A Year in Beer – January

Week 16 – Harviestoun Schiehallion

After finishing 2012 with a lager (the rather nice Freedom Organic Dark), I began 2013 with one too. Named after a mountain, this is billed as a “crisp and refreshing” lager. And who am I to disagree?

Harviestoun SchiehallionThe beer is very aromatic, gold in colour and has a decent amount of carbonation. I tried this with a meal of stuffed butternut squash, not aiming for a match so much as a contrast. With the carbonation and the very dry finish, each mouthful of beer cut through the butternut squash to freshen the palate. The bottle talks of grapefruits and there is a definite sense of this coming through in the bitterness of the beer.

I really liked this beer. What with this and the Freedom Organic Dark, I’m having to seriously reconsider my relationship with lagers. Yet another positive outcome from this little challenge.

Week 17 – Crouch Vale Brewer’s Gold

My attempts at a food match for this beer fell somewhat short. I was taking a bit of a punt on a Thai curry, trying to use my novice’s understanding to find something that would go with the beer from the limited choice of meals that we had available to us. I failed. It didn’t really work.

On the plus side though, this beer stands up all on its own and I happily put it to one side while I finished my curry, before savouring it in its own right afterwards.

Brewer's GoldLight golden in colour, this has a hoppy aroma and a lingering bitter aftertaste. In a good way. This was the Supreme Champion Beer of Britain at the 2005 and 2006 Great British Beer Festivals and is another enjoyable beer from Crouch Vale (along with their Essex Boys best bitter that was featured last month).

Week 18 – Camden Wheat

And so we return to wheat beers. After a fairly unsuccessful encounter back in November, I was resigned to the fact that it is just not a beer style that I like.

Camden Wheat(I should probably add at this point that the photo is not meant to be overly intimidating. It was only afterwards that I realised that I had stood the bottle under our knife rack in the kitchen to take a quick photo of it. This wasn’t taken in our weapons room or anything like that. The lighting in the weapons room is terrible for photography.)

Darker in colour than the earlier wheat beers I had tried, this retains the familiar clove and bubblegum aroma. The dry finish worked well with the risotto we were eating, but the salty-sweetness of the dish didn’t quite match up with the flavours in the beer.

As with the previous wheat beers, I am confident that these are all great examples of their type. If not, they wouldn’t have made the Independent’s top 50 list after all. But, for me, they just don’t do it and that’s a shame.

Week 19 – Thornbridge Versa

Having said that I don’t like wheat beers (and I’m sticking by that), I would concede that Versa was my favourite of the four I have tried. Cloudy and orange in appearance, it acted as a good counterpoint to a plate of fish and chips. With another dry finish this also boasts a lingering wheat taste. Fish and chips is always a great meal and, whilst I prefer a bitter, this beer wasn’t a bad accompaniment to the fattiness and flavours of the food.

And to sign off for this month, I will leave you with another vaguely aggressive beer picture.

Thornbridge VersaCheers.


5 thoughts on “A Year in Beer – January

    • Hi Anna.

      I’m trying not to be overly down on the wheat beers (I’m sure they’re good ones) but they just weren’t for me. Luckily there are lots of others that I have enjoyed; the hit rate is pretty good so far.

      • Sounds like me because I’m close to some die-hard IPA drinkers and try as I might, I just don’t like them. Good thing there is plenty of all to go around for everyone, huh? My 3 fave wheats—if you ever give it another whirl—Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat, St. Arnold’s Weedwacker and lately, White Rascal by Avery Brewing. Keep up the good blog!

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