Yes, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for – it’s Charlie’s Beer of the Year! To address the elephant in the room – no, I don’t do the Golden Pints business, but lots of brilliant people do and I enjoy reading them every year (read this one and this one and this one and this one and this one and this one)- it’s just a bit too much effort for a part-timer like me.
Instead I do Beer of the Year because, usually, I taste one beer that is so outstanding it trumps all others (ugh that word is ruined now). Also I only have to write about one beer – winner winner chicken dinner.
It’s difficult for me to reflect back on the beer trends of this year, namely because my own life has been so incredibly busy I haven’t had the chance to drink as much as I’d like! We’ve also moved out of London (not far, but far enough) which has been a huge eye opener in terms of availability and diversity, and has made a real impact on my bar decisions – quality and drinkability (meaning, in this context, that I would return for another) reign over the unusual and exciting. Not to say that my Beer of the Year isn’t exciting – indeed I do a little squeal every time I see it. And yet every sip is tinged with sadness because Prime Time is limited edition.
Yes, that’s right, my Beer of the Year 2017 is none other than Prime Time (readers of my Twitter feed will be v unsurprised by this reveal).
A collaboration between Melissa Cole and Marble to celebrate their 20th anniversary, Prime Time is a Kölsch style beer containing Preemiant and Motueka hops and a dash of lime. And, most importantly, it is glorious.
This beer has seen me through the long, hot days of summer, and the cool days of autumn, the nights out and the nights in. It is as crisp as the crispiest of crisps, fruitier than a packet of Opal Fruits and hopped to perfection. I’ve not been this excited about a pale beer since I first tasted Pilsner Urquell fresh out of the barrel. And let me tell you that was exciting. Try it before it’s all gone – I promise it won’t let you down.
I have no strong predictions for beer trends next year, but there are certainly some things I would like to see, in particular a continued interest in traditional British styles such as bitters, porters and milds. I’d also like to see more dark beers included in core ranges ala Five Points.
As for resolutions? Well, to drink more quality beer, of course. And sometimes to drink beer of very dubious quality indeed, but it’s okay because you’re in a bar in the middle of nowhere and sometimes terrible beer is better than no beer at all.
Happy New Year, everyone!