Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Britain's Best Beer 2010 - The July Draw Prize

This month we've put together a great mix of British Beer for our draw prize. Twelve bottles of beer ranging from 3.5% to 7% abv. From pale Summer ales to IPA & Imperial Stout - hopefully something for every taste. You can enter our competition to find Britain's Best Beer 2010 Here

The Beers are:

Ilkey Brewery - Mary Jane - abv 3.5%
Crisp and pale with a refreshing citrus aroma.
Great Newsome Brewery - Sleck Dust - abv 3.8%
Golden straw coloured with a citrus apricot, grapefruit aroma and a sharp zesty taste
Wensleydale Brewery - Semer Water - abv 4.1%
Clean, crisp and hoppy, this is a light, golden ale and a very moreish best bitter
Hawkshead Brewery - Lakeland Gold - abv 4.4%
Golden ale with complex fruit flavours
Isle of Skye - Black Cuillin - abv 4.5%
A dark Scottish ale brewed with oats & heather honey
Brew Dog - 77 Lager - abv 4.9%
Made with 100% malt and whole leaf hops. No preservatives or additives
Williams Brothers - Froach Heather Ale - abv 5%
A light amber ale with floral peaty aroma and a spicy herbal flavour
Thornbridge Brewery - Kipling - abv 5.2%
Golden blonde beer with a fruity aroma. A lasting grapefruit-like bitter finish
Marble Brewery - Tawny No3 - abv 5.7%
Rich tawny brown, with an earthy hop aroma. Big but balanced
Meantime Brewery - Raspberry Grand Cru - abv 6.5%
A full raspberry fruit nose, sweet and sour fruit on the palate and a wildly refreshing zesty finish
Crown Brewery - Unpronounceable IPA - abv 7%
A traditional golden IPA, full flavoured & packed with bitterness
Samuel Smith's - Imperial Stout - abv 7%
Rich, flavorful, deep chocolate color, scented and roasted barley nose


Want to win this great case of real ale?
Simply select the best British beer you have drunk this year to help us find Britain's Best Beer 2010.
There are two categories to vote in, Best Cask Beer and Best Bottled Beer.
We know there are some great beers out there, which is why you can select up to three beers in either one or both categories. Every vote will count equally and by the end of November we hope to have found a winner.
Vote here before the end of July for your chance to win

Please note this competition is only open to UK residents OVER the age of 18.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Cheese, Chocolate & Cuckoo Clocks

So, I draw Switzerland in the World Cup Beer Sweep, organised by fellow Tweeters BeerReviewsAndy and markdredge. That'll be easy thinks I, Switzerland, it can't be that difficult to get hold of some Swiss beer in the UK....

First port of call - the internet. Ah-ha, BeerHERE do a World Cup mixed case and there's a Swiss beer included. But hold on a minute... Do I really want to buy a case of 20 beers, when I rarely drink at home?, and anyway, isn't Hurlimann brewed in the UK by Shepherd Neame? A quick visit to Beer Genie would seem to confirm this.

Does it matter? Some would say no. I expect these are the people who would tell me that Fosters was Australian, or that I could play football for Wales because my grandmother's second cousin once spent a fortnight on holiday in Aberystwyth.

Trying a different approach, I trawl through every brewery I can find in Switzerland & email them, informing them of my task, asking if they can help.... Only four reply - and that's just to say they don't export beer to the UK.

Right, we're struggling now - but a couple of updates on Twitter later I have a bite: MelissaCole has a bottle of Swiss beer & do I want to swap something for it? Unfortunately she turns down my offer of a 4-pack of Carlsberg that has been sat in my garage for a couple of years. Women eh!, doesn't she know it's always good to keep something handy to clear the drains?

That, dear reader is why I find myself at Luton Airport early one Wednesday morning waiting for a flight to Geneva. Well I could say I had to visit my bank but that would be stretching it a bit.... Really though?, ludicrously cheap easyJet flight, there and back in a day, plus the thought that I just might bump into Alexandra Bastedo sashying around the lake (ok I may be 40 years too late for that one).

A few photo opportunities later....

and it's time to find that beer. Now, when abroad I normally avoid bars with English names like the plague.... But, walking through Place du Molard, I see 'The Lord Nelson Pub' & as I'm passing by the doorway there's a sign that reads:
'Nos bieres artisanales sont fabriquees pur malt et houblon. Fermentees et gardees dans l'establishment.'
Even with my scant knowledge of French I can transalte that as something along the lines of:
'Our craft beers are manufactured from malt and hops. Fermented and kept in the establishment.'

Now that has GOT to be worth a second look.

....and what a great place it is. If I was to own a pub, this is what I'd want. Clean, comfortable, great beer, good food, friendly staff & best of all its own brewery behind the bar. What a treat to sit eating lunch, drinking beer, watching the brewer at work.

So to the beer. With three house beers to choose from, I plumped for La Blonde (pictured). Very refreshing with more than a passing resemblence to Blue Moon - but without the poncy piece of orange floating in it!
In the interests of research I also tried L'ambree (darker, richer) and La Blanche (lighter with a slice of lemon).
Apologies about the lack of tasting notes but I like to leave that sort of thing to those that know more than me. Maybe I need an All Beer Experience so I don't leave you feeling shortchanged.

So that's my World Cup Beer Sweep story, Switzerland won't win the World Cup but I've had a day out in a great city and found a great pub.

There's more information and pictures of The Lord Nelson Pub here