My beer of the year was Marble Pint. It was totally deserving – it’s clean, hoppy, pale, so fruity and drinkable and rammed with flavour; a marvel at 3.9%. In a year where I’ve been chasing big, brutal and hoppy, this just side-stepped in and took all the glory from beers of much bigger fame, and it was also able to change my mind about ‘boring pale ales’. In truth, I would’ve happily drunk pints of Pint every single day. It’s a quality British beer, made to be drunk in the pub, brewed by a great brewery.
And it’s not just Pint that deserves praise. Earlier today I had a couple of pints of Manchester Bitter, a 4.2% pale bitter, fruity hops, delicious body, bitter but not too-bitter, juicy, gluggable. The word ‘Bitter’ has come to stand as a negative thing. It’s one of those old-style English beers, murky brown in colour, autumn fruit flavour, dry hoppy finish... It’s a classic style but one which, in its frequent incarnation, drags English beer back a peg or two from where it deserves to be. Manchester Bitter raises the bar on what a Bitter is. I just hope others follow it.
Beyond these there’s Dobber; Marble Pint plus a bit more - big bitterness, loads of fruity hops, so clean and fantastic. There’s Ginger, a fruity-spicy ale rich with the fresh ginger and tongue-tinglingly good. Chocolate Marble is a quality, full-flavoured stout. Then there’s Decadence and Special, two 750ml champagne-corked and wax-sealed bottles; one imperial stout, one barley wine.
BrewDog were my Brewery of the Year for 2009. More than anyone else they’ve kicked the arse of British beer and pushed it forward. For the quality of the beer, BrewDog also stand up to their media hype, and that’s very important. Part of why they are my brewery of the year is their social media presence, which cannot be denied or overlooked – they use and exploit it to their benefit better than anyone else (but the beer still stands up to it). If I were to stick my neck out then I’d say that Marble are the British brewery to look out for in 2010. They won’t be as loud and obnoxious as BrewDog but they will make a lot of incredible beer. I know for sure that I’ll be watching them and trying to drink their beers as often as possible. I hope that a new brewery will mean more beer and more availability. I also hope they bottle some more of their specials. Remember Marble. Drink them as often as you can. Taste just how good British beer can be in 2010.