Beer styles are a funny thing. We need style definitions so that we can describe a beer and categorise it, and even to have beer competitions, but slavish adherence to style just stifles innovation and fossilises beer. So it is great to see that a beer that confounds style descriptions can still be critically acclaimed.
As Critics’ Choice Editor-at-large Pete Mitcham said of Hargreaves Hill ESB:
“Is it an English Special Bitter? Or is it an American style pale ale in disguise? Beer lovers will debate the details but no one will deny this is a beautiful beer to drink. Flavoursome and bitter and hoppy and sessionable. Just as good from the bottle or the keg.”
The brewery itself describes the beer as a “new world” interpretation of the classic English style.
“This ale features considerable crystal malt character, as a backbone to carry the hefty bitterness. Substantially dry hopped with carefully selected hops from either the US, NZ, or Australia (currently Nelson Sauvin from NZ), this adds aromatic and flavour notes of ripe passionfruit.”
However described and wherever consumed this one seems to be a beer that meets with favour all round…
Want to try the best of the Critics’s Choice beers? The Local Taphouse will be tapping the top ten at midday on 1 April at both venues. Apart from trying some great beers, you could win a copy of this terrific new book.
The Critics’ Choice: Australia’s Best Beers
Available from bookstores & newsagents from April 1, 2011
We’re giving readers a chance to win one of four copies of The Critics Choice: Australia’s Best Beers. Just tell us in the comments below which beer you think should be the choice for Australia’s best beer. Winners will be chosen at random from the comments.