Whilst it’s generally quite nice to feature beers that all have something in common each week (however tenuous the link may be…), the downside is that it can make it difficult to discuss some of my personal favourites as they don’t quite ‘fit the bill’ so to speak. So with that in mind I’ve thrown caution to the wind and plumped for some beers that have nothing whatsoever to do with each other in the slightest – save that I just really like them; I guess it’s like my very own beer version of ‘Desert Island Discs’.

Tempest ‘Little White Cloud – Gooseberry Edition’ Session Pale Ale


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As you may have guessed, this is a lighter version of Tempest’s ‘Long White Cloud’ pale ale, made with a whopping 300kg of Scottish gooseberries to tart it up a bit. New Zealand hops in the shape of Nelson Sauvin and Kohatu (hence the name; the Maori word New Zealand means ‘land of the long white cloud’) bring characteristic fruity notes that are compounded by a great hit of fresh, sharp gooseberry that makes this a really light and refreshing tipple. My dad’s always asking my ideas for what to do with his gooseberry crop and I think the guys at Tempest are on to a winner!

Wild Beer Co. ‘Raconteur 3yr old’


This is just cracking. Technically a barley wine, the original Raconteur was aged in Marc de Bourgogne casks and had strong red fruit, wood and wine characteristics. This version is the very same brew that has been further aged for 3 years in Somerset Cider Brandy barrels, and the difference is phenomenal. Rich caramel, toasted oak with definite apple flavours from the West Country’s finest combine to make this taste like a grown up toffee apple. At 9.9% it’s definitely on the stronger end of the spectrum, but with rich flavours like this you’ll want to take your time over it.

De Molen/Omnipollo ‘Sitis’ Pineapple Imperial IPA


Another great offering that packs quite a punch is this collaboration from De Molen and Omnipollo breweries. I’ve always been a fan of a collab; ‘two heads are better than one’ etc, and De Molen specifically state this as one of their four core values as brewers – good on them, I say! Aromas of grassy hop notes with citrus and sharp tropical fruits are present on the palate too, alongside the promised pineapple flavours and a nice bitterness on the finish. ‘A multi grain IPA conditioned with a whole load of pineapple’? Almost sounds healthy…although at 8.5% I’d maybe keep it off the breakfast table for now…

Fierce Beer ‘Very Berry Sour’


Ok, let’s dial down the abv a bit a take a look at something so fruity you maybe could have it for breakfast. Fierce Beer’s range of fruit beers are all good, but this is my runaway favourite being chock full of ripe and juicy raspberries and blackcurrants. It pours a beautiful reddish purple colour that belies its fruit forward style with loads of crisp and tangy berry freshness sitting on top of a classic sour style beer with good acidity and a hint of the farmyard about it that helps you imagine as though you’d literally just picked and brewed it yourself.

North Brewing/Ilkley ‘Bonaparte’ Dry Hopped Berliner Weiss


I first tried Berliner Weiss whilst actually in Berlin - in Prater, where they sell it as a basic sour with a dash of questionably luminescent fruit syrup to sweeten it up. However by dry-hopping this particular beer there’s no need as grassy, floral hops impart a wonderfully fragrant note with just a hint of pineapple and pine resin. Napolean Bonaparte’s troops apparently called Berliner Weiss the ‘champagne of the north’ and it certainly is a sharp and dry glass of fizz…I wonder if this is what he meant when saying that ‘in victory you deserve champagne, in defeat you need it’? It’s certainly one to keep the troops happy at any rate.