Once again, only 4 votes seperated the top 2 beers in this poll…
1. Magic Rock Bourbon Barrel Bearded Lady 10.5% ABV
Normally we’d get a guest blogger to write the piece about the winner but I couldn’t think of a bigger Magic Rock fanboy than me! So here’s what I thought when I sampled the 2013 version last Christmas… After I got through the wax seal and cracked the top I was instantly greeted with sweet piney, roasted aromas. The pour is thick, black (even though it’s a brown stout) and leaves a lovely creamy brown head. There is a big boozy aroma from the glass and you get coffee laced with cream while at the same time almost getting a whiff of JD and coke. The taste is like nothing I have ever sampled before. It’s like a smooth espresso and the bourbon ageing is coming through in every gulp. But it’s not harsh, it’s smooth, it’s warming and it just makes you keep going in for more. Big piney aromas continue throughout the drink, there is a thick flavour and finish, but I just can’t get over how smooth it is. As I near the end of the glass the smoothness continues, but the roasted flavours begin to give way and there’s slight fruit tones in there. This is so well balanced and so well delivered.
This one was close, really close. In the end only 4 votes separated the top 2 beers…
1. Kernel India Export Porter 5.9% ABV
Boak and Bailey are currently running their own series of porter tastings here and they have kindly taken some time out to write these words about the winning beer… If we had to pick a single beer to represent what has happened to London’s beer scene in the last decade, The Kernel’s Export India Porter might be the one. First brewed in 2011, and much-imitated since, it is a playful acknowledgement of the fact that hoppy dark beers didn’t arrive with the recent invention of black IPA, but back in the 19th century when porter was shipped to supply British troops in India. Brewed at various strengths and with various hops over the years, KEIP can vary widely from batch to batch — for some, a key part of its appeal. It is a beer that perhaps does more to explain what ‘craft beer’ means in the UK than any amount of wordy philosophising — bold, raw-edged, boozy, bitter, and bursting with character, as fruity hops pile up against intense roasted malt flavours. Honestly, we’re not fans, but this poll shows that a LOT of people are, and no-one could ever call it bland.
Unlike the recent UK Top 10 Lagers, this poll was a close run thing from beginning to end. 523 votes were cast and in the end one pale ale emerged victorious. Here are the results of the UK Top 10 Pale Ales…