5 great beers that deserved a repeat visit

The one problem with writing about beer is that I’m always looking for new beers to try, because it gives me something to write about. So if there’s one beer which I know is good, and another which I’ve not tried but I think might be good, I’m much more likely to go for the latter.

One of the things I love most about beer is the fact there’s always something new to try, but it doesn’t negate the point that there are loads of beers which I know are good, but which I never talk about because they aren’t new.

So today I want to talk about a few beers which aren’t new, but which I’ve drank loads of times, sound exciting? Well it should, because the reason I’ve drank them loads of times is because they are damn good beers. They deserve a repeat visit and every time I’ve had them again I’ve thought “why don’t I drink this beer more often?”

BrewDog Zeitgeist (Black Lager) 4.9%

Zeitgeist hasn’t gained anywhere near as much attention as some of BrewDog’s other beers, possibly because it isn’t as extreme as the likes of Black Tokyo Horizon or as (rightly) popular as the ever approachable new Punk. But it’s still an absolute belter.

Its got a big roasted malt flavour yet a lot of the characteristics of a good lager - nice light to medium body, slightly sweet, refreshing and massively drinkable. Even if the weather’s red hot this dark beer hits the spot.

Drink it straight from the fridge if you want a refreshing yet tasty beer, or let it warm up a little to coax out a more complicatedly roasted chocolate flavour.


Sierra Nevada Celebration (Fresh Hop Ale) 6.8%

They really should change the label of this beer. Calling it ‘Celebration’ and putting a picture of a snow covered cabin on the front screams out ‘Christmas’ more than a holly decorated mince pie - even though the beer inside doesn’t taste in the slightest bit Christmassy.

In fact this is a really well balanced beer with a complex yet satisfying combination of hops and malt; you get grapefruit, green tea, orange pith, and even a touch of herbal mint from the dry hopped American C bombs, alongside fruity, hardcandy sweetness and an underlying crisp toffee from the malt.

It’s just a great beer, any time of year.

Titanic Stout (Stout, duh) 4.5%

Titanic Stout was one of the first British bottled beers that really blew me away. It just doesn’t taste like it came out of a bottle - with a really big, mouth filling cask ale texture and absolutely bags of flavour. I’ve had this on cask and it’s almost identical to the bottle conditioned version, which is no mean feat.

It’s got everything you want from a stout, with a smokiness that’s just softened enough by flavours of chocolate and filter coffee, but remains charred and dry throughout with a really crisp bitter finish. It’s just a stunning stout, and at 4.5% punches well above its weight.

Drink this one at cask ale temperature (not straight from the fridge) and you’ll get a lot more out of it too.

Brooklyn Lager (Vienna/Amber Lager) 5%

I bought a pint of Brooklyn Lager at the weekend to compare it to Thornbridge’s new Kill Your Darlings Vienna Lager, and do you know what? Brooklyn is still the best Vienna Lager I’ve tasted to date. Kill Your Darlings and Flying Dog Old Scratch both came close to knocking it off the top spot, but didn’t quite make it.

It’s just brilliant every time I have it. As an introduction to American Craft Beer I’d say Brooklyn Lager and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale are two of the best places to start - but even if you’ve been drinking good beer for years, their worth returning to. Classics for a reason.

Goose Island IPA (India Pale Ale) 5.9%

Goose Island IPA is the perfect example of a beer which I drink all the time but have never written about, because it’s been around for so long. It’s a stunning American IPA even by modern standards, despite the fact it’s been around for over 20 years and is in fact brewed as an “English Style IPA”.

Having recently been taken over by AB-InBev, and now being stocked in Tesco’s, this is a beer that is becoming extremely easy to get a hold of, which in my opinion can only be a good thing.

It’s got big flavours of bitter grapefruit and that classic American IPA citrus/pine needle flavour, yet the underpinning of sweet malt makes it pretty balanced and drinkable. Another one that can stand up to being drunk straight from the fridge, it’s a great beer to coax your macro-lager drinking mates on to good beer.

18 comments:

  1. Titanic Stout is rather good on keg as well, as drunk at the Bhurtpore Inn, Aston, Cheshire. Zeitgeist is a good beer but I never ever see it much anymore.

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  2. Not had it on keg but would like to try it. Must admit I generally prefer lower strength stouts on Cask. It's pretty easy to get a hold of in the bottle, I usually get mine from Morrisons. A great bottled beer.

    As for Zeitgeist, as far as I know there's no intention to stop making it. I got mine from BrewDog online a bit ago. I've had it on keg in Mr Foley's too.

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  3. A delicious list, Titanic and Brooklyn are top reliable stand-bys. It's a shame Brewdog don't quite seem to know what to do with Zeitgeist as it's a lovely dark lager that deserves to have more fuss made of it,

    I had Goose Island IPA at the weekend with roast duck and it went together perfectly. As you say, as exciting as discovering the new beers is, it is always brilliant to fall back on quality stalwarts.

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  4. Zeitgeist is like an old friend I see a few times a year and when we meet its always an enjoyable time.

    I wouldn't class Sierra Nevada as a regular beer that is easily overlooked. Its a seasonal release and one of their most eagerly anticipated beers. It changes every year. This year's I thought wasn't my favourite and was more British in style.

    Goose Island is a modern classic and it one of my go-to beers.

    Brooklyn lager is a whole different beast on draught than it is in the bottle. I find the bottle a bit bland and lacking hops, the keg displays more definition of flavour. Always a winner, but like you I too am in constant search for wonderful new beery delights.

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  5. You are bang on about Brooklyn. It's a much different beast on keg.

    We're really lucky in Leeds in that loads of places have it on tap thanks to James Clay. Even Liverpool had loads of places sevring it when I was there recently.

    I take your point about Celebration. I think my point was that I personally forget how good it is until I have it again, and a lot of people starting to get into beer might look past it because of the Christmassy branding. My advice was not to! As you point out, it's a great beer.

    cheers for the comments guys.

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