Inspired by Boak And Bailey (who were themselves inspired by Fuggled), here are, in no particular order, the top ten beers I've tried for the first time in 2008.
1. Rodenbach Foederbier - The sourest Flanders red out there. If you like Rodenbach Grand Cru, you'll love Foederbier. Tasted at Het Waterhuis in Gent.
2. Westvleteren 12 - the Holy Grail. Rich malt and dark fruit. A little hot when I sampled it at In De Vrede outside the abbey but still damn good.
3. Westvleteren Blond - Totally underrated little brother of the 12 and the 8. Crisp, sweet and hoppy at the cafe. Really excellent, at least fresh at the abbey.
4. 2000 Boon Oude Gueze Marriage Parfait - I've had this beer before but this aged bottle from the cellars of the Kulminator was divine.
5. Bell's Double Cream Stout - Huge but smooth, a unique and delicious double stout.
6. Saint Somewhere Saison Athene - Relatively new brewery in Florida. A shockingly tasty and complex saison...from Florida which makes it even more shocking.
7. J.W. Lees Harvest Ale Lagavulin 2001 - I have never been able to get my head around the various incarnations of Harvest Ale but at the 10th anniversary of The Brickstore Pub there was a 7 year old vintage that had been aged in Lagavulin whisky casks. My eyes were opened. Looking forward to trying more Harvest Ale in the future.
8. Sam Adams Longshot Weizenbock - One of the winning homebrews from the Samuel Adams Longshot competition. This was one of the winners and falls under the category of "well crafted in every way".
9. Weyerbacher Heresey - Weyerbacher Old Heathen is one of my favorite imperial stouts and Heresey is that beer aged in oak barrels that were used to make Kentucky bourbon. Typically not a fan of oak aged stouts but this one hit the spot.
10. Mikkeller Stateside IPA - A Danish brewery doing an American style IPA. Juicy, bitter and delicious.