Yorkshire Terrier is the latest in my series of reviews of York Brewery’s excellent ales. It’s 4.2% light coppery gold ale with a light head. The aroma is fragrant and floral, and the flavour itself is dry, hoppy and full of orange zest. It wouldn’t be my choice as a session ale – it’s maybe a little too bitter/dry for my taste – but it’s a very clean, fresh taste, and if you prefer a hoppy ale, this one might suit you very well indeed.
York Brewery’s 4.2% ABV York Minster Ale is a light golden bitter. It smells of very little at all, to be honest, but the flavour is a good, strong dry bitterness, with plenty of zesty hops. It’s a much more robust sustained flavour than the Guzzler, and as bitters go, I really like it, but personally prefer Guzzler. I wouldn’t drink this with a meal, but wouldn’t turn down a pint at my local pub.
To get me started on my series of reviews of beers from Yorkshire based breweries, I’m starting at the York Brewery itself, with the excellent 4% ABV Guzzler. This is a light gold ale that pours with a light but enduring head. The ale smells of citrus and elderflower, and the taste is light on malt, with subtle notes of citrus lemon. Unusually, the tasting notes match my own assessment of the beer. It would be great with a salad, or a very enjoyable session ale. Highly recommended.
Over the next few weeks and months, I’ll be focussing on beers from specific parts of the UK, such as Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, but to get me started, I’ll be visiting a county where I spent three very happy years as a student: Yorkshire. The historical County of York was the largest of Britain’s counties until a reorganisation in the twentieth century, when for administrative purposes, it was split into three. For the purposes of this blog, however, I’ll be reviewing beers from that historical county, and I’ll be starting in the City of York itself. As a student, Yorkshire is where I first encountered Theakston’s bitter and Old Peculier, Sam Smiths’ bitter, but also Tetley’s and John Smiths’, and my favourite pint was of Sam Smiths’ bitter in the Wellington Inn in Alma Terrace. These days, there are many more breweries in the county, and I’ll be reviewing beers from York Brewery, Rudgate, Brass Castle, Saltaire, Sam Smiths, Daleside, Hambleton and a few others, too, no doubt. So, off to God’s own country…
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting very much from a beer with the uber-generic name “Master Brew’ and costing only £1 per bottle, but I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by this offering from Britain’s oldest brewer Shepherd Neame. I was in for a very pleasant surprise, therefore! This 4% ABV light amber coloured ale pours with a lively light head that settles quickly but lasts well. There’s a strong hoppy aroma, with a well-rounded but complex flavour that has a slightly dry bitterness layered over a light, malty base with hints of ginger nuts and lemons. £1 well spent, I’d say.
I’ve been waiting for the right time to try this bottle of Dark Star’s Espresso for quite some time and this is it! The beer was the SIBA National Champion speciality beer in 2009, so my expectations were pretty high, and so far, have been exceeded. The colour of the beer is deep, dark, and almost black. It has a thin tan coloured head that rapidly dissipates, and the aroma is of coffee grounds, and almost nothing else. The coffee beans that are added to the brew are also responsible for the flavour, in which roasted malt is married perfectly with the espresso from the coffee. It’s a dry, grown up taste, to be savoured. I wouldn’t drink with food, and while I’d be tempted to replace a real espresso with this beer, it’s too big a flavour to follow most meals. Nor is it a session beer (not unless you’ve got a coffee addiction). I’d recommend drinking this beer on a cold, probably winter’s, evening, ideally in front of a blazing fire. And while it’s not really relevant, the ABV is 4.2%.
This beer features in World’s Best Beers: 1000 Unmissable Brews from Portland to Prague by Ben McFarland and Adam Tierney-Jones’ 1001 Beers: You Must Try Before You Die.
Teme Valley’s This is a 3.7% ABV light ale. It’s a typical light brown colour and smells, to be honest, of very little. The flavour, as this kind of beer goes, is `ok’ – maybe a little bland. If I was drinking this in a pub by the pint, I’d probably be quite happy. But I wouldn’t go out of my way to try this again – there are so many other great beers around.