Welcome to the third in an occasional series in which I heap praise, pile on the plaudits and generally blow smoke up the arse of those beers, brewers and beery people who have, in their own way, contributed to and enriched the lives of the many, many drinkers who like a glass of something well made and very refreshing every now and again.
Today, I want to doff my cap and say a big, hearty thanks to those online beer retailers who have made it just that bit easier for the legions of good beer drinkers to get their hairy palms on some of the finest examples of quality, well made beer from not only the UK but also from the other three corners of the globe. I stay in a big city but even then I often find that the supermarkets and beer retailers around my way tend to offer a choice that is resticted, repetitive and often uninspiring.
So, thank heavens for some beer savvy folk who clearly know a cracking beer from a crap one and are committed to sharing their passion and purchases with other beer lovers. Two online retailers deserve special mention for the wide variety and eclectic selection of bottles and cans from some of the world's finest breweries.
My Brewery Tap is a cracking site that allows you to buy difficult and hard to find UK beers directly from the brewery. Their product list contains some of the best regarded and 'cutting edge' UK breweries such as Thornbridge, Oakham, Hardknott, Marble, Crouch Vale and Fyne Ales. They also have a fine selection of international beers from countries such as the USA, Germany and Australia. My Brewery Tap have also just introduced the appropriately titled 'Beer Geek Pick n Mix' that allows you to choose individual bottles from excellent UK and US brewers. Recently listed in the Beer Geek selection include beers from Mallinson's, Rogue, Smuttynose, Stone and Great Divide.
Beer Merchants is another site that has been partly responsible for opening up my beer horizons and my taste buds to some stunning Danish, Belgian and British beers. Their recent choice of Mikkeller and Kernel offerings has been very exciting and has included a wide selection of Mikkeller and almost all of Kernel's full range including their sublime Black IPA. They have a growing list of lovely American beers too.
I know I said two retailers deserve special mention but I must also squeeze in a thumbs up to Brewdog for making 2011 quite an exciting and interesting time for internet beer buying. As well as their own beer options which, in the past few months, have seen loads of their own new additions and one offs on their site including Alice Porter, IPA is Dead, Punk X, Euro Trash and Canned Punk they have also began listing some of the beers that Brewdog's Captain James Watt and Martin Dickie personally consider to be some of the finest examples of 'craft' beer available in Europe and the U.S. These include Maui's Big Swell IPA and Coconut Porter as well as beers from The Bruery, Alesmith, De Struisse, Nogne and Port Brewing Co.
So, let's praise and take our hats off to those online beer retailers who have now given us a reason never to visit a pub again.