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Monday, 15 March 2010

Best beer in the World.........NOT!

This discussion has been going on for a VERY long time. Probably since they first started making beer. Which one of the thousands of choices out there is actually the 'best'. I would like to argue that there isnt one and even if there is, it certainly isnt what we all think it is. Recently a wonderful beer called Pliny the Younger from Russian River took over the title of 'Worlds best beer' on some beer review sites. Usually this place is reserved for Westvleteren 12 and on BeerAdvocate.com it still reigns as the best.

Ive had Westy and to be quite honest it was good. Very good indeed. Nevertheless, it just can't be the best beer in the world. Im not sure that anything can be really. Beer is such a fickle thing; mood, place, temperature, how its kept, glassware. So much can change the feel, taste and overall experience of a beer. I don't want to sound like Im reading off the back of a commercial lager bottle too much, but a lot of it does come down to the overall experience of the beer. Maybe for some people Westvleteren is the best they have ever had. Maybe thats because of its rarity, its reputation or maybe it is the taste. For a lot of people it could be that they try it in Belgium, near the brewery or in a backstreet pub somewhere. This of course will add to the whole experience and the allure of the beer. Drink a bottle of Westy in a Wetherspoons in the centre of a British city on a warm saturday afternoon with a game of football between Aberdeen and Dundee United and its unlikey to gain the same praise. I know that the same can be said for any drink but to me when it comes to beers like Westvleteren it might be more about the allure than anything.

Another point I have to make on 'the best beer in the world' is that surely we cannot group beer together when we talk about it being 'the best'. Sure I'd be happy enough with someone saying 'The best stout I have ever had was.........' but I just do not think you can really compare that with a Belgian quad or an American IPA. The different styles of beer are so very different and I dont think that it is really fair to try to compare them. If I were to try and compare Hardcore IPA from BrewDog and Rosé de Gambrinus from Cantillon I would be a nutter. They are just so different that I dont really think it does any beer a favour to try to put them in a table.

Sure Ive got a list of beers that I like and lots of them are totally different from the next. I honestly do not think I could put them into a top 10 list though, its just not fair on the brewers that work hard to make them so great. Fair enough if I only ever drink Lambic for the rest of my days but I can't see that happening anytime soon. I really wish that people would stop attaching so much importance to these lists. I see them for what they are, a little bit of fun. I honestly do not think anyone will ever make 'The Best Beer in the World'

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