Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Fuggled Review of the Year - Pale Ales and Bitters

After years of drinking lager, it has been a pleasure to once again drink ale on a regular basis. Despite the fact that I have had some very nice ales here in the Czech Republic, most of the pale ales and bitters I have enjoyed in the last 12 months have been an integral part of my trips to the UK and Ireland.

I have enjoyed re-acquainting myself with old favourites as well as discovering stuff from breweries I had never heard of before. However, it was the newcomers that made my short list of 3 for this category (and believe me I agonized over leaving some of my favourite beers out). The three contenders for my pale ale/bitter of 2008 are:

All of the pale ales I have tried from Pivovar Varnsdorf have been excellent, whether the English Pale Ale, the American style Pale Ale or the India Pale Ale, which I first had at the Slunce ve Skle festival in Plzeň. The IPA gets the nod over the others because of the wonderful fresh citrus flavours and the fact that it is an endlessly wonderful and easy drinking ale.

I had the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale whilst in Galway last month, having heard from many people that it is the standard against which many pale ales are judged, and it is a beautifully crafted beer – one which when I am living in the States will be as permanent a fixture in my cellar as possible.

Galway Hooker was a beer that was very close to the top of my list for trying during the trip to Ireland. Again a very crisp and refreshing beer, and one which I heartily wish was available in bottles so that it could be enjoyed by more people than those very lucky souls in Galway and the few towns in Ireland where it is available on tap.

Again a very, very difficult choice, but my pale ale/bitter of the year is:

  1. Galway Hooker

Worth jumping on a plane to Ireland for.

2 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more. It never fails to hit the spot.

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  2. This is definitely my session beer of choice when back in Dublin. It also deserves to be recognised as a pretty unique beer in the Irish market. The sooner our friends in the Porterhouse get their bottling rig up and running and doing runs for the other craft brewers the better :)

    PS, I don't like word verification generally, but your blog just made me type "insest" to post this comment :oO

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