Pubpaper 592 – Beer Glorious Beer

Posted: 3rd February 2011 by admin in Pub Paper, Writing

How would you feel about your local MP or Councillor turning up and pulling a pint at the local. Your reactions to this would vary according to your political point of view, from a warm welcome to the pint being swiftly returned minus the glass. To mark British Tourism Week in March, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) have suggested that pubs invite their political representatives to come and pull a pint to publicise the importance that pubs have to British tourism.

The guide they provide can be pretty much summed up as ‘they will turn up to the opening of an envelope, and the local paper love to get some cheap copy’. Some might say this is cynical, however its pretty close to the truth. Personally if I knew this was happening I’d go elsewhere for the duration, and I can’t see more people visiting the premises because “Councillor Smith” pulled a pint there. They make some good points such as promoting a special beer or making your brewery a tourist destination, but on the idea above I think they are way off the mark.

Looking around the trade magazines, you find that Greene King are going to ruin the beer selection at another 12 pubs, currently part of the Cloverleaf chain. I’m sure the existing customers will just love their IPA. Thankfully none of the pubs are on our patch, but in surrounding areas.

Moving back to beer, I mentioned a while ago that Thwaites (Blackburn), one of my favourite mainstream breweries, were going to launch 13 signature brews in 2011. More details have emerged now and there are several beers which have sparked my interest on the list, some of which I mentioned before. “13 Guns” is an American style IPA (5.6%, July) with a bitter hoppy taste. Crafty Devil (4.3%, October) is a spicy beer with cinnamon and cloves, not to everyones taste, but should be an interesting beer, and Blooming Ale (5%, April) is a wheat beer, with refreshing taste (I hope it is refreshing, some more information from the brewery would have been useful here).

If you’ve not tried a wheat beer, they are pale and cloudy in colour and slightly more earthy / grainy in taste. A good one to try out first is Erdinger (Germany, 5%), which you can find in quite a few pubs locally (Ship Inn, Brighouse / The Works, Sowerby and Shoulder of Mutton, Southowram do draught and bottled respectively) and in most supermarkets bottled. They can be an acquired taste, but I find that they go down well, and keep me refreshed for an evening.

The Germans have a long history of brewing good beer, and I covered their beer purity law recently. The main names you might recognise are the aforementioned Erdinger who also do a very good “Dunken” (Dark) and my personal favourite of theirs, “Krystal” (Crystal) which is a slowly filtered clear version of Weissbier I recommended above. Bitburger, Konig Ludwig, Paulaner and Warsteiner also do a similar range of beers all to an equally good quality. These beers are available from M&M’s Specialist Off License in Hipperholme and Czerwik’s in Brighouse, as well as to a lesser extent in supermarkets.

Finally, my beer recommendations. This week, an old favourite and new beer from the same brewery, Bath Ales. Recently I’ve found I’ve copied Anakin Skywalker and been tempted to the dark side (of real ale), and “Barnstormer” has kept me on that path. A rich, slightly bitter sweet flavour which they describe as chocolaty, with a strength of 4.5%, its not too heavy on the taste buds, but leave you in no doubt you are drinking a dark ale. The second beer I have been drinking for a while now, “Golden Hare” is a very quaffable pale golden beer, with a dry, slightly fruity taste (described by them as zesty), again at 4.5% ABV. Both these beers are available at Sainsbury’s.

Only one new draught recommendation this week as on a visit to Skipton at the weekend, I managed to find the only pub in town without a real ale. However a long overdue visit to an old favourite, The Works at Sowerby Bridge offered a nice pale beer from Bridestones called American Pale. With a strong initial hit of hops, which mellows to a lingering flavour on your tongue and remains refreshing on the palette for the whole pint.

Until next week, happy ale hunting.