Showing posts with label amber beer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label amber beer. Show all posts

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fuggled Review of the Year - Amber

Continuing my traipse through a year's worth of drinking brings me to the amber category, or to define it more tightly, anything darker than a pilsner but lighter than a brown ale - how's that for obfuscation? Having set out my rather liberal criteria there, here are the year's highlights:
  • Virginia - Devils Backbone Vienna Lager
  • Rest of US - Oliver Breweries' Best Bitter
  • Rest of World - Timothy Taylor Bottled Landlord


There really is no getting away from the fact that I drink a lot of Devils Backbone Vienna Lager, it is essentially my go to beer. If a pub has it on tap there is a very good chance that I will drink nothing else for the rest of the night. When I went to Baltimore and stumbled across the Union Pub in DC, it was Vienna Lager that encouraged me to stay a while. When my mate Mark and I went for our pub crawl on Saturday, it was Vienna that made me consider staying for more than a solitary pint at Trinity Irish Pub, though the pub's charms soon got to me as well. Now that it is available in bottles, you can find said bottles in my fridge fairly regularly.


Back in September I went to Baltimore with my best friend and we drank a lot of beer from Oliver Breweries, whether at the Pratt Street Ale House homebase or at the Wharf Rat. Most of the beer that I drank was Stephen Jones' simply flawless, moreish best bitter. The only sad thing with this beer is that I can't get it in Central Virginia, yet - hopefully something that will change. Failing that, I can see another weekend in Baltimore before my mate heads off on his next assignment with work. At least this time I will know exactly what I want to drink.


What can I say about Landlord that hasn't been said already? Except that whenever I see it over here and can get hold of it then it is a complete no-brainer. Simple yet complex, clean yet flavourful, bottled Landlord could easily be the finest beer ever made, anywhere on the planet.

Three beers that share a characteristic that I prize highly in the beers I drink, simplicity married with tons of flavour. Of these three my amber beer of the year, largely because of how excited I get when I have the chance to drink it, is:
  • Timothy Taylor Bottled Landlord
A classic, simple as.

The pictures for Oliver Breweries' Best Bitter and Timothy Taylor Landlord are taken from their websites respectively.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fuggled Review of the Year - Amber Beer

Perhaps the worst thing about deciding on my Amber Beer of the Year is quite simply this, where do you draw the line between an amber beer and a brown beer? In the finest traditions of Fuggled, I am just taking an arbitrary decision on a case by case basis - or to put it another way, making it up as I go along. Anyway, my overtaxed assistant is here with the envelope, and the contenders are:
  • Best Virginia Amber - Devils' Backbone Ale of Fergus
  • Best Rest of US Amber - Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • Best Rest of the World Amber - Uerige Doppelsticke
I fear I am in danger of being accused of bias toward Devils' Backbone, but what the heck, Jason is making some superb beer down in Wintergreen, and Mrs Velkyal and I have been known to make the 45 minute journey just for a couple of afternoon pints. I can honestly say that I can think of no other brewery on the planet we would do that for, add to the fact that Devils' Backbone is only place near Charlottesville that we have taken every single visitor we have had, and that should tell you something. Ale of Fergus is kind of a hybrid in some ways, a cross between a mild and a 60/- Scottish Ale, though at a highly sessionable 4.4% it would be closer to an 80/-. I have a passion for beers I can put plenty of away, whilst still finding complexity and balance in the beer. Ale of Fergus is such a beer.

Some people, for whatever daft reasons, have a downer on Samuel Adams, claiming they are too big to be a craft brewer, or some other specious nonsense. At the end of the day, they brew some decent beers, the core brands of which are near universally available - sometimes it just sounds like sour grapes. Anyway, I wrote about Boston Lager again back in the summer, whilst on holiday in Daytona Beach and the local shops had a comedically poor beer selection. This is where Boston Lager comes into its own - it is consistent, flavourful, easy drinking. Sure it might not be the sexiest, latest, uber-hopped imperial bourbon barrel aged fad de jour, but it is good beer and I find it always enjoyable.

I love altbier. From the very first drop of Schumacher Alt at a festival in Berlin I have been a devotee of this fine style. Earlier this year I picked up a bottle of Uerige Doppelsticke at Beer Run (if I were doing a pub of the year, it would be Beer Run - which I guess just became a de facto award) and what a revelation it was - smooth, sweet, boozy and simply wonderful - I went back and bought more.

Three very good beers, though obviously only one can be crowned Fuggled Amber beer of 2010, and that is:
  • Uerige Doppelsticke
An excellent example of German brewing excellence, and proof (though plenty more exists) that there is far more to German beer than Pils and hefeweizen - of course, you, good reader, already know that.

Old Friends: Joseph's Brau PLZNR

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