Drinking beer by numbers….and Beer No 100

Unfortunately this post may have come a bit too late for the first third of my beer challenge but it has come just in time for Beer No 100 (more later). If anything, this post may help others who want to take up the 365 challenge and are as geeky as me when it comes to beers (and many other things). The ‘drinking beer by numbers’ idea came from a friend, Simon Clay (comic fan and fellow geek, why didn’t I think of it?!?!) who stated slightly too late that I should drink beers with numbers in their names in the correct number order in the 365 beer challenge i.e XT3 by XT brewery should be drunk as beer No 3. That got me to thinking, what beers could I have drunk at the right number positions? Are there any beers that I can drink with numbers that would fit the rest of the challenge?

Turns out that there are quite a few beer names with numbers in that could be drunk between numbers 1 and 9. Somewhat spoilt for choice with these lower numbers. My first mention goes to XT brewery, based in Long Crendon (near Thame, Buckinghamshire). They produce a range of beers from XT1 all the way up to XT9.


XT1 is a blonde beer and XT9 is a porter with the other XT numbers pertaining to the beer categories in between from Golden ales to IPAs to rich rubys to dark malts.  What better way to drink the beers that you like! You know exactly what type of beer you are getting from the number. I think this is the ultimate drinking by numbers. I experienced the full choice of all these beers this time last year when we went to the XT Beer Festival at the Lamb and Flag (with Carol and Andy, regular drinking partners). All 9 beers were available to choose from including an XT Fresh Hop 1. I didn’t try all 9 but, if memory serves me correctly, I tried at 4 or 5. This year so far I have only had XT3.

WP_001459My second mention goes to Otley Brewery, based in Pontypridd, Wales. Otley Brewery have a similar offering to XT Brewery where they have named some of their beers from O1 to O6. But in this case the increase in number does not relate to an increase in colour like the XT beers and most of the beers also have a name. I tried O4 columbo at the recent beer festival I went to at the Royal Blenheim celebrating Welsh Beers.

Brew by numbers

My last main mention goes to Brew By Numbers (BBNo). A new brewery in London that I have not heard too much about. They have a Facebook page and the website is under construction. They have a number of beers available which include o1: saison, 02: Golden ale, 03: porter, 04: Berlinner weisse, 06: belgian blonde, 07: witbier, 09: brown ale, 10: coffee porter and 13: Brett aged. The labels on the bottles that I have seen have two numbers. I can only speculate that the first number relates to the type of beer and the second number relates to the batch number. I am looking forward to trying some of these. I am pretty sure I saw some bottles in the fridge behind the bar at the Craft Beer Co in Clerkenwell. I wonder if they do takeaways?

I have also found a few other beers with numbers which are: Ramsgate Brewery’s Gadds No 3 Premium Pale Ale, Gadds No 5 Best Bitter Ale and Gadds No 7 Pale Bitter Ale, Williams Bros Brewery’s Seven Giraffes and Magic 8 Ball by Magic Rock Brewing Co.

The higher numbers, between 10 and 100, this is where it starts to get more difficult. There is only a few to be found. If we take a look at XT Brewery again, they have done a number of specials over the last year with higher numbers. These are: XT13, a pacific red ale which I have had this year (a very nice red ale), XT25, which I had over christmas, XT42, a stronger version of XT4, XT53, a pale ale made for the Jubilee celebrations last year and XT80.


In my search for new beers to try I have come across only a few other beers with high numbers. These are: Ringwood’s Fortyniner, Ramsgate Brewery’s Gadds 80 Shilling, Williams Bros’ 80 shilling Scottish ale and Odell Brewing Co’s 90 shilling ale. One beer that I have tried very recently at Beer No 74 (25 beers to early) was 99 Red Baboons by Blue Monkey Brewery. I really like the name (they also have a beer called ‘Tie a Yellow Gibbon’) and the flavour of the beer. A dark ruby beer that is neither a porter or a mild and has a fruity, malty taste.

So this brings me onto Beer No 100, the beer that I have just finished on Conchi’s birthday (I thought it a fitting way to celebrate both milestones). The only beer that I have managed to drink at the right number, well sort of. I say ‘sort of’ because the beer does not have a number in the title. The beer in question is Centurion’s Ghost Ale by York Brewery. The idea behind drinking this beer as Beer No 100 being that Centurion relates to 100 because Roman Centurion’s commanded 100 men. Although according to Wikipedia they only commanded 60-80 men, I am going to ignore this and go with the 100 men misconception. Centurion after all is based on the latin for century (100 years). So in the 365 challenge I am 100 beers down, 71 days in and 265 more beers to go.

As for the question, are there any beers that I can drink with numbers that would fit the rest of the challenge? I have found only one beer so far, a black IPA by Windsor and Eton called Conqueror 1075. Maybe I could drink this beer at No 1075 in three years time! Any beer suggestions for numbers 101 to 365 will be gratefully received.

Four score and seven beers ago


“Four score and seven beers ago, I, Richard Gardner , Beer for the Year, set forth on a most excellent adventure. Conceived by my friend and colleague, Simon Peel, this great gentleman was dedicated to give me the proposition, which was true today as it was true two months ago, to drink 365 excellent beers in 365 days…..be excellent to each other…..and…..party on dudes!”

Ok, not quite Abraham Lincoln, and more like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (I do love that film), I have had the idea for the title of this post in my mind for sometime now, almost since the start of the year. Most people would probably do a review after a milestone such as 100 beers (most people would not be doing a 365 beer challenge) but I thought it would be a good time, at 87 beers (it just so happens to coincide with the two month mark), to look back over the last two months and produce some more beer related statistics.

Beer No 87 came in the middle of a beer festival (no 2 of the year), that I went to with Conchi, Carol and Andy (Carol and Andy are our fairly regular drinking partners), celebrating St David’s day at The Royal Blenheim. The theme, as you may have guessed, was Welsh beers. There was an excellent choice of 21 ales from 9 welsh breweries. I managed to try 5 different ones, steering clear of the pints this time and opting for half pints. My two favourites were Red Dragon and Honey Porter. Red Dragon by Great Orme Brewery was a copper coloured, fruity,zesty ale. It had an unusual taste in that it was a little sweet at the start but had a hoppy, bitter finish.  Honey Porter by Conwy Brewery was a dark brown porter with a dark roasted malt taste. It didn’t taste sweet at all, despite the honey, and had a nice smooth texture and with a slight bitterness to finish. Apparently the beer festival is going to be a annual affair, so I look forward to trying some more Welsh beers next year. Although I am sure there will be a few more Welsh beers drunk this year.

Meantime-LPA   Caesar Augustus    WP_001389

Here are the stats for the last two months, January and February (and March 1st):

Number of new beers tasted: 61/87                     70%

Number of beers tasted before: 26/87                30%

Most number of different beers in one night:     6

Number of lagers: 11.5/87                                     13%

Challenge progress: 87/365                                  24%

My favourite new beers in February were Caesar Augustus by Williams Bros Brewery, a lager/IPA hybrid that was surprisingly good, refreshing and hoppy, and London Pale Ale by Meantime Brewery, a pale ale full of hoppy, fruity, citrus flavours and bitterness. I also had the good fortune to try a new beer by my local brewery, Gunners Gold by Loose Cannon. This ale had a nice golden, yellow colour, not too bitter, with hints of peach and a very smooth taste. I may be a little biased because they are a local brewery but they always make a great beer.

So, as I finish writing this review, the first two months are over and done with and we are now slightly into the third month. I have drunk 92 different beers with only 65 days gone, almost a month ahead of the challenge, if you look at it that way.  However, I have only drunk 2 out of the 51 beers I have in the house, the lure of the pub having overridden drinking beers at home. In fact I have been beer free for the last three days! I am very close to Beer No 100 and have the beer ready that I would like to drink as No 100. This will be the subject of one of the next posts.

Beer for the Year Winter Pub Crawl 2013

Friday night saw the inaugural Beer for the Year pub crawl around Oxford. What better way, apart from a beer festival, to try a few different ales. The organisation of the pub crawl started three weeks ago with a Doodle poll to find a night that everybody could attend. I love Doodle. Doodle is a quick and easy way to set up a  poll to organise a meeting or a night out when multiple people are involved. You create a poll, email the poll link to everyone and they fill out the days and times that are good for them. For the Beer for the Year Pub Crawl Doodle poll, Friday 15th February came out as the favourite night. The route was planned meticulously right down to the times we needed to be at each pub. Some would call me OCD for this, I would call it great planning. The timings were also there so that people knew where to join us if they were running late. I like to look after everyone. There was even a quiz for people to do with questions on each pub visited. Here is the route that we followed and the times we were supposed to be in each pub.


Time in Pub          Name of Pub

6:30 pm                      The Royal Blenheim

7:10 pm                      The Crown

7:50 pm                      The Chequers

8:35 pm                       The Turf Tavern

9:20 pm                      The Kings Arms

10:05 pm                   Lamb and Flag

Answers to quiz highlighted in the text

The night started off well with just four of us (me, Conchi, Carol and Andy) in the first pub, The Royal Blenheim. There is always plenty of beers to choose from in this pub, they have 9 ale hand pumps and one ale on draught. We all had a different beer, Village Idiot and Wayland Smithy by White Horse, Titanic Stout by Titanic and Cosmic by Black Hole brewery. Mine was the Cosmic. At the allotted time, or just after as we were already running a little late, we moved onto The Crown (named so in 1625). Here we were joined by everyone else (Dave and Rebbeca, Rob, Claire, Mili and Anish). The choice of ales here was less than the Blenheim but there were still 6 ales on hand pumps. I went with the golden ale, Ossian by Inveralmond brewery. Again it was time to move on to the next pub, The Chequers. We arrived here at about 8:05 pm. Like The Crown, The Chequers is a Nicholson’s pub. There was plenty of choice on the 9 ale hand pumps, including Brakespear’s Bitter and Gold, Nicholson’s Pale Ale (brewed by St Austell) and Jaipur by Thornbridge (5.9 % golden ale). With the ales and lager and cider drunk, we left for the next pub, The Turf Tavern at about 8:55 pm. Did you know The Turf used to be called The Spotted Cow until 1847! With a choice of 11 ales on hand pumps, it was a difficult beer decision. They even had one of my favourite beers, Triple Chocoholic by Saltaire. I decided that I would have a new ale (to increase the beer count), Dionysus by Milton, and tell everyone else that Triple Chocoholic was amazing and that they should get it, then I could taste a bit of everyone else’s. I think it was even better from the pump than the bottle I had. Everybody was happy, drinking well and were still going strong. We were only running 20 minutes later than scheduled when we left The Turf for The Kings Arms. Two interesting facts about The Kings Arms, it is owned by Wadham College and if you put the name of the brewery that runs The Kings Arms, Youngs, on a scrabble board, you make 10 points. Here I had the most expensive pint I have ever had (from a choice of 12 ales, 10 ales on hand pumps), London Pale Ale by Meantime Brewery. It was good, it was nice and smooth for a Pale Ale, it came in a cool glass, it was £5! After this revelation (I had to ask the barman just in case he overcharged me for my pint and Conchi’s half pint. He hadn’t), it was onto the final pub of the evening, the Lamb and Flag. The Lamb and Flag are also owned by a college, St Johns, and have their own beer, Lamb and Flag Gold which is brewed for them by Palmers. Everybody got their final drink in for the evening and 5 minutes later final orders were called. Phew! So in the end, I think that the night went very well and was enjoyed by all. We ended up only 30 minutes behind schedule, which I don’t think is bad for moving 10 people around 5 different pubs. Everyone had been drinking a mix of beer, lager and cider in each different pub and everyone made it round all the pubs (apart from the first one). One last matter has to be decided, who won the quiz. Well that honour goes to Conchi with 10 points out of 11 (Uh oh, let the accusations fly!!). Rob was second with 9 points. Carol and Andy next with 8 points. Claire was last with 4. I think that Anish and Mili got 5 points but Anish lost the quiz sheet. Muppet! (the first question I left out as not everyone was in The Royal Blenheim)