I am constantly looking for new beers to try. You could argue I've become a bit of a ticker as when I started to write about beer I began a quest to complete a journey around the breweries of the UK by trying a pint of beer from each (at a pub or beer festival). I am convinced this is going to be an impossible task but it won't stop me trying. After year one I had completed over 10% of the breweries and after year two I had reached over 20%. When the Good Beer Guide came out last year the number fell to nearer 18% and that is of course the problem. The number of breweries is expanding all the time as others fall by the way side. My total is now at about 26% so I'm heading in the right direction although reaching 30% by the time the next Good Beer Guide is launched is looking unlikely. What I don't include are half pints which of course leaves me with a dilemma at beer festivals. What I tend to do is have a pint where I see a brewery that I think may be hard to find elsewhere and halves of others. I have now begun a similar task with bottled beers but that's another story altogether and is still in the early stages.
One major problem with this obsession is that I will often go into a pub and see a favourite beer alongside something totally unfamiliar and of course I try a pint of the unfamiliar. This can be particularly tiresome when the beer I choose turns out to be crap. There is the flipside of course and I may discover another new favourite but you may wonder what is the point in discovering a new wonderful beer when the chances of drinking it again is not always that high. However, to try and redress the balance a little I have introduced 'treat night'. Last Friday was the first and I chose one of my all-time favourite beers, Bede's Chalice from the Durham Brewery. A 9.0% ABV Belgian tripel that I find to be even better than most of the tripels that come out of Belgium and certainly the best I have discovered from any UK brewer. I have reviewed this beer in the past which you can read here if you so wish. It is certainly a treat.
Tonight I have lined up a couple of beers from London brewer Weird Beard. One of these is a beer I haven't tried before, a 6.5% ABV tart grapefruit IPA called You Taste Better When You Are Scared which must go down as one of the longest beer names I can remember. This will be followed by Hit The Lights, a 5.8% ABV mixed up IPA featuring Anglo/Euro hops that is one of my favourite bottled beers ever which is unusual in that it has none of my preferred US hops.
So there you go. To all you tickers out there, treat yourself now and again to something you know will hit the spot. It's something I will be doing more of.