Wednesday, 11 May 2011

ShortList Magazine's Top 20 Beers


You may have seen ShortList magazine on your travels. It is a free weekly magazine that's usually thrust into your hand at the entrance of mainline train stations as you scuttle busily to and from work. Failing that, you are more than likely to find a discarded copy on the train as it fights for floor and seat space with another free sheet, the Metro Daily newspaper.

In essence it's a lifestyle magazine that is 'For men with more than one thing on their minds'. The adverts that ShortList carries tell you all about it's target audience - There are usually ads for high performance cars, upmarket men's grooming products, smart phones, trendy designer labels and  high end shops like Selfridges.

What has all this to do with beer?, I hear you ask.

Well, the 12th May edition of ShortList contains a feature entitled '20 Beers you probably haven't met yet' that contains the selection of five people who are pretty much in the loop when it comes to beery knowledge and taste. The five are Pete Brown (author of Hops and Glory), Jon Howard (organiser of the Great British Beer Festival), Tony Lennon of the Euston Tap, Charlie McVeigh owner of the Draft House pubs and Head beer buyer for Waitrose, Pierpaolo Petrassi. It is perhaps indicative of the growing popularity of Real Ale and 'Craft' Beer that a lifestyle magazine such as this should run a feature and compile a best of beer list in their publication.

For me, it also indicates the near seismic shift in how beer is now being perceived and how it is now, dare I say it in a hushed whisper, becoming rather trendy and fashionable. Beer is being accepted, enjoyed and loved by growing number of people.

Witness the expansion of craft beer pubs that are popping up all over the UK and doing spectacular business - The Southampton Arms, The Jolly Butchers, The Grove, Dean Swift, Port Street Beer House, The growing BrewDog Bar empire, Pivni, Mason Taylor, The Rake and the Sheffield and Euston taps among many, many others. And lets not forget the Real Ale pubs dishing up an exciting array of well made and beautifully kept cask beers.  A change in tastes and preferences is clearly taking place and it is all rather exciting.

This list is numbered but I don't think that it is in order of preference. It is as follows -

Hophead by Dark Star

Badger Golden Champion by Hall and Woodhouse

Budvar Yeast

Bernard Unfiltered by Bernard

London Pale Ale by Meantime

Texas Ranger Barrel Aged by Mikkeller

Ola Dubh 40 by Harviestoun

Camden Pale Ale by Camden Town Brewery

Hooky Dark by Hook Norton

Crop Circle by Hop Back

Organic Best Bitter by St Peter's

Old Ruby Ale by Duchy Originals

India Pale Ale by Goose Island

Kipling by Thornbridge

Abbot Ale by Greene King

Manchester Bitter by Marble

Artisan Gold by Bowland Brewery

Hefeweizen by West Brewery

Doppelmalz by Schremser

Punk IPA by BrewDog

As you can see it is a pretty eclectic list of UK and Foreign, Cask, Keg and Bottled beer and underscores the great choice and variety available out there. You can't argue with the vast majority of it, Abbot Ale aside. Some I haven't tried and can't pass comment but the good thing is that it is only the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of other beers out there to try and enjoy.

It's a great time to be a beer drinker.

You can read the article in shortlist


  1. A good time indeed. I think I may be in a minority where Camden Pale Ale is concerned as I find it to be really rather bland and tasteless, pretty much keg at it's worst (and I like a lot of keg beers). This is in contrast to their cask beers, particularly Inner City Green which is pretty much the best thing I've tasted in years. But everyone else seems to like the Pale Ale so maybe I'm missing something.

  2. @steve f

    In terms of Camden beers, I prefer the Pompous Red over the pale ale.

  3. Yeah, I heard a lot of very positive things about the Pompous Red, but I never got round to trying it unfortunately. There seems to be quite a lot of the Inner City Green floating around at the moment (well, they have it at the Southampton and the Tap) so I'm a happy man. Their porter was pretty good too.

  4. It's a good list of beers! Nice to see two unfiltered lagers on there, plus a couple of barrel-aged beers, alongside the more classic British beers. And it's great to see beer getting featured in ShortList!