After the year we’ve all endured, we deserve a very merry Christmas and a hoppy new year. As such, Celebrate:MK editor and craft beer enthusiast Jon Boyle picks out his top 10 beers to ensure you’re smiling from ear to beer.
Janet Jackson lied. The best things in life are not free. Craft beer is of course the best thing in life, and it’s pretty damn expensive.
But I’m not here to expose the character flaws of Michael Jackson’s little sister, or to reveal that I could have funded the government’s botched Track and Trace system with the money I’ve spent at MK Biergarten (pictured) recently.
I’m here to share with you the key to hoppiness over the Christmas and new year period, plus several other bad beer puns.
Here are my top 10 craft beers for 2021. Hoppy holidays, MK!
1) VERDANT BLOOM IPA
Being an eternal hoptimist, I have dreamed of a beer like this ever since I compiled my last top 10 two years ago. Overflowing with juicy columbus and mosaic hops, think of blueberry muffins with a hint of caramel.
It’s 6.5% and comes in large 440ml cans of goodness. Who said size doesn’t matter?
2) MIKKELLER BLOW OUT IPA
Cure your ale-ments from this miserable year with this magnificent beverage, which you can buy from M&S.
It’s 6%, refreshing, and the big citrus flavour will blow you away.
3) BRIXTON ATLANTIC APA
Don’t worry beer happy, thanks to to this exotic American pale ale brewed in sunny Brixton, it’s 5.4% and the extra pale malt keeps it crisp for hops to rule.
4) VERDANT HEADBAND
I don’t beer-lieve it, Verdant Brewery have done it again. The Cornish kings have a sweet habit of cooking up juicy, hoppy, unfiltered beers, and this 5.5% pale ale is delicious. Their beers are vegan too, if that’s your thing.
5) LOST COSMONAUTS DDH IPA
Brewed by North Brewing Co, founders of the first craft beer bar in the UK, the taste of this 6% double dry hopped IPA made me smile from ear to beer. Available in Tesco.
6) SCAFELL NEW ENGLAND IPA
Brewed with a high volume of oats and wheat to create a full, thick mouthfeel, this 6.5% New England IPA from Northern Monk is brewtiful.
It contains the classic hop combination of citra, simcoe and mosaic for masses of tropical flavours.
Available in 440ml cans in Tesco, the price has a northern feel to it too.
7) CHIEFTAIN IRISH PALE ALE
Only the Irish could brew a pale ale that is actually dark brown. But this 5.5% beer from Franciscan Well Brewery in Cork is the perfect pick for a cold winter’s night.
Drink it on draft at The Barge in Woolstone, in front of the open log fire.
8) MAD SQUIRRELL SUMO APA
This 4.7% APA has a fruity taste I hold beer to my heart, and it’s brewed locally in Hemel Hempstead too.
Find it on draft at All Bar One MK, or at Mad Squirrell Tap in St Albans.
9) PUPA – JUICY PALE ALE
If you like Tiny Rebel’s Clwb Tropica, then you’ll love this beer from Vibrant Forest Brewery.
This 4.5% pale ale comes in 440ml cans and provides a sweet hit of light citrus and ripe tropical fruit flavours. Available from Brewhouse and Kitchen in 12th Street, MK.
10) BREWDOG PUNK IPA
Two years ago I ludicrously advised you to pour away your cans of Punk IPA and replace them with Elvis Juice. I love Punk IPA again now and can only assume I had my beer goggles on. Soz.
So that’s the rundown of my top 10 beers for 2021 complete – it’s ale in a day’s work. We are lucky in Milton Keynes to be blessed with some great craft beer shops and bars, so pop along to start your voyage of discovery.
My personal favourites are MK Biergarten in Wolverton and Brewhouse & Kitchen at 12th Street, closely followed by Brewdog at The Hub. Stay brewtiful, folks!
Do you agree with Jon’s top 10? Do you have a beer that you would like him to review? Email Jon on firstname.lastname@example.org