as this is my day off work, I have decoded to use my time well. So, what better way than to relate some tales of excellent ales I have tasted recently Well, now I have said that, I can think of numerous better ways, personally, but lets not allow that to distract from this treatise on tasty tipples.
Although it has recently run out - it did Saturday when I tried to buy a half - the excellent Beavertown Holy Hoppin Hell made an appearance on keg at Shakespeares. This time it seemed to be stronger, myself and Doctor Pat remembered it being 8.5% last time, but this time its a whopping 9.5%. Being a that London brewer, and on keg, and 2% above the HSBD mark, it was £6.60 a pint. But given its more than twice the strength of beers half the price in other pubs I don't think that's bad value for money. And you wouldn't have wanted more than a pint. It had a vinous orangey quality with an aroma slightly of sherbet and citrus, and actually, the hops were obscured somewhat by the alcohol. It took me an hour to drink a half on Friday so that gives you a measure of its potency. Despite that, it is still far better than some of the clumsy depthcharge soups of the 1980's and 90's.
Also on the bar is/was the Maori Red from Blue Bee Brewery. Although only 4.8 (or.5, not sure) the beer is packed with flavour and the red element makes it very rounded and easy to drink, with a hoppy bite in the background. Well worth a try since its out and about at present.
The Bath Hotel today should still have on Fraoch from Heather Ales. Sorry - I meant Williams Bros. I say this because I first tasted Fraoch, which a brewery rep told me is pronounced "Frook" in 1994 when I bought a rather nice labelled bottle of it from the Dram Shop in Commonside. It was brewed by Heather Ales, and called Leann Fraoich. Catchy. It was, I have to say, very much unlike anything I had tried before. I have tried it on cask a few times since, and also been to the brewery in Strathven many years ago to taste their Grozet Gooseberry ale straight from the conditioning tank - well, not straight - i had it in a glass.....
The brewery has now moved to Alloa and seems to have quite an impressive marketing machine behind it - and it helpfully tells you what the beer tastes like. If you see their link here there is much info, although personally I think its sweeter and less herbal and floral than previously. Well worth a try on cask either way.
Also at the Bath hotel is a Burning Sky Saison. With one rare exception I have always loved their saisons, and this is another fine example. Its 6.7% and on keg. Alas the Bath has less freedom on prices than say, Shakespeares, so I recall it being pricey but it is a great refreshing beer that due to being on keg , takes that little bit longer to sup, and a little longer for you to savour.
The final recent tipple to take the eye, and one which was delivered throughout Sheffield recently is another Sheffield beer from Blue Bee. Ella IPA is made with Australian Ella hops and is an easy drinking, slightly less ascorbicly hoppy 5.0% IPA. They have used Ella before in their Reet Aussie Pale and I have found it really easy to drink. It may not be on now at the Three Tuns where I had several pints, but it will no doubt be in the better Sheffield real ale pubs now.
Hope you all get chance to try some of the above beers soon!