500 Classic Brews

Below is a selection of the beers featured in the Michael Jackson book Great Beer Guide published by Dorling Kindersley. Jackson was probably the most famous writer on beer and the book captures his love of the drinks in a readable and accessible way. It also features well taken photographs of all the beers featured. Unfortunately Jackson is no longer with us, like some of the beers he recommends. However many of his articles can still be found on the beerhunter website. I've added my thoughts on the beers where I have tried them. Book Picture

Australian Beer

Burragorang Bock Beer:
Coopers Best Extra Stout: Dark stout with an incredibly tan head. Fairly bland with a burnt taste and a dry chalky finish. There is a hint of espresso and a suprising gassiness for a stout. (Score - 2)
Coopers Sparkling Ale: Gassy bottle conditioned amber ale. The taste is malty and fruity with a dry bitter finish. It has the heft of an ale in the mouth but with the fizz of a lager. Best served in hot weather. (Score - 3)
Tooheys Old Black Ale:
Full Sail Endeavour Amber Ale:
Full Sail Endeavour Amber Ale:
Malt Shovel James Squire Original Amber Ale:
Malt Shovel James Squire Original Pilsner:
Matilda Dogbolter Special Dark Lager:
Matilda Redback Original:

Austrian Beer

Mohrenbräu Schluck:
Nussdorf Old Whisky Bier: Closed Brewery
Nussdorf Sir Henry's Dry Stout: Closed Brewery
Nussdorf St. Thomas Bräu: Closed Brewery
Schloss Eggenberg Hopfen Konig Pils: Crisp golden lager with a typical pilsner hoppiness and a mild dryness. (Score - 3)
Schloss Eggenberg MacQueen's Nessie: Light red coloured smoked whisky malt lager with a dry gassy taste. The whisky comes through gently in the aroma with a light tangy, smoky finish and a carbonated tingle on the tongue. Much lighter than Adelscot and Innis & Gunn. (Score - 4)
Schloss Eggenberg Urbock 23°: Strong (9%) amber beer with a pronounced malt and alcohol edge and a banana sweetness that fades into a sour dry bitterness. More drinkable than many lagered beers of it's strength but not exceptional. (Score - 3)

Belgian Beer

Affligem Nöel Christmas Ale:
Affligem Op-Ale:
Anker Gouden Carolus: Potent amber beer with a strong spicy taste which tends to become over alcoholic in flavour after the first few mouthfuls. (Score - 2)
Bavik Kuurnse Witte:
Bavik Wit Bier:
Bavik Wittekerke:
Belle-Vue Kriek:
Boon Framboise:
Boon Gueze:
Boon Kriek Mariage Parfait:
Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet: Smooth tripel enhanced with wheat and oats. Slightly herbal, light in colour and fells a bit bottom heavy. There is a also a champagne fizz with a sweet banana taste. Pleasant but a bit too gently flavoured. (Score - 4)
Cantillon Gueuze Vigneronne: A murky pale amber beer made with mixing 2 year old lambic with white grapes. It has a tarter flavour than the Gueuze whilst retaining a dry sourness in the base. There are hints of white wine in the background with a gentle gassiness. A beer of depth and character but an acquired taste. (Score - 4)
Cantillon Gueuze-Lambic: Dry acidic beer with bundles of citrus (grapefruit?) flavour. Has an odd sweetness on the back of the tongue, but not at the front as there is little sugar. Swiftly develops a deep and balanced taste as you drink it. (Score - 5)
Cantillon Kriek Lambic: Zing, zing, zing. A fruity and sharp beer with big hits of cherry and grapefruit (or at least the distinctive Cantillon taste) followed by a deeper interesting after taste. One to enjoy slowly but a very impressive cherry beer. Also tried at 3 years old when the deeper taste had faded - still good but better when drunk young. (Score - 5)
Cantillon Rose De Gambrinus: Sour, musty cherry beer with a sharp citrus note to it. Like the gueuze it has a distinctive full taste that is disconcerting at first but grows into a fuller, balanced flavour as you continue. (Score - 4)
Chimay Chimay Blanche (Cinq Cents): Blonde gassy beer with a bitter hoppy taste.In the end it is neither fish nor fowl. (Score - 2)
Chimay Chimay Bleue (Grand Reserve): Dark and heavy beer with a strong kick and slight fruity sweetness. A slight gassy edge lightens the beer without disturbing it's rounded flavours. (Score - 4)
Cristal Alken:
De Koninck Tripel: Strong amber ale with a warm malty flavour and a creamy mouthfeel. Pleasant to drink, not overpowering and with a morish biscuit finish. (Score - 3)
De Troch Chapeau Pêche:
Domus Con Domus:
Domus Leuvendige Witte:
Dubisson Bush Ambree: "The strongest beer in Belgium". Potent, almost vinegary brew with a bitter edge and little going on. (Score - 2)
Dubisson Bush Scaldis Noel: Amber beer with elements of fruit, melting butter, dairy and gentle toffee apple in the background and maybe a hint of brandy with an alcoholic edge. 12% in strength but much nicer than Bush Ambree. (Score - 3)
Dupont Saison: Has much in common with a wheat beer in both colour and taste. Slight spiciness, mild gassiness but generally a smooth drink. (Score - 3)
Girardin Gueuze: Sharp and sour beer with a fruity note and little if any sweetness. Very impressive and very interesting. Truly one to savour. (Score - 5)
Haecht Witbier:
Heineken Hapkin: Perfumed aroma with yeast and citrus tastes and a dry chalky finish. An interesting mix but it rapidly feels flat. Apparently a Duvel copy, but it is fairly distinct. (Score - 3)
Hoegaarden Speciale: A winter version of the famous witbier with more malted barley to give a drier taste almost akin to a chalky abbey triple. The orange & corriander are still well with the citrus lingering in the finish with a pleasing warmth. The mouthfeel feels gassier than the regular Hoegaarden. (Score - 4)
Hoegaarden Witbier: The classic modern wheat beer. Light in colour and taste whilst being very cloudy. More refreshing than many of the German wheat beers with an almost floral and aromatic taste with hints of lemon. (Score - 5)
Hougaerdse DAS:
Huyghe Delerium Tremens: Pure bonkers juice. Strong 9% spicy blonde ale that chases around your brain, but not in a bad way (unless you need to do anything complicated afterwards). (Score - 4)
Huyghe Florisgarden Wit:
InBev Ginder Ale:
InBev Horse Ale:
InBev Leffe Radieuse:
InBev Vieux Temps:
John Martin Timmermanns Kriek: Very heady cherry lambic with the cherry flavour being being very dominant and quite, but not overpoweringly, sweet. The gassiness balances it but the lambic base is hard to taste. (Score - 3)
L'Abbaye des Rocs Blanche des Honnelles:
Lefebvre Saison 1900:
Leuvendige Witte:
Liefmans Cuvee Brut: Oak aged beer flavoured with cherries. A solid kriek with a good mix of fruity sweetness and a sour base. (Score - 4)
Liefmans Glühkriek: Served warm as a festive beer it is sugary and fruity with the feel of a mulled wine. Very different from a regular beer but a good winter warmer or an accompaniment to decorating a tree. (Score - 4)
Liefmans Goudenband: Sour dark beer with a cherry finish. There is a bitter edge and a rounded fruitiness. Very good, but not quite up there Rodenbach Grand Cru. (Score - 4)
Lindemanns Cuvée René:
Lindemanns Framboise:
Lindemanns Tea Beer:
Mater Wit Bier:
Moortgat Duvel: Straw coloured strong ale (8.5%) that floats like a butterfly on the palate whilst still packing a hefty taste. (Score - 5)
Mort Subite Kriek: Very, very sweet kriek. A very slight sourness at the end balances it slightly but it's a bit like a squash. Still easy to drink though. (Score - 3)
Orval Orval: Strong and sharp with elements of opal fruits, apples and bananas. When clear (without sediment) it has elements of bubblegum. Slightly spicy and creamy as well. May benefit from time to mature in the bottle. (Score - 4)
Palm Rodenbach: Strange. An oak aged beer with a sweet edge that has a massive cherry aroma that overpowers the intial taste before chiming with the sour cherry taste in finish. Unexpected at first but tasty after you have adjusted. A blend of the Grand Cru and younger beers. The Grand Cru is definitely finer. (Score - 4)
Palm Rodenbach Grand Cru: A superb example of a strident beer. A syrupy sweetness competes with a taste of sour cherries whilst a gentle gassiness lifts the taste and a deep oaky base grounds it. Aged for 24 months in oak barrels and well worth the wait. (Score - 5)
Palm Speciale: Sweetly wheaty 5% beer. Very smooth with a gentle froth. Nice easy drinking. (Score - 4)
Pater Lieven Blond:
Pauwel Kwak: Amber beer with a large head, especially when served in it's fancy mini yard of ale glass. The faint orange aroma is overtaken by a gassy, malty hoppy taste with a hint of sour orange in the finish. The brewers were keen on the sugar but despite being a bit dry it is pleasant enough. (Score - 3)
Petrus Oud Bruin: Top fermented beer aged in oak barrels for 2 years. Dark stewed fruits (raisins and cherries) and quite sour. Fairly fizzy but overall it is well balanced with a roasted malt finish. Very easy drinking for a dark beer. (Score - 4)
Petrus Speciale:
Petrus Tripel:
Rodenbach Alexander: Retired
Roman Sloeber: A confusion of flavours with malt, hops and an alcholic edge all blurring into each other. Not bad, but would benefit from the flavours being clearer. (Score - 3)
Steendonk Brabants Witbier: Retired
Van Eecke Popperings Hommel Bier: Yeasty, citric beer with a bright gassiness. There is a caramelised strong alcoholic taste with slow building hops. (Score - 3)
Van Honsebrouck Bacchus Kriek: Moderately sweet kriek with a rounded cherry taste. Light and refreshing and much like Liefmaans. Could have more depth and bite. Sampled on draught. (Score - 4)
Van Honsebrouck Kasteel Bier:
Vapeur Saison de Pipaix:
Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne: Onion marmalade and cherries in a beer that has a slight gueuze edge to it. Very fruity and a bit of a winter beer. Has a bit of balsamic vinegar to it. A classic flanders ale which has barley malt and is matured in oak casks for 18 months. (Score - 5)
Verhaeghe Echte Kriek:
Verhaeghe Vichtenaar: Oak aged beer with an amber colour and a quickly fading head. Very tart flavour with a sweet cherry edge and a woody base. Not as regal as the duchesse but still fairly noble. (Score - 4)
Westmalle Dubbel: Smooth dark beer with a surprisingly gentle taste for it's strength when served chilled. Warmer, it has a gentle fizz and a subtle flavour like a typical dubbel tasted from a distance. There is a spiciness that comes through on draft that makes it a truly heavenly 5 star brew. (Score - 4)
Westmalle Tripel: Heavy blonde ale with a deep bitterness. Like fighting through a deep fog. Not to my taste. (Score - 2)
Westvleteren 8: Earthy dark beer with a velvety coffee and liquorice taste balanced by a gentle bitterness. It tastes to it's best when not over chilled. Deeper and more bitter than the sweeter, complex 12, it has the heft of a stout but is smoother and more subtle. (Score - 5)
Westvleteren Blond: Cloudy blond beer with a wheaty and hoppy taste balanced by a bitter crispness. Gentle and very drinkable. (Score - 4)

Czech Beer

Budejovice Budvar: Dry, hoppy lager with a gentle malty aftertaste. Perfectly drinkable but a little on the thin side. (Score - 3)
Gambrinus Bile:
Gambrinus Pilsner:
Gambrinus Purkmistr:
SAB Miller Pilsner Urquell: Smooth Amber/orange coloured pilsner with a steadily building hoppy aftertaste. It is not as rounded as it should be leaving it feeling somewhat thin and timid. (Score - 2)
InBev Staropramen Dark:

Danish Beer

Carlsberg 47:
Carlsberg Gamle:
Carlsberg Gammel Porter:
Ceres Dansk Dortmunder:

French Beer

Castelain Ch'ti Brune: Smooth dark beer with a gentle fruity caramel aftertaste. Very pleasing in a unchallenging way. (Score - 4)
Duyck Jenlain Ambree: Strong (7.5% abv) top fermented beer made with 3 types of hops grown in the Alsace. The taste is reminiscent of a dark, malty, Czech lager and is very, very nice. (Score - 5)
Heineken Kylian:
Jeanne d'Arc Ambre des Flandres:
Jeanne d'Arc Belzebuth:
Jeanne d'Arc Grain d'Orge:
La Choulette Ambrée: Malty dark amber beer with more bitterness than most French beers. Has a slight taste hovering on top and a gentle background carbonation. (Score - 3)
La Choulette Bière des Sans Culottes:
La Choulette Framboise:
Pelforth Amberley:
Pelforth George Killian's:
Saint Sylvestre 3 Monts: Straw coloured strong ale with a frothy head. Smooth with a restrained alcoholic hoppy flavour and a bready mouthfeel. A potent beer that feels like a warm summer evening in the French countryside. A sipping beer. (Score - 4)

Irish Beer

Beamish Irish Stout:
Guinness Extra Stout:
Kilkenny Irish Beer:
Macardles Traditional Ale:
Murphys Irish Stout: Only has a light bitterness with a bright citrus hop being more prevalent. Light but fairly creamy. (Score - 3)
Smithwicks Ale:

Italian Beer

Heineken Moretti La Rossa:
Isaac Birra Bianca:
SAB Miller Peroni Gran Riserva: Light amber ale with an alcoholic edge and a slight maltiness. The aftertaste becomes quite dry and bitter. Not bad but somewhat uninspiring. (Score - 3)

Mexican Beer

Moctezuma Noche Buena:

Welsh Beer

Brains IPA:
Brains SA:
Crown Buckley Brown Ale: