a traditional London Porter recipe (read about it on the internet, it’s super interesting) from 1850, deeply coloured and full of roasty toffee flavours, a wonderful slice of simple, historically accurate brewing from a usually dry-hop-dominant brewery.
Well, if you ever needed an excuse to drink at breakfast, here it is – a bottle full of sweet and intense blueberry with subtle cinnamon and nutmeg flavours. Bad seed are no stranger to slightly whacky bonkers beers, boasting a small but strong portfolio including a Salted Lemon Wit and an Espresso Stout alongside more traditional beers such as a house IPA and Hefeweizen. Almost a malt and fruit smoothie – it’d make a great boozy cheesecake.
These are my top 5 beers of 2014 so far, but what are yours?