Guinness Special Extra Stout if we are to believe the mob at "Beer Advocate", a USA based magazine published by two controversial beer geeks, the Alstrom brothers. In the current edition there is a set of lists. Top this, top that. Now lists in beer terms and words such as "top" or "best" are dangerous in that they set out to define something that almost certainly nobody will agree with, but they are easy to come up with. Some might even say they are sloppy journalism. Like cheap beer, they are simple to produce. Like cheap beer they can be hard to swallow.
The Britain and Ireland list, comprising as it does of bottled beers, is heavily weighted towards those beers that are exported to the US. How else can we explain 3 Sam Smith's bottles, which let's face it are overpriced and fairly ordinary, in the top 25? Or Fuller's with 4 if you count Gales HSB? The beers are also heavily predominated by strong beers, with so called "cult" beers like Lees Harvest Ale, Royal Oak and Thomas Hardy's featuring. In fact there are 3 versions of Lees Harvest Ale in this top 25!
It isn't that the beers are bad, though some of them obviously are, it is that the list is just plain wrong. It sets out to be what it isn't. In this top 25 I'd probably rate a dozen quite highly and most of the others as "yawn". As it happens one I rate well is the Special Export Stout brewed for John Martin in Belgium. My review of this beer can be found on theOxford Bottled Beer Database.
So remember Dear Reader. Lists are fun, but don't believe a word of them. Best beer in the British Isles? As Ricky Tomlinson would say, "My Arse!".
There are other lists too. Don't get me started on the best German beers which are dominated by bocks and doppelbocks. The Belgian List is fairly respectable though!
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
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