Been a few months since I did this, so let's get into it without any delay.
3rd Place - Theakston "Old Peculier"
I haven’t seen this one around before, which is odd considering it’s over 100 years old.
No mistaking that it’s an English old ale. Rich, roasty malt flavours with a background of spice and fruit. It holds a good middle ground of flavour for an old ale, not being overpowering in any particular characteristic and, as a result, drinks really well.
2nd Place - Sierra Nevada 011 Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale
A fresh hop ale made each autumn when hops are at their ripest, once for the northern hemisphere and once for the southern hemisphere. This is the latter, brewing up a shipment of hops from New Zealand sent to California craft beer meganaut, Sierra Nevada.
Not surprisingly, it’s packed with floral, oily hops with a good structure of fruit and bitterness. It drinks super well and has an excellent depth of flavour.
1st Place - Eric Bordelet Poire Granit
This week’s beer of the week isn’t actually a beer. Eric Bordelet is one of the finest producers of cider in the world and they don’t come any better than his incredible pear cider. Unlike nearly every other pear cider on the market, this actually tastes like pears. Pears with the skin on and smelling of the tree. Sweet, crisp, earthy and well-rounded; a cider of supreme flavour and balance.
It’s not cheap (around $40-50 for a 750ml bottle), but trust me when I say that it’s worth it. It’s a classy as hell drop with outstanding balance. It’s great on it’s own or with food. It shines with the obvious pairings like apple-based desserts and cheese, but is also great with pork, some fish dishes, salty or fried food and appetisers. Not that it’s much of a secret; I’ve had it paired with dishes in some excellent restaurants like Melbourne’s Attica (where I first had it) and Cumulus, and Barcelona’s Comcerc24.
He also makes a pretty mean calvados that is worth checking out.