2017. What a year, eh? Tons of important stuff happened, most of which no-one cares about because the biggie was the birth of this site. A universe-sized event of unimaginable importance. That no-one cares about. Seriously, start spreading the word folks.
Back on track for a moment, 2017 was a great year as far as the sheer amount of beer drank is concerned. Both myself and Scott had some absolute stonkers and for this reason, I've decided to steal liberate borrow another of Scott's tremendous ideas and pass it off as my own. I'm all heart.
So without further ado, I give you - the Beers Wot I Have Drunk Beer of the Year ...discussion? Here, we'll hopefully (maybe) come up with a solid selection for our favourite beer of 2017. Or failing that, at least one beer each that we both think is top-notch. Or we might just argue a bit and see what happens.
ANDY: This is not going to be an easy decision. I drank a lot of decent beer last year. And also some crap ones.
Scott: Cheers for stealing another stellar idea from right under my nose. Feels a bit like the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby relationship - where, let's face it Stan is the focal point of the Marvel creative universe, but behind the scenes everyone knows the truth on that one. Not that I'm for one bit calling you a Hack.
2017 was quite something beer wise. Untappd has me clocked in at 186 unique beers, which is pretty astonishing considering there were no tasters or beer events, etc. Just straight up, full size beer guzzling action all round. And that's only the ones from April. But as you say, there are contenders for both sides of the spectrum, thankfully mostly good, with some awful and the occasional cracker.
Andy: Maybe I can come up with an original idea myself then... how about Worst Beer of the Year? That's completely original and not just a negative copy of your BOTY idea...
Scott: Haha bet no one would have seen that one coming. However, maybe we shouldn't give too much airtime, webspace (anyone? Is there a correct adjective here?) to the crap ones. Besides they'd probably just blacklist us.
Andy: Aye, fair point. And we need all the readers we can get...
Right - straight off the bat, I can think of two contenders for BOTY anyway, both of which I've reviewed here: AND Unions Sunday Pale Ale and Pistonheads Full Amber. I love both dearly, sometimes one is my favourite, sometimes the other. Both great, refreshing beers, that are easy to drink and full of flavour. I don't think you've tried either though, have you?
I jotted down 3 beers that I fancied for BOTY missing out a 4th one that I was convinced you were going to list in yours. I've opted for Evil Twin's Molotov Cocktail, Founder's KBS and Westmalle's Trappist Dubbel. I'm not sure you've had any of these either?
Andy: Hahaha - I do have another one, which I'm 100% sure is the one you're referring to, but I was going to build up tension here first, before throwing it in at the end and catching everyone off guard! We can do a Jedi mind trick at some point though and no-one will remember this part of the article...
'These are not the beers you're looking for', or something like that!
To answer your question, nope, I haven't tried any of those 3 you've mentioned either. I'll need to rectify that soon though.
Thing is, if you'd have asked me before I tried the MYSTERY BEER! in December when we were out in Glasgow, this decision would have gone to either of the two beers I mentioned above. After trying that one though - all bets are off.
Scott: Hahaha Yeah, after a count of 3 say the Mystery Beer at the same time type of thing. Does that work in print? lol!
Likewise, I think I have my focus a bit on that one as well. However, I have noticed, aside from that one, my choices have all been largely on the strong side. Molotov is 12%, KBS just under, at 11.9% and even the Dubbel is 7%. Some almost made it as contenders, such as SnakeDog (7.1%), Mr President (9.2%) and Unicorn Whisperer (9%) all showcase the fact that my tendency is to gravitate towards big, strong, punchy beers. That or it's highlighting the fact I have a drinking problem.
Andy: Man, imagine if we did 1...2...3 and your mystery beer was Tennent's Super or something?! Given the list above, that could be a possibility! That would definitely be a curve ball there!
I did have a few others that deserve a mention too: Radical Road from Stewart Brewing was great (and in cans now too!). As was AND Union's (yeah, them again - fan club, remember?) Friday IPA and Fallen Brewing's New World Odyssey.
Scott: Radical Road is a beast as well. It came very close to being included.
I'll make a start on staking a claim for my beers:
KBS was the 1st beer I added to my Wish List on Untappd. It has this really huge popularity online and you struggle to find many low rated reviews of it. It came with something of a legend about it with people simply frothing over their personal experiences when tasting it. So it was a must have for me. Luckily, I managed to get a hold of a bottle via Beer Hawk. It is such a crazy beer for so many reasons. The flavour is just excellent - huge coffee and chocolate stout with a treacle like aroma to it. Delicious. However, being almost 12% it had this unusual quality whereby it warmed (burned more like) my throat the whole way down - much like the sensation you get when taking a shot of tequila or sambuca, etc. Not unpleasant, but it stops you from necking it particularly quickly. It was a savoured beer. And, more importantly, lived up to the hype.
Scott: You know that was one of my favourites throughout the year. It feels like so long since I tried it, though I'll probably need another bottle (or pint) soon just to retest. Beer52 are doing 10 for £30 no less!!!
So considering that there aren't many beers listed above that we've both had, does that mean the mystery beer wins by default, as we both love it?
Scott: The thing I like about the Mystery Beer, is that it is one of a small number of beers that I have had a few times in the year, as I was trying pretty hard to not repeat myself too often where possible. What this one had was a great recommendation from a friend when I mentioned I was going to a specific Wine/Beer shop, which it then delivered on by being really smooth and decadent. We both then had a couple each months later in Glasgow when I stumbled upon it in a pub. So in a way, with the meeting of our combined impressions on this one in particular, it could make it clear favourite.
Andy: I actually think I could drink it every night and not get sick of it. It really is that good. Thing is, I hadn't heard of it until you bought it and if it hadn't been for that night in Nice N Sleazy's, I'm not sure if I would have ever tried it. Other than ordering it directly from the brewery - or from your secret shop - it isn't that easy to get hold of. But it's definitely worth the effort of trying to track it down. I'm actually trying to homebrew a clone of it just now, so I can get my fix more easily, but I guarantee it won't even come close to the original.
Scott: Ach you never know. It's good to have a target.
In terms of this BOTY, I think we may have to unmask this mystery beer before the dear readers become somewhat dismayed by all this covert chatter.
For the others I suggested - I think KBS falls out of the running because although it lived up to the hype and was a serious monster of a beer, it was just overpowering. I loved it and I'm glad I tried it, but I couldn't drink it often. Molotov Cocktail is a real cracker, superstrong but just packing wild fruity punchy flavours. A real contender and I'd happily pick those up again. The Trappist Dubbel from my BeerWulf box was one of the highlights of the year. It had everything - silky smooth, rich chocolate flavours. Just fantastic.
Andy: Yeah I think I can tick all the others off and say they were all good, but not good enough. I know I went OTT over Sunday Pale Ale, but I think I sickened myself of it. Full Amber is great and I drink it fairly regularly, but its missing something ...special. Same goes for the others. Millionaire is probably the only one that comes close. Wait... I had Fourpure's Juicebox as well this year... argh.
No. Stay focussed. Right - shall we do this then? Count of 3?
Andy: 1... GO!
Scott: Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout... cue Fireworks... Millions of people cheering...
Andy: And the crowd goes wild!
I have to say, despite all the gum bumping above, it was actually a fairly easy decision to make. For me at least. Really, really amazing stuff.
Scott: Indeed. Ultimately there were a number of great examples of contenders from the year. But I think this one was something of an underdog in that it isn't bit and shouty, it isn't pushed heavily by some huge trendy brewer or sporting a knock your socks off super strength. It gets in there and does the business very well. Great taste, great quality. And off the back of a recommendation from a colleague. Sometimes it is as simple as that.
Andy: Yep, absolutely. Great taste, great quality as you say. Really easy drinking (too easy? Nah) - just all round great and really worthy of the BOTY I reckon.
Anything else to add??
Scott: Nah I think everything has been said. I feel the bar has been set by 2017. Looking forward to more discoveries this year. I'm sure there will be a combination of the good the bad and the ugly but that's what we are here for and hopefully we can get as many articles up as possible to help you guys navigate your way through it all.
Normal service shall resume soon, with more boozy adventures to come in 2018!