Beer: Top glass
Of all the bars in all the world - here's what's best to drink
Saturday 02 August 1997
Having done the job myself often enough, I am sure there will be heartfelt, rigorous arguments before a winner is agreed. The victor is likely to be a beer with all those attributes shaped into an emphatic character of its own. The winner will be announced at the opening of the campaign's week-long Great British Beer Festival at Olympia, London. Having systematically sampled beers for more than 20 years, I have my own list of current favourites, not just British but from all over the world.
Ten great British draught beers
Light Bitter: Summer Lightning, superbly fragrant and quenching. A relative newcomer, gradually establishing itself as a classic. From the Hop Back brewery of Salisbury, Wiltshire.
Bitter: Brakspear's, of Henley. For a moreish hoppiness, deriving from the most English of varieties, Fuggles and Goldings.
Strong Bitter: Fuller's Extra Special Bitter, from London. For its power of malt and hop.
Pale Ale: Marston's Pedigree, from Burton-upon-Trent, Britain's brewing capital. For its complexity, of flavours and especially its fruitiness. Perfect with English lamb.
Dark Mild: Highgate, from Walsall, in the West Midlands. For its smooth malt and iron flavours. A restorative brew. Narrowly ahead of neighbour Banks's.
Old Ale: Old Peculier, from Theakston's, of Masham, Yorkshire. For its satisfying richness of malt and fruit.
Yorkshire Ale: Black Sheep, also from Masham. For the soothing roundness created by fermentation in stone squares.
Scottish Ale: Merman, from Caledonian, of Edinburgh. An astonishingly malty, sustaining, ale.
Welsh Ale: Brain's Dark, from Cardiff. Low in alcohol, relatively full in body. Full of toasty flavours. A breakfast beer?
Barley Wine: Norman's Conquest (7.0 per cent), from the Cottage Brewery, of West Lydford, Somerset. Peppery, spicy, perfumy and warming. Try it with a strong Cheddar.
Ten great British bottled brews
Pale Ale 1: Worthington White Shield, from Burton. Yes, you can still get it... and the yeast sediment is good for you.
Pale Ale 2: King and Barnes' Festive, from Horsham, Sussex. An almost herbal-tasting ale from a brewery that specialises in bottle-matured brews.
Strong ale 1: Young's Special London Ale (6.4 per cent). For its appetising aromatic hoppiness.
Strong Ale 2: Lees' Harvest Ale (11.5 per cent). The creamiest of Manchester.
Old Ale 1: The winey Strong Suffolk, from Greene King, of Bury St Edmund's. Try it with pickled herrings.
Old Ale 2: Gale's Prize Old Ale, from Horndean, Hampshire. The beer world's answer to a Calvados.
Barley Wine: Thomas Hardy's Ale, from Dorchester. Lay it down for five years. The beer world's answer to an Oloroso sherry.
Stout 1: Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, from Tadcaster, Yorkshire. As smooth as it gets.
Stout 2: Courage's Imperial Russian Stout. Liquid Christmas pudding.
Scottish Ale: Traquair House, from the castle of the same name, in the borders. A warming, oaky, earthy, classic.
Ten great imported brews (not lagers) (The first six are from Belgium)
Fruit beer: Rose de Gambrinus, a tart raspberry brew based on a wild- yeast lambic.
Spiced wheat beer: The coriander-ish Hoegaarden.
Sour beer: The oak-aged Rodenbach, the world's most refreshing beer.
Day Trappist: The magnificently bitter Orval, the ultimate aperitif.
Sweet Trappist: The port-like Chimay Grand Reserve.
Golden Ale: Duvel. Looks like a golden lager, tastes like a pear brandy.
Dark Wheat Beer: Aventinus, from Germany. Liquid toffee-apples.
Strong biere de Garde: Trois Monts (8.5), a winey brew from France.
Stout: Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (7.5), from Dublin. A classic version.
Ale: Anchor Liberty: A hoppy, Martini-like brew from the United States.
Ten great lagers
Pilsner Urquell: The hoppy original, from the city of Pilsen, in the Czech Republic.
Budwar: A maltier golden lager from the inspirational city of Budweis, also in the Czech Republic.
Samichlaus: A super-strong (14 per cent) reddish-brown lager from Switzerland.
Paulaner Salvator: A famous dark-brown lager from Bavaria, at a mighty 7.5 per cent.
Schlenkerla Rauchbier: Another Bavarian dark lager, in which the malts are smoked over beechwood.
Kostritzer Schwarzbier: A "black" lager, tasting of bitter chocolate, from the former East Germany.
Bitburger: An elegantly hoppy Pilsener-type from the Rhineland.
Jever: An abrasively hoppy Pilsener-type from German Friesland (Also as Marks and Spencer's own-brand Original Pilsener).
St Christoffel Blond: A Dutch golden lager that is a hoppy classic.
Brooklyn Lager: A muscular, bronze lager from New York.
The Great British Beer Festival runs at Olympia, London, (01727-867201) from Tue 5 Aug; 11.30am-3pm and 5pm-10.30pm Wednesday and Thursday, 11.30am- 10.30pm Friday, 11am-7pm Saturday. Price pounds 4
Life & Style blogs
NHS hospitals told not to fill vacancies as cash crisis bites
Porn block in India: hundreds of sexual websites banned, internet outraged
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
Phone batteries can be used to spy on their owners and track them around the internet
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
- 1 Sabrina Corgatelli: US hunting tourist posts picture of herself with dead giraffe after Cecil the lion outrage
- 2 Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
- 3 A-level results 2015: UK exam board OCR admits it 'estimates' hundreds of pupils' grades after papers 'go missing'
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks traffic on Dublin road
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Their research appears at the f...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...