Order Of Merit: Beers 9 to 16

To completement the main beer list I wanted to write a bit more on some of my favourite beers. A top 10 seemed too limiting and a top 50 seemed to lack discrimination so in the end I have settled on an Order Of Merit. Therefore you find here 24 beers, listed in alphabeticaly order, that I believe have shown distinguished service in bars across the world. Think of it as my ideal mixed case.

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Beer 9:
Jennings - Sneck Lifter

The Lake District is a great place for taking long walks out onto the hills before heading into a pub in the early evening for a well deserved pint. Most likely the pub you walk into will be owned by the Jennings Brewery who appear to have a strong grip on local drinking houses. Thankfully the quality of their beers are uniformly high. The Cumberland Ale is a nice easy drink but the pick is Sneck Lifter, a superb potent dark ale with coffee and chocolate notes

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Beer 10:
Koningshoeven - Le Trappe Blonde

The only trappist brewer outside of Belgium, the Dutch Onze Lieve Vrouw van Koningshoeven in Berkel-Enschot, Holland lost their trappist status for a while due to close links with a commericial brewer that the abbey felt were needed to assist the aging monks. With that dispute now resolved the beers proudly bear the trappist label again. Their blond, which is the monks table beer is a gassy, blonde beer with a smooth but full bodied taste with a hint of spices. Very potent but with a subtle blend of flavours.

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Beer 11:
Little Creatures - Pale Ale

Say "Australian Beer" to an Englishman and you'll probably here them mention Foster and XXXX. An Australian is more likely to mention Victoria Bitter, Carlton Cold or Tooheys. In both cases it is a great shame that this microbrewery that only opened in the year 2000 is unlikely to get a mention, but that may yet change. Little Creatures Pale Ale is a fresh, full and fruity beer that is exceptionally good.

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Beer 12:
Meantime - Pilsner

Meantime are a London based microbrewery founded in 1999 who brew pretty much every type of beer under the sun. From traditional London Porters to Coffee Beer and Bock they look at the historical roots of a drink and then try to see how they can do something different with it. Early on they produced a range of beers for other brewers, including Greene King's 'Beer To Dine For'. They now release a wide range of award winning beers under their own name. Their Pilsner is a smooth and almost creamy tasting lager that holds it's head and has a very full taste and a slight gassy crispness. Slips down wonderfully well.

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Beer 13:
Melbourn Bros - Apricot

A well balanced spontaneously fermented beer with whole apricots added that balances it's fruit and beer flavours beautifully. However this beer doesn't come from Brussels, in comes from Stamford, a small town in Lincolnshire in England and in the early part of the 20th century it brewed Steam Beer. Now it solely does fruit beer, but it does it very well.

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Beer 14:
Moortgat - Duvel Rood

Duvel is one of those beers that has defined it's place in the market. All big blonde Belgian beers now either aspire to be like Duvel or conciously trying to be different - none can really be claim to be unaware of it. It is a traw coloured strong ale (8.5%) that floats like a butterfly on the palate whilst still packing a hefty taste and as such makes a worthy benchmark to an entire class of beer. It also taste good if you add a shot of the French bitters Amer Picon to create what is known as a Torpille.

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Beer 15:
Moortgat - Maredsous 8 Bruin

Creamy dubbel with a slightly dry, bitter hoppy taste that drifts into a hint of fruit in the aftertaste. A strong beer with full flavours that are never overpowering and retain their subtlety.

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Beer 16:
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. For those seeking a more traditional lager, the brewers Speciale beer is also highly recommended. For those who like the Grand Cru the Verhaeghe breweries Duchesse de Bourgogne is also worth trying.

Order Of Merit: Beers 1 to 8

Order Of Merit: Beers 17 to 24