Tickers, when they have a beer in mind for their collection of ticks, say it is "required". I am not a ticker, but of course, like most beer people not averse to listing in my mind the odd beer I'd like to try. So yesterday, after being dragged round the local woods by E for the good of my health, a beer seemed a good idea. So, to Rochdale and the JDW Regal Moon for the beer festival. My required beer for this visit was Baron's Black Wattle Original Ale, Australian in origin, but brewed by the brewer in Banks' in Wolverhampton and there it was on the bar. It was delicious. A full malty body with touches of dark toffee, some fruitiness and an earthy character which I assume is the black wattle. It had a pleasing East Kent Goldings finish and was much more bitter than I'd anticipated. Great stuff which I was fortunate to savour in the peak of condition.
My good luck continued. I found the Everard's Equinox, pale and not as sweet as the JDW tasting notes would suggest. I wouldn't have brewed it with Goldings as the single hop variety myself, but it was decent enough. Way up the scale though was Bateman's Eastern Promise. The tasting notes have it spot on " a mix of spicy and citrus hop flavours blending with the lemon grass to impart an impressive taste experience, while its initial spicy aroma leads to a citrus finish." Couldn't say it better myself, so I won't. The Liberty hop finish really lifted this beer to new heights. Stunningly good stuff - they ought to make it permanent.
I finished less well. I had to try the Gouden Carolus having toured the brewery a few years ago. Despite only having a third, it was just too strong in alcohol (8%) with a dodgy wet dog finish. I left most of it. You can't win 'em all.
I'm still after a few more beers, particularly St Austell Proper Job, which was a beer I used in a tutored tasting at GBBF. It was fantastic in the bottle, so I'm looking forward to the cask version. So far so good with the JDW fest, Beer quality has been excellent, but my horizon looks cloudier. My next JDW visit will be in London where I fear a severe quality decline! Let's hope I'm proved wrong.
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