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Three Bad ‘Uns from Leatherbritches

Leatherbritches Brewery is based in Smisby in Derbyshire. They moved there from near the sadly now defunct Green Man and Black’s Head pub in Ashbourne (of which more in a later rant) in 2011. Leatherbritches Bad 'Uns small These three bottles were all bought in a shop in Ashbourne, and are attractively labelled with images of fictional Rotters. Leatherbritches Cad small Let’s start with Leatherbritches Cad. I’m sure I should know the face that looks out from the label, I know the other two, but I’m afraid I don’t recognize this one. If you can enlighten me, please leave a comment below. (See comment below!) Cad is a 4.0% brown ale, perhaps a best bitter. On the face of it, this is a fairly straightforward beer. There are bags of dry malt to start with followed by a hoppy finish. You have to dig a bit for the subtler tastes. There’s a touch of toffee in there, and the more you get down the glass, the more prominent becomes the roasted flavour in the malt. The malt certainly dominates here. The beer is drinkable and good, but perhaps lacks a bit of excitement. Leatherbritches Bounder small Leatherbritches Bounder sports an image of Terry-Thomas playing… well, just about every character he ever played. The label describes this beer as a ‘Premium Extra Pale Ale’. I hate that word ‘premium’ as used by brewers. It’s just a noise, it means nothing. All it does is fill a small space on the label. The rest is accurate enough, this is a very pale beer. It’s lively and pours with a foamy off-white head. The taste is smooth, floral and fruity with a tiny hint of cream and a nice dry bitter finish. Although the same ABV, 4.0%, I found that Bounder is better than Cad, definitely. Leatherbritches Scoundrel small Leatherbritches Scoundrel has the late massive boozer Oliver Reed on its label. Ollie is seen here in his younger days when he was indeed a dashing and handsome fellow. Here he appears in his role of Bill Sykes in Oliver!, the musical adaptation of Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist. The beer is described on the label as a ‘Premium (oh dear) Dark Ale’. Yes, it’s dark, pouring an attractive deep red colour. It’s just a tad stronger than the other two at 4.1%. The head is a little thin, but that means little. The first impression is that this beer is quite sweet. There’s clear roasted malt, too with a slight hint of treacle, or possibly caramel. Nice and drinkable, but again, it lacks a certain excitement. I wouldn’t condemn any of these beers, in fact I would say that they are all pretty good, but if pressed to make a choice, I would plump for Bounder over the other two.

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Posted by on 29 November, 2013 in Bottled Beer

 

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Derby Beer Festival

It happened again to me this summer. This keeps happening to me and I swear it’s not deliberate. It’s early July, and I’m sitting in our luxurious accommodation near Carsington Water in Derbyshire. I’m perusing the pages of the Good Beer Guide.

“What are you checking?” asks Lady Alebagger from across the table.
“I’m just looking at where we should go this evening,” I reply, barely looking up.
“Well,” she says, innocently, “Maybe we should go into Derby.”
Derby’s a few miles away, but certainly not beyond the range of our chauffeur. I look up at her and she pushes a local CAMRA mag across the table at me. I look down at the page she’s indicating. There it reads “36th Derby CAMRA City Charter Beer Festival.”

Derby BF 4

The Derby Beer Festival! One of the biggest of the year! And it’s on tonight! And we’re within striking distance!

All right, enough with the exclamation marks. It’s true though, it is one of the biggest of the year, and I didn’t even know that it was on whilst we were in the area.

We decided to spend the afternoon and evening in Derby, looking round the city and then meandering, as if by chance, into the festival. During the afternoon, we happened to look in the city’s cathedral. It’s quite new by cathedral standards. If you’re used to the great mediaeval aircraft-hangars, then Derby will come as something of a surprise. The oldest part of the building, the tower, was built only in 1510 – 1530. The body of the church is a 1725 rebuild, and it only became a cathedral in 1927. The original foundation of the church dates back to AD 943, but no trace of that building remains. By accident, Lady A and I got invited onto a tour of the tower itself, and were witness to the huge musical box (the ‘carillon’) playing one of its daily tunes at 6 o’clock. I only mention this because of the coincidence that the beer festival this year was in honour of the tercentenary of John Whitehurst, clockmaker and polymath, who installed the carillon’s predecessor in 1745.

The Derby Beer Festival normally takes place in the Main Hall of the Assembly Rooms, but this year, renovations forced the festival into other rooms. Within the Assembly Rooms, there were bars in the foyer and in the Darwin Suite upstairs, along with a City Bar at the top of the stairs outside the Darwin Suite. Dominating the festival however, was the huge marquee which filled the Market Place outside. This was surrounded by temporary fencing, keeping the non-drinking public away from the fun.

The Marquee

The Marquee

We found our way to the gap in the fence, and flashing my bendy silver plastic membership card, I paid the pittance charged to CAMRA members and waltzed in. Seating was at a premium on the Market Place; there was none inside the marquee and what there was outside was the smoking area. Eventually, we squished up on two seats round a table. This wasn’t to last, though, and we soon made our way inside to the Darwin Suite where there was plenty of seating available.

Darwin Suite bar

Darwin Suite bar

The line-up of beers was impressive; 282 ales from over 100 breweries, 32 continental and foreign beers and 41 ciders and perries.

With a selection like that, there are bound to be a few duffers. I guess Lady Luck wasn’t with me that night. I got a fair few of them, and only three would I have been happy to have again on that night. Most of the others were perfectly drinkable, but not exceptional. One or two were awful. Unfortunately, the superb Brass Castle Bad Kitty, which I last sampled at the York Beer Festival in 2011 was not on, despite promises from the programme. Cursing my luck, I tried for the beer which had (for me) the name of the festival – Comrade Bill Bartram’s Egalitarian Anti-Imperialist Soviet Stout, only to find that wasn’t on either.

This happened to me a few times, the end result being that I got to sample very few of the beers that I actually wanted, and ended up just taking a stab at whatever was in a nearby barrel. Despite this, I enjoyed the festival a great deal. There was plenty of room, the live music was in the marquee which meant that you weren’t deafened by it (nothing ruins a beer festival like overloud music you can’t get away from – when will organizers learn this?). The staff were enthusiastic and friendly, and there was a great buzz about the whole affair.

Stillage behind the bar in the Darwin Suite

Stillage behind the bar in the Darwin Suite

My beer of the festival was Grainstore The Nip, a 7.3% old ale. It’s a dark orange in colour, sweet with a strong spirituous overtaste. Raisins and fruit abound and overall it’s very warming, like a barley wine. The finish is especially warm and spicy. Lovely stuff.

The other high scorers were Harthill Dark Hart Festival Reserve and Leatherbritches Game Over. Dark Hart is described as an 18th century style porter, and packs a respectable wallop at 6.5%. It’s chewy and tastes quite strong. Smooth with fruity and coffee notes, sweet in the midtaste, where you can detect a slight toffee hint, and there’s a dark coffee finish. Throughout is an alcoholic overtaste that reminds you of the ABV.

Game Over is a dark mild, though strong for type at 5.0%. It’s very smooth and rich, mainly fruity but with nice toffee hints.

Derby BF 2

I would draw two other beers to your attention – both are worthy of a try. Firstly Spire Sergeant Pepper Stout. There’s a smell like frankfurters to this 5.3% stout. The taste is strong and black pepper is in evidence. There’s a bitter finish laced with treacle (or possibly liquorice). Secondly, Dancing Duck Abduction is worth a go if you see it. It has an interesting taste, strongish flavour and a gentle mouthfeel. There are plenty of hops, giving a real smack.

If I happen to be in the vicinity of Derby at a future date when the festival is on (and stranger things have happened) then I would have no hesitation in going back for another crack. I would recommend you to do the same.

Alebagger at Derby2

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Posted by on 30 October, 2013 in Beer Festivals, Cask Ale

 

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Two Caribbean Stouts

For this part of my exploration of all things beery, I’m heading off to distant, warmer climes.
Specifically, the Caribbean islands of Jamaica and Barbados. As you know, I like to do these things
by increasing ABV, so we’ll start with Stallion Stout from Barbados.

Banks Stallion Stout small

Stallion is brewed by Banks Brewery in St Michael, Barbados (no relation to our own Banks’s
Brewery). Banks is best known for its most popular brew, the intriguingly named ‘Beer’. They also
brew other beers under their own name, Amber Ale, Milk Stout and the non-alcoholic Tiger Malt.
Banks is also the Barbadian producer of Guinness.

Stallion Stout is a new kid on the block, only having been brewed since late 2010. It’s not
desperately strong for a stout at a fairly easy-drinking 5%. It pours quite black with a light
brown head. The flavour is immediately sweet, with lactic tones that suggest milk stout. There is
lots of sweet malt in here, with clear coffee and chocolate notes. There are also, unusually, hints
of toast. There’s no getting away from it – this is very nice.

Island-hopping now, we move on to Jamaica, where a far more established stout is produced by
Jamaica’s well-known Red Stripe, a label owned by Desnoes & Geddes Brewery. Desnoes & Geddes
Brewery is also the local producer of Smirnoff Ice, Guinness (again) and Heineken. I refuse to
comment.

Red Stripe Dragon Stout small

Desnoes & Geddes started producing Dragon Stout in 1920, just two years after the company was
formed by the merging of two shops. Rather heftier than its newer Barbadian sibling, Dragon Stout
packs a meaty 7.5% ABV. Again, and unsurprisingly, the beer pours black with a thin dark brown head
that clears very quickly after the pour. The taste is strong, sweet and fruity with chocolate
notes. There is a touch of spirituous overtones, and the finish is marked by a slight earthiness.
Overall, this is a nicely complex stout, and worth checking out if you see it on the shelves.

Both these stouts come in half pint (284 ml) bottles, disappointingly small, perhaps. There are
similarities between them – both are sweet, maybe an unfamiliar flavour for most drinkers of
British stouts. Both are worth trying though, as both are interesting variants on the type, and to
be quite honest, both are very enjoyable.

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Posted by on 4 September, 2013 in Beer Styles, Bottled Beer

 

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Five Bottled Beers from Tatton Brewery

Tatton Brewery Logo

Tatton Brewery Logo

Tatton Brewery is based in Knutsford, and started brewing in 2010. They produce four regular beers along with seasonals and occasionals. The four regulars are Ale (3.7%), Blonde (4.0%), Best (4.2%) and Gold (4.8%). Their logo (above) takes us back into the depths of brewing history and depicts a couple of Mesopotamians sharing a pot of ale.

Although I’ve had some of the regulars on tap, I’m going to be discussing the bottled beers here, only one of which is a regular. As usual, I’ll review them in order of increasing strength.

Tatton White Queen small

First up is the spring seasonal, White Queen. ‘Naturally cloudy’ reads the label, ‘a whiter shade of pale’. White Queen is a white Belgian wheat beer, flavoured with coriander, orange peel and cardamom. Cardamom? Aren’t those the horrid little pod things you pick out of your curry? The beer is indeed cloudy, and a pale yellow in colour. The taste is initially sweet, followed by spiciness. The flavours I got were cloves and a hint of cinnamon. Perhaps not what should be expected from the ingredients list. Nevertheless, this is a very drinkable beer, refreshing and enjoyable.

Tatton Ruck & Maul 2 small

Tatton Ruck and Maul is a 4.3% porter, very dark red, almost black. The label reads ‘Porter – Dark but not All Black’. I’m getting hints of a rugby theme here, but I’m no aficionado. This beer pours with a thin head that quickly dissipates. The mouthfeel is smooth and chewy, the taste has treacle, chocolate and coffee and is generally quite dry. Complex and very good – I probably prefer this to the White Queen.

Tatton Yeti small

Yeti is a seasonal winter ale, weighing in at 4.5%. ‘Stomp out the chill’ suggests the label. Indeed, Yeti is a fine beer to do just that. It pours a deep orange / reddish / copperish colour (pick your favourite). Rich warm maltiness with a distinct hoppy bitter edge and finish. The malt is smooth, almost to the point of being chocolatey. This is excellent beer, and highly recommended.

Tatton Gold small

Slightly stronger is our next offering, one of Tatton’s regular range, disappointingly called ‘Gold‘. As regular readers will know, I have a big beef with boring, dull, uninspiring golden ales. This ennui normally sets in with the beer name which is almost invariably ‘Blah Gold’ or ‘Golden Meh’. Fortunately, the first sip of the boringly-named Tatton Gold is a bit of a wake-up call. The name may be insipid, but the beer certainly isn’t. Floral, hoppy and somewhat dry, it’s like a boring golden ale but with a Tatton twist which makes it really very much better. Extraordinarily good.

Tatton Obscure small

Finally in this roundup, I reach Tatton Obscure, which has already been discussed on this blog (see here) but it’s just so damned good it deserves a revisit. Obscure is considerably stronger than the other Tatton beers reviewed here at 5.7% The label reads ‘Not your obvious beer’, and that’s very true. It is a beautiful deep red colour, and in the glass just looks as pretty as a very pretty thing. On tasting, I first noticed very strong dark hops. Malt floods through, also strong, giving it a dark chocolate taste with clear notes of burnt caramel and treacle. Absolutely outstanding beer.

Tasting my way through these bottled beers from Tatton has been an enjoyable experience. Not one failed to excite my tastebuds in one way or another. I’d happily drink any of them any day.

www.tattonbrewery.co.uk

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Posted by on 27 August, 2013 in Bottled Beer, Breweries

 

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The Salford City Reds Beer Festival

The Salford City Reds Beer Festival. Never heard of it? No, neither had I until I was told about it by one of the volunteers working there.

‘Salford City Reds’ is a rugby team. It used to be called simply ‘Salford’, but apparently rugby teams now have to have daft American-style names invoking a fierce animal or something. Salford thought long and hard and came up with the colour of their shirts. I would have preferred to see some sort of existential protest to the imposition of silly names, ‘Salford City Greens’, maybe, or ‘Part of Manchester Giraffes’, but that’s just me. It doesn’t affect the beer festival in any way, I’m just filling up space here.

Nice sunny concourse, but not exactly packed

Nice sunny concourse, but not exactly packed

It wasn’t just you and I who hadn’t heard of the festival either. Apparently we were in the vast majority, judging by the very low attendance that I observed on the 8th June when I was there. Immediately before going to the festival, we had been visiting friends who live a mile or so from the venue (Salford City Reds’ stadium, beside the M60 Manchester ring road). They had plans for the afternoon and were unable to attend the festival, but had they known anything about it, they would have attended. They live on a quiet side street, and although they had heard nothing about the beer festival just over a mile from their door, on the lamp-post outside their house was an advert for another beer festival – this one in Mottram, nearly 25 miles away. It’s all the more shame because they have two young children, and the Salford festival deliberately set out to be child-friendly.

I think the problems started with the Salford City Reds’ web page, where the beer festival was announced. I don’t know who wrote the piece, but what impression does “There will also be a wine bar for those with more refined tastes” give?

What the hell does “more refined tastes” mean? That people who drink beer do NOT have refined taste? The wine is (obviously) better than beer? That people who drink wine are better than people who drink beer? Leaving aside the incredible crassness of believing that wine is more ‘refined’ than beer, what does this say about the attitude of the hosts towards their prospective clients? It is stupid, prejudicial and insulting. Nice start.

I noticed that the Greater Manchester Ale News website subtly changed the official line, stating that there would be “a wine bar for those looking for a break from the ale.”

The day was sunny and hot, and the festival was being held in a room that opened up onto a wide concourse, allowing drinkers to sit in the sun and enjoy the heat. If you didn’t want to sit in the sun, there was seating elsewhere inside. I didn’t go searching, but I was told that it was available.

The bar. Well laid-out but deserted

The bar. Well laid-out but deserted

The bar took up one long side of the festival room. There were about 60 ales available. Quite ambitious for a start-up festival. The emphasis was very heavily on light, pale-coloured ales, though there were a few dark ales available. The festival was sponsored by Robinson’s, Stockport’s major brewer. I applaud them for that, but did we really need twelve Robinson’s beers on the bar, most of which were indistinguishable from each other in their blandness?

The heat was obviously causing some problems with the beer, and one of my favourites, Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild, was quite vinegar, and it had only been delivered the day before.

Other beers fared better though, and there were some good ones. Here are three that I particularly enjoyed:

Burscough Sutler’s IPA, a proper-strength IPA at 5.5%, this is strong and flavoursome. It is bitter with great hints of pithy grapefruit and bags of hops.

Front Row Collapsed, another real IPA, with an ABV of 5.6%, this has quite a strong taste – smooth, hoppy and good.

Privateer Dark Revenge, a 4.5% dark mild, full-bodied with heaps of dark malty flavour.

We were approached by one of the organisers, who asked if we were CAMRA members as he really wanted the opinions of people familiar with real ale and real ale festivals. He was clearly disappointed by the poor turnout. Whilst we were there, the attendance probably didn’t top fifty people. That was on a gloriously sunny Saturday afternoon. I mentioned that nobody seemed to have heard of the festival, to which he replied that 500 leaflets had been delivered to nearby houses. I could hardly believe that when he said it. 500? Was he expecting every single person who got a leaflet to come along and bring one or two friends? If that happened then maybe he would have got the numbers they really needed, but the return from a leaflet drop very rarely reaches 1%. So if he was lucky, the 500 leaflets would have generated 5 customers. He was clearly keen for the festival to be repeated in the future, but with such low attendance, I can’t imagine that it made a profit. Much beer will have been wasted.

That’s a pity, because the venue is good, the volunteers were very good, the organisation was also generally good, and clearly a great deal of work had gone into the preparation of the festival. If the Salford City Reds Beer Festival is to have a future, and I genuinely hope that it is, then massive publicity will be necessary, not 500 leaflets.

Oh yes, and sack the clown who wrote the article on the website.

Nice day for it

Nice day for it

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Posted by on 27 July, 2013 in Beer Festivals

 

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Innis & Gunn Bottled Beer

Innis & Gunn Bottles small

I have for a long time been a fan of Innis & Gunn Original, so recently, when I found a stockpile of different Innis & Gunn beers in a local supermarket, I decided that it would be a good idea to try them all out.

Firstly, I wanted to find something out about the brewer, so turned to my trusty Good Beer Guide. Astonished, I discovered that Innis & Gunn do not brew their own beer, but subcontract that lowly task to Tennent’s. A range of bottled beers is produced, but as far as I can see, none of them ever make it into a cask.

The regularly produced beers are ‘Oak Aged Beer’, ‘Original’, ‘Blonde’ and ‘Rum Cask’, or so it states in the GBG. Frankly, I find that rather confusing, as I have only ever seen one I&G label that does not have ‘Oak Aged Beer’ on it. That was I&G Blonde, which has ‘Lightly Oaked Beer’ on its label. So what is meant by ‘Oak Aged Beer’ in the GBG list? I don’t know, I can only assume that they got the information from I&G themselves.

Be that as it may, I tried out five I&G bottles, and will review them, as ever, in order of increasing ABV.

Innis & Gun Blonde small

The lightest of these beers is 6.0% Blonde. These beers are heavy-duty, and not to be trifled with! Blonde is a light yellow in colour. It has a fresh, fruity smell and is exceptionally smooth. It is very full-bodied, fruity and sweet with sweet vanilla overtones. There is a distinct spirituous overtaste. Excellent.

Innis & Gunn Original small

Next is Original, a little stronger at 6.6%. A lovely golden colour and beautifully smooth, Original has quite a bready aroma and taste. There is the characteristic sweet vanilla and subtle hints of oak from the barrels that it is matured in. There is a slight hint of whisky in the aftertaste. Quite exceptional.

The remaining three beers are all brewed to the same strength, a meaty 7.4%.

Innis & Gunn Rum Finish small

Rum Finish is, as its name suggests, matured in rum barrels. The colour is a deep ruby and on at least one occasion, the head behaved very curiously. It didn’t last after pouring, but then regrew afterwards. I had to try this with another bottle, but this time the head behaved quite normally. Bizarre. Like Original, this beer has a sweet, bready smell. The taste is a sweet toffee malt. There is fruit, a little spiciness, hints of vanilla and an alcoholic zing throughout.

Innis & Gunn Spiced Rum Finish small

Spiced Rum is a darkish orange. With the now familiar bready aroma, this beer is quite extraordinary. Finished as it is over oak infused with spiced Caribbean rum, the rum flavour is very evident, along with vanilla and toffee. It is smooth and utterly delicious.

Innis & Gunn Winter Treacle Porter 2 small

Finally, I sampled a Winter Treacle Porter, a seasonal special, I presume. The flavour here is much like Original, but noticeably stronger and with quite an alcoholic overtaste. It is sweet and treacly, so the beer is not misnamed, and there is an engaging dryness.

Overall, then, I found these beers to be exceptionally good. There is a unique set of flavours that instantly identifies every one of these beers as an Innis & Gunn, but beyond that, each one is different, and each one is utterly superb. I recommend all of them to you.

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Posted by on 4 June, 2013 in Bottled Beer

 

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The Dulcimer Real Ale Festival

Every once in a while, I like to go on a little pub crawl. Not necessarily a huge three-day affair like my epic trip round Sheffield, but just a gentle afternoon amble, taking in three or four pubs that are not too far apart.

My most recent such foray was prompted by a beer festival held at a pub called The Dulcimer in Chorlton-cum-Hardy in Manchester. I’d never heard of the Dulcimer before. I found that it was not listed in this year’s Good Beer Guide, but that does not mean it’s a bad pub, or even that it’s not excellent. There’s a lot of local politics in what goes into the GBG. Browsing the GBG, though, I did notice that it had several entries within easy walking distance of the Dulcimer. It seemed an excellent opportunity for an easy pub stroll.

So it was that on a miraculously mild Saturday in early May, a day nestled between the Never-Ending-Winter and the Never-Starting-Spring of 2013, my mate and I were dropped off on Chorlton’s Wilbraham Road by Lady Alebagger, who was going that way anyway. Wilbraham Road is the main east-west artery through Chorlton, and is a moderately busy thoroughfare.

Dulcimer Ext

The Dulcimer sits at the western end of Wilbraham Road, and was festooned with a brightly coloured banner advertising the beery delights of their real ale festival. We walked in and checked out the beers available on the bar. There was something wrong here, surely? The handpumps were there, but not in great number – is this the beer festival? Are we in the right place? Hoping inspiration would strike, we took off our coats and sat at a table to consider our options.

Within a few seconds, inspiration did strike, in the form of Otto Rhoden, a man who seems to live at beer festivals. After the obligatory back-slapping effusive greetings, Otto said “Festival bar’s upstairs, lads,” Ah! We wandered upstairs to the upper bar, in a long room with windows at the far end overlooking Wilbraham Road. The bar here looked far more promising. This bar positively bristled with wickets, each with an intriguing pump clip attached.

Dulcimer Int 1

I started with a Wild Beer Stalker. Now I know that most people will start with the weaker beers and work their way up to the stronger offerings, but  my problem is that I don’t read the pump clips properly, and so began the afternoon with a 7.0% strong ale. But, wow! What a start! Stalker is dark orange in colour, very smooth and creamy. It is sweet with a mild malty undertaste and a slightly hoppy finish. The whole taste is mild and gentle and washed over with a swell of butterscotch. It is an exceptional beer, and dangerously drinkable. ’7%? No way!’ you will cry as you stagger out of the pub.

My second jar was Buxton Dark Nights at 5.0%, described on the pump clip as a ‘US style porter’. So I knew what to expect. Masses of hops, and that is what I got right from the first tentative sniff. The taste starts smoothly maltily and is followed quickly by a strong hoppiness. I’d be happier calling this a black IPA than a porter. Of course, I’m not really happy with the phrase ‘black IPA’, either. It’s self-contradictory. It’s not an IPA, it’s not a porter. It is what it is, and it is very good.

Thinking now would be a good time to move to a lighter beer, so I opted for a Moor Revival, a pale ale with a modest 3.6% ABV. It’s pale yellow and a little bit hazy. The taste is bright and hoppy with clear notes of grapefruit pith and a touch of elderflower. Nicely bitter and lip-smackingly good.

Next was a golden ale and despite my misgivings about many golden ales (see here), this was brewed by Thornbridge, so it had to be worth a punt. Thronbridge Lumford is a palish yellow beer that weighs in at 3.9%. I’m sorry to report that my issues with golden ales were raised again by this offering. It has a slightly odd flavour that I can’t quite place. Otto thought it was lemon. He may be right. Average.

Dulcimer Int 2

Back to the stronger brews, next was Hardknott Azimuth, a strongish, orange-yellow ale with an above average ABV of 5.8%. This is more like it! Dark malt blended with a quite strong hoppiness, rich in texture and flavour. Splendid.

I had to double-check the ABV of the next beer. 2.8%? Is that right? Yep, 2.8%. I somewhat unenthusiastically agreed to a half. Kernel Table Beer is a perfectly decent orange colour, and I prepared myself for a rather taste-free experience as I sipped. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Table Beer is wonderfully hoppy, the hops being quite sharp and up-front. Full of flavour, this is astonishing for a 2.8% beer. I do hope this starts a trend. Lower alcohol beer means lower tax, and is a driver-friendly alternative. Kudos to Kernel for a great beer.

Having been a little disappointed with the Thornbridge Lumford, I was determined to recover Thornbridge’s reputation in my own eyes. Fortunately, another beer on offer allowed me to do that. Thornbridge Seaforth is a strong ale (5.9%) with a warm orange colour. There was a slight whiff of sweaty socks about this beer, but only very slight. The mouthfeel is pretty smooth, and the flavour is well-rounded with some nice fruitiness. Good.

With Thornbridge back in its rightful place, I chose my final beer for this festival. I decided on Blackedge Stout. Blackedge brewery is in Horwich, pretty local to me, so I feel a strange sort of parochial patriotism when I see one of their beers on a bar. I’d not had their stout before, so was keen to try it. It proved to be a fine way to finish. The ABV is 4.5, spot on for a stout, and the colour is black, likewise. The mouthfeel is smooth, as it should be, with well-balanced roasted malt flavours. Excellent, I’ll be looking out for this one.

With that we were done at the Dulcimer, and prepared to leave for a short pub stroll before going home. We had been very impressed with the pub and its staff. All the bar staff were knowledgable and friendly. Beer served with a smile always tastes better. I cannot for the life of me imagine why this excellent watering hole is not listed in the Good Beer Guide. I will be returning to the Dulcimer.

On to another couple of pubs now, but that must wait for another day.

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Posted by on 28 May, 2013 in Beer Festivals, Pubs

 

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