Beer O'Clock Show

A Bump In The Road

When we launched the UK Top 10 IPAs poll back in May it was as a result of some inspiration I found from a blog written by Andy Parker. It was part fun, part social experiment that actually ended up with an unexpected winner in Marble’s Dobber.

On the back of this there seemed to be interest in a series of these polls, so the UK Top 10 Lagers and Pale Ale polls have followed.

Now we’ve hit a bit of a bump in the road. There’s a couple more polls I want to do but categorising them is the problem. And the problem is too big for 140 characters, hence this post, where we really need you to comment with your thoughts below to help us make an informed decision.

Here’s the challenges…

1) Porters or Stouts or both
Should porters and stouts have their own, distinct categories or should they be one? The historical beer ‘style’ is Porter, the word ‘stout’ was added to describe a stronger beer. So there is also an argument for splitting this one by ABV with 7.5% being the splitting point. Bearing in mind there was this debate with the original poll (IPA, DIPA, TIPA in the same category) I’m keen to keep consistency across the polls. So the choice here is either separate porter and stouts polls or a joint porter/stout polls but split by ABV.

2) Traditional English bitters
This is a bit of a ‘catch-all’ poll and could potentially include traditional bitters, golden/summer ales, red ale/beer, ruby/dark beers, milds and all the other stuff you find on the supermarket shelf. What to do here, this could potentially be a free for all with all styles that simply comes down to a popular choice? Let’s give an example here – this could end up being a poll that sees Brewdog 5am Saint going up against Hobgoblin and losing because the latter beer is more well known. Any thoughts on how to seperate this one would help.

3) Sours & Berliner Weiss
Simple one this – are there enough UK beers of this style to warrant a poll? Thoughts below please.

The plan with this polls is to finish the series with a ‘best of the best’ poll which would effectively crown the UK’s Top beer taking the top 3 from each poll. The aim is to run this in January but we need to get through the suggestions above first.

Any suggestions you could provide in the comments below would be appreciated.

Cheers guys


  1. 1) Tricky one this, but I’d be tempted to say go with separate polls because brewers tend to state their beers as being one or the other and there are a lot out there to get enough for two polls

    2) Just roll with this one. Let the people nominate and vote as per. In your example you mention Hobgoblin could get nominated and then be more popular than 5am, but that’s the name of the game right? Would make for a very interesting poll.

    3) Go for it.

  2. Tough question but on balance I think you should split porters and stouts as I don’t see how you can compare a Baltic Porter to a Milk Stout for example. Bitters are even trickier as pale ales technically fall into this category, but splitting them by Session Beer (4.1 or 4.3 and under) and Best Bitter (anything above ) might not be a bad shout.
    Sours are a good category but I wonder how mainstream this will be. Interesting nonetheless although the contenders would be quite narrow if you only chose one from each brewery that have embraced the style.
    Did you include black IPAs in the IPAs poll? I can’t for the life of me remember, but how about barrel-aged, saisons, barleywines, milds or possibly the most accessible if all of these the golden ale?
    Where you draw the line and say enough is enough is a tough call.

  3. 1) 2 seperate categories. By defined style rather than ABV.

    2) A category determined by use of english hops only perhaps, making it slightly easier to define.

    3) would welcome a poll on this style(s) of beer.

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