My friend at Brewers Union 180 posed an interesting question, "is there such a think as bad beer?". Well for me, it is now the time of year I get out a little more. Tonight was the local branch CAMRA meeting and a chance to test the theory.
Oh, before I forget, it's the Whitehaven beer festival in a couple of weeks. 21-22 November. See West Cumbria Branch and Whitehaven Beer Festival sites. Tony Messado chose most of the beers, so it's worth going because there is bound to be a tick or two you haven't got. I'm also working on a plan to get Jamie Reed there, our M.P. so we can ask him to push for action on the Community Pub Inquiry recommendations as well.
Anyway, where was I .... oh yeh, looking for a nice pint. Tonight we were in the Sunny Hill in Whitehaven. Three pulls - Cumberland Ale, Theakstons Best Bitter and a new Ennerdale Autumn. What I have found is that when I am confronted with less than total exciting beers I fail to be able to describe the flavours with eloquence. But I am able to give enjoyment ratings.
I started with the Ennerdale - after all Shelagh is working hard to get this new brewery out there. I'm afraid that along with the Ennerdale Bitter it's just not quite getting there with me. The Ennerdale Blond is a better beer in my view, a bit more exciting. The Autumn and the Bitter are just more of the same "classic" bitters.
It strikes me that a bad beer is one that makes me wish I was in another pub. Ennerdale Autumn does just that for me. Sorry Shelagh, I would suggest a few more hops in the late drop would be a route forward.
Theakstons best. Well certainly better, cleaner somehow. A bit more zing, like a twist of lemon or lime or something. Third pint and back to the Ennerdale and yes, a hint of something not quite right - acetic I'd swear, rather than citric.
I know Cumberland Ale, I've said before. Tandleman, you might be right, it's just the same as always and better then either of the other two choices. Dry hopping, I must have a go at that.
So we had to end the night with something better. We called in to see my friend Rod at the Gosforth Hall on the way back. As always 3 handpulls running with something that starts at the "OK" end of the scale and then others that are better. Langdale Moonshine - Cumbria Legendary Ales. I've had that at my pub so skip that. (It's nice BTW) one that I forget - that memorable eh, probably his "OK" for the night, and Yates Fever Pitch.
I stopped buying Yates beers for my pub a little while ago, for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with beer quality, silly really. It is probably the beer I choose when not in my pub because ALL of Yates beers are really, really good. Fever Pitch has everything you really want. Good aroma, zingy sherbet mouthfeel flavour and fully satisfying. Yates have never done a dark beer, at least not that I'm aware of. I bet if they did it would be fantastic.
Anyway - don't forget the Whitehaven Beer Festival: 13 Cumbrain Beers are included in the list. 4 of which are new ticks for Tony - so they're bound to be for you too.