- Best Virginia Amber - Devils' Backbone Ale of Fergus
- Best Rest of US Amber - Samuel Adams Boston Lager
- Best Rest of the World Amber - Uerige Doppelsticke
I fear I am in danger of being accused of bias toward Devils' Backbone, but what the heck, Jason is making some superb beer down in Wintergreen, and Mrs Velkyal and I have been known to make the 45 minute journey just for a couple of afternoon pints. I can honestly say that I can think of no other brewery on the planet we would do that for, add to the fact that Devils' Backbone is only place near Charlottesville that we have taken every single visitor we have had, and that should tell you something. Ale of Fergus is kind of a hybrid in some ways, a cross between a mild and a 60/- Scottish Ale, though at a highly sessionable 4.4% it would be closer to an 80/-. I have a passion for beers I can put plenty of away, whilst still finding complexity and balance in the beer. Ale of Fergus is such a beer.
Some people, for whatever daft reasons, have a downer on Samuel Adams, claiming they are too big to be a craft brewer, or some other specious nonsense. At the end of the day, they brew some decent beers, the core brands of which are near universally available - sometimes it just sounds like sour grapes. Anyway, I wrote about Boston Lager again back in the summer, whilst on holiday in Daytona Beach and the local shops had a comedically poor beer selection. This is where Boston Lager comes into its own - it is consistent, flavourful, easy drinking. Sure it might not be the sexiest, latest, uber-hopped imperial bourbon barrel aged fad de jour, but it is good beer and I find it always enjoyable.
I love altbier. From the very first drop of Schumacher Alt at a festival in Berlin I have been a devotee of this fine style. Earlier this year I picked up a bottle of Uerige Doppelsticke at Beer Run (if I were doing a pub of the year, it would be Beer Run - which I guess just became a de facto award) and what a revelation it was - smooth, sweet, boozy and simply wonderful - I went back and bought more.
Three very good beers, though obviously only one can be crowned Fuggled Amber beer of 2010, and that is:
- Uerige Doppelsticke
An excellent example of German brewing excellence, and proof (though plenty more exists) that there is far more to German beer than Pils and hefeweizen - of course, you, good reader, already know that.