Monday, 31 December 2012

Siddie Reviews the Beer Year

It's been a while, due to other projects, since I've posted anything. I thought I'd better provide an update. Why? Well, while I'm grateful to Addie for holding the fort, it's not easy to continuously tolerate his weird and wonderful application of our Western Germanic Latin-scripted mother tongue. In fact, I doubt if Addie would even know what the last few words of my last sentence mean.

Since I haven't posted for a bit, I thought a beer-fuelled review of 2012 might be in order. Where are the highlights to be found?

The people
To start us off, let's think about who we've met this year. There is myself, of course -- Siddie Nam -- your despairing host and senior editor, determined to uphold standards of literacy and to promote care, attention, knowledge and consistency when reviewing the various beers we've encountered. It's been an utter failure of course, but what can one do? This is why I operate a blog and not a national newspaper.

However, my not-very-trusted lieutenant Addie Stone has to be commended at least for his work-rate. He produces blog after blog of beer fuelled diatribe, so at least there's content for you to read. It's not content you'd want to read, but, well. He tries his best. I should mention that he doesn't believe me that British English speakers pronounce lieutentant as "lef-tenant" -- but that's because his command of our native idiom is drawn primarily from American feature films featuring fighting, explosions and bad sex.

Heath Roe, our third contributor, contrasts nicely with Addie in the sense that he has contributed precisely two articles to the blog in its entire lifetime. Where Addie is a workaholic but illiterate demon, Heath is a literate and poetic scriber, who has mastered the written word. Of course you'll have to to trust me on this, since being one hundred per cent bone idle, I have no evidence to offer you that might back up my argument. Sorry.

Other friends of the blog include Mr Windy, master of his own destiny, and random Guinness drinker, and Nobby Northerner, who likes a real ale but really only visits us in London (home of Siddie and the Beer Monsters) once in a blue moon. All must surely feel like old friends. Or not. It really depends how interested you are in any of this.

The beers of the year
I've been reviewing the year's blogging, and one clear winner in the taste and enjoyment stakes stands out: Let me announce now that the Siddie Nam and the Beer Monsters beer of the year is the Hog's Back's Brewery's TEA (The English Ale). It's just super, and from one of the larger breweries we encounter it's just a standout great beer. If you get it from a decent pub that knows how to look after its ales, you are guaranteed a decent drink and I absolutely recommend it. We've encountered it a fair bit, but for a couple of our musings on it, see HERE and HERE.

TEA is one of the biggies, of course, but it's important to showcase the lesser known delights. I think a standout favourite for the year is Mighty Oak Brewery's Juggernaut. It's one of their "Specials", so might be hard to get, but let me tell you now this was universally appreciated by the well informed crowd of beer swilling reprobates who Addie and I are forced to drink with. And they use Maris Otter malt, too -- technical stuff, so I'll let you look that up for yourself. Silly branding, Mighty Oak -- that's the only real failing with this lovely brew. Here's what we said about it (and HERE too!).

There were loads of other goodies -- but the best way to learn about them, of course, is to read the blog. Obviously!

Brewery of the year
The hands-down winner of this was Sambrook's in London. Why? because they let us visit them, plied us with loads and loads of brilliant beer (Wandle and Junction being just two fine examples from their terrific range), and put up with Heath's nonsense while telling us all about their brewery and the processes involved. We had an awesome time there, and we cannot thank them enough for their excellent hospitality. Nice one guys! We wrote about them HERE and HERE.

Event of the year
Well, you have to love CAMRA's Great British Beer Festival. We went, and drunk gallons of beer, reviewing each as we went along using just five words. Scientific? No. Fun? Oh my word yes! Start HERE and follow along chronologically to read our reviews of the event.

Was it a great beer year? Well, we had a drink didn't we? So... YES! 

Happy 2013 everyone, and to especially all the great breweries and beermakers who've played their part -- keep up the good work.

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