We all have our favourite breweries. For mainstream lager drinkers they will be the likes of Molson Coors, Carlsberg or InBev who produce products such as Stella, Carlsberg, Coors and Carling. If you like real ale, but stick to the larger brands, your choice may well be Timothy Taylor, Black Sheep or Copper Dragon if you live in Yorkshire. For many people, it is the products from Guinness which garner this personal accolade.
My personal favourites have changed over the years as my location and personal tastes in beer changed. When I started drinking, it was the beers from Everards, the brewery which dominated most of the Leicestershire pubs near my birthplace, my favourite beer being “Tiger”. When I moved to Scotland for a year, I drank mainly Caledonian beers with lot of Deuchers IPA and 80 schilling passing my lips.
When I finally moved into gods own county 14 years ago, my brewer of choice became Boddingtons as this was the house bitter at my local. This changed to those larger real ale brands mentioned above as time went on. Since I’ve got into the real and craft ales seriously, my top 3 has shifted about on a regular basis, but an ever present brewer has been Brewdog from Aberdeen who’s Punk IPA first got me into seriously hoppy beers.
However this changed this week, they dropped down to number 4, and my top 3 brewers are now located within 4 miles of each other to the west of Huddersfield.
Magic Rock hit the number 1 spot about 5-6 weeks ago with their exceptionally high quality range of beers, the Curious, Rapture and High Wire being the highlight for me, with these not being what some people would consider being the flagship products of their range, those beers being the like of Cannonball, Human Cannonball and Dark Arts. The Red Rooster in Brighouse is still continuing to stock these beers on a regular basis if you want to try them out, but I recommend a designated driver once you get the taste for them.
Mallinsons was, and still is sitting in second place, with their mastery of the single hop beer giving me plenty of variety when it came to trying their beers, although I was also very impressed by their 4 hop blend “Indulgence” recently, probably their best blended hop beer so far. I’m past my 20th beer from this brewery now, and have been happy with every single one. The company has just announced a move to bigger premises, so the additional capacity will bring more of their beers to the Calderdale area hopefully.
The new entrant at number 3 is Summer Wine Brewery from Honley, running Mallinsons very close for its place, but with the number of beers I like from these two brewsters winning the tie break for me. Summer Wine has been hovering in my top 10 for a while now, after really liking their Diablo IPA and Barista Espresso Stout last year, but I have not had enough exposure to them to push this brewery onto the podium.
This changed last night, visiting HDM Beer Shop in Huddersfield for the first time, they held a full range of the Summer Wine beers, so I picked up the Maelstrom, a 9% Double IPA and the 6% Mokko Milk Stout. The shop itself is nicely done out, and has a really good range of bottled beers as well as a late on-sales license for the weekends for its 4+ draft beers. If you are in the town it is well worth popping in. Going back to the products themselves, the Mokko is a lovely beer, full of taste, but smooth with it and can recommend you pick up a bottle if you like your stouts. However the second bottle I purchased is what tipped the balance.
I already had a favourite 9% beer in Brewdog Hardcore IPA which I can only describe as hopped to the extreme with plenty of flavour, but the Maelstrom showed up lack of depth in the Hardcore. Maelstrom has the same hoppiness, but backs it up with a rich malty note, giving a different dimension to the beer, leaving you wanting more, although I personally couldn’t do a full session on it, given its 9% ABV.
Going back however to my original point, we all like a certain brewery or breweries for our own reasons, there are some people who have stuck with the same beer for decades and will continue to do so, but change can even happen after this time, personally I know an older man who has only just moved from John Smiths to other ales after 25 years of drinking it.
Whatever you drink, enjoy it and happy supping until next week.