A list of beers that I enjoyed last year and some notes about why I liked them.

Sometimes I think the best beers are as much about what’s outside the glass as what’s in it. These beers were ones I really enjoyed sipping last year, along with a little story about why.

Herbalist – Adnams/Magic Rock

My favourite beer of last year. No exceptions. Such a glorious example of what can result from clever brewing mixed with a sense of fun.

I had the honour of trying this in the Adnams sample room just before it was released. A beer with an incredibly lingering flavour, I could still taste it in my nose for days afterwards.

It’s brewed with Lemon Verbana. Oddly it tastes exactly as it sounds: a zesty, tangy herb that could also double as the name for a second rate punk band.

Hon. mention for Adnams brand new Ease Up Session IPA. A beauty of a thing. Drink it all evening and coat your tongue with maltose and linalool.

Cellarbration Ale – Norfolk Brewhouse

Had the chance to try this at the Maris Otter 50 festival in Sunny Norwich, organised by The Norfolk Brewhouse et. al.

It’s an Audit Ale, which I believe is an old style of beer that used to be brewed on Uni campuses. Presumably for the post graduate staff to sup

Never mind the style, it’s an ace brew. Mint + Cherries + Chewy penny sweets in a paper bag spread on a buttery rusky base.

Stormin’ Normin’ – Great Heck

This beer was my downfall at my local, The Vic.

Following an afternoon in the sun in the hometown of Suffolk’s best brewer I was in need of refreshment. “A quick pint in The Vic on my way home”, thought I.

Spying Great Heck’s distinctive pumpclips I cockily ordered a pint: “That one, please!”.

That one turned out to be a brute of a beer. It made every point of its 6.5% count.

Bitter – Stancill

The best bitter in the world. Went particularly well with The Duke of Pork’s amazing dogs in The Vic’s little garden for their annual beer fest.

Yes, The Vic again. Go there, you really should.

Bitter – Watts &co

It’s probably a mite arrogant to feature my own beer in this list, but I am rather proud of it.

Brewed for an appearance on the fine Beer O’Clock Show, and finished just before my own little brewery got its final registration sorted, this turned out just as I wanted it.

I love session bitters. They aren’t the sexiest beers alive but good ones have got it where it counts. This one turned out light, lifted by some heady hops with a little crunch of shortbread biscuit. Went down well as the staff beer at the local CAMRA fest too.

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