OK, just a quick post, as promised to wrap up the fascinating results of Ratebeer's annual beer survey.
Looking at the different beer styles, it's clear to see that US beers dominate across a lot of the categories. This is the case with English Style Pale and Bitters where 2 of the top 4 are American. Thankfully, 2 of my favourites feature in the top 10 also: Citra and Taipan, both from Oakham.
Some familiar names pop up near the top of various charts e.g. Ayinger Celebrator is top of the Bocks, Stone scoop the 3rd and 10th best IPAs, with Founders taking the top 2 Stout positions. The Belgian Strong list is crammed full of familiar names like Chimay, Westvleteren and Rochefort, whilst the appearance of Orval at number 3 on the Belgian Session list, is two spots too low as far as I'm concerned.
Of course, for most of the style categories, we have little chance of seeing the winners in Birmingham (based on current form), however we are pretty well served for Belgians, between Stirchley Wines and Post Office Vaults, so things are moving in the right direction.
Finally, a glance at the list of the World's best beer bars is enough to make you dig out your passport. Top spots feature in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, Rome and Prague - all within reach of budget airlines. Unfortunately for the UK there are only two venues which make the cut: CASK Pub and Kitchen and Craft Beer Co - both in London and both owned by the same company. These are certainly two fantastic venues, but sadly for Birmingham, our representative on the list, The Wellington disappears, after making the cut in 2011 and 2010. This is a bit of a downer, but is probably not a real reflection on the Welly, just that the levels are constantly rising and that a beer bar has to go even further now, to stand out from the crowd.
On the lookout for obscure facts? How's this for you: I have on top of my fridge a bottle of Canada's 49th best beer Charlevoix Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout. Fascinating eh?