Lots of good beers this month, but only two really stand out, and they were both bottles drunk at home.
First up was a Derail Ale from the recently discovered Box Steam Brewery, in Holt. A very nice IPA, but as with so many, the hoppiness outweighed the paleness, but this is the right way round to do it. Whilst I am a bit of a stickler for having my IPAs pale, it is far more important to stuff them full of hops, even though they no longer have to survive long sea journeys. Hops are what IPAs are all about, and this one is loaded with them, which makes for a very nice IPA indeed.
It might have been a worthy winner in another month, but this month it came up against 1698 from Shepherd Neame, an excellent “old ale”, also full of hops, mixed in with malty and caramel flavours. From the pictures they look quite similar, but this one just had the edge this month. Apart from the “Classic Collection IPA”, this is the best Shepherd Neame beer that I’ve ever had. A well deserved win for this hoppy winner.