2018 was a good beer year for us – we visited countless taprooms and craft beer bars, attended festivals in various countries and tried a frankly ridiculous amount of new brews.
Putting together a list of the Top 10 is a frivolous task but humour us – beer is meant to be fun, and we’ve had some fun reminiscing over the best brews from the last twelve months – so let’s get stuck in.
1. Northern Monk – Obelisk
Obelisk is 14.01 in Northern Monk’s Patrons Project series and it’s been our favourite so far. The first time we’ve tried a triple hopped beer – and it was just a perfectly balanced, incredibly moreish beer that had just the right amount of bitterness, juiciness and savoury notes that meant it didn’t last long, but we enjoyed it while it did.
It was more than just a beer though – it was a collaborative effort with the Hyde Park Brass Band – and it came with a scannable Spotify link uncovered by peeling back the can artwork. We loved this little Easter Egg and the effort to make the beer more of an experience. We didn’t just chug it, chuck it and forget about it, this little gem stuck with us as a fond memory all year – and it’s our beer of the year as a result.
2. Verdant – Don’t Tell Gus
Verdant are the UK’s finest purveyors of hazy, juicy bangers and this was the best of the bunch for us in 2018. Almost unheard of but we actually went back and bought a second can of this – it was *that* good.
Having just successfully crowd-funded more than a million quid (including a tenner from us!), we’re expecting big things from Verdant in 2019; hopefully including wider distribution and easier access to their beers. The world would be a better place for it.
3. Wylam – Midnight Train to Byker
Why-aye! A Geordie classic from Wylam, who are right up there with Northern Monk and Verdant for us when it comes to brewing IPAs in the UK.
This was a 10% Imperial IPA which didn’t even taste half the ABV. It was bursting full of fruit flavour, like a freshly squeezed bitter orange juice loaded full of hoppy goodness. Our favourite Wylam beer in a year where they consistently delivered stunning brews.
4. Trillium – Galaxy Cutting Tiles
This was the first Trillium beer we’d tried. It might be their worst beer for all we know but it was one of those hallelujah beer moments for us.
Absolutely loaded full of hops, with the smell and taste carrying that dank, resinous, juicy, hoppiness through to the very last sip. It was the first pour we had at MASH beer fest in Barcelona, which was also our favourite beer festival of 2018.
5. The Veil – Never Never Stop Stop
Another beer we tried at MASH beer fest in Barcelona, from another brewery whose beers rarely make it as far as our shores in the UK. An absolutely stunning beer – a thick, effervescent purple hue that looked as beautiful as it tasted.
A double boysenberry gose. Having had no idea what a boysenberry was before trying this… we now have a new favourite berry.
6. Burnt Mill x Fieldwork – Dank Mode
Suffolk-based brewers, Burnt Mill brewed this with USA’s Fieldwork – a big collaboration for a relative newcomer in the UK craft beer scene – and what a beer. Full of Mosaic and Enigma, brewed as a tribute to mid-nineties video-games.
This beer was just full of resinous, piny hops balanced with a malty backbone. It struck that sweet spot for us, ticking all the boxes.
Check out our full review of Dank Mode here.
7. Omnipollo – Pleroma
This was a late contender for beer of the year, having only tried it in the last week of December. So if you’re wondering why it’s taken us until mid-January to compile our beers of the year list… we wanted to see out the year proper before compiling our thoughts. That’s our excuse and we’re sticking to it, okay?!
Pleroma is a Raspberry Créme Brulée Sour – a real face-puckering, tart as anything, raspberry for days, explosion of flavour. Epic.
8. Trouble Brewing – The Fresh Prince of Kildare
Now this is the story all about how – my life got flipped, turned upside down – I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there – I’ll tell you about this beer of the year contender brewed in Kildare.
The only Irish beer on the list but what a great beer. A New England IPA brewed with Irish stout malt, meant that this was a hazy banger, loaded full of Simcoe and Mosaic with a quirky, underlying stout-like feel. Hard to explain but in a year dominated by NEIPAs, this one stood out from the rest.
9. Omnipollo x Tired Hands – Milkshake IPA (Raspberry)
Omnipollo’s second beer on the list, this time a collaboration with Tired Hands. Again, it’s a raspberry beer from Omnipollo that makes it into our top ten. Are Swedish raspberries especially tasty? Who knows.
This one was quite similar to Pleroma in flavour but with more carbonation and an effervescent fizz on the tongue. Like an actual taste explosion in your mouth It reminded us of the red side of Swizzel’s Double Dips… any 80s kids out there will know what we’re talkin’ about.
10. Northern Monk x DEYA x Verdant – Hop City DIPA (2018)
The final beer in our list is a second entry for both Northern Monk and Verdant. It’s no surprise really that the breweries who made our top two beers of the year managed to make another banger as part of a three-way collaboration with DEYA, is it?
This was another top-drawer DIPA brewed in the build up to 2018’s Hop City – an annual festival celebrating hop-forward beers held in Leeds each year. Roll on Hop City 2019 and more awesome beers such as this one.
Check out our full review of Hop City DIPA 2018 here.
So there you have it, our beers of the year for 2018. Have you tried the beers listed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below – and don’t forget to tell us what your favourite beers of the year were, we’re always open to great beery suggestions so hit us up!