The lovely E has been home from London for nearly two weeks and despite great intentions to get out and about, we have largely not done so. With the exception of a trip to see the Landlady in the depths of Delph and a quick foray into Rochdale, beer wise it has been an unmitigated parade of Lees, either in bitter format, or as Middleton's, their Royal Wedding Ale.
While I enjoyed Thwaites Wainwrights (not nearly as hoppy as usual) chez Landlady and more challenging beers at the Railway, Baum and the Regal Moon, it was good old fashioned malty Lees Bitter that I supped most of. Simple, unchallenging and straight down the neck stuff. Most of that was in my local with our friends and I'm not doing much by way of being insightful to say that's what appealed most. In great company, beer slides down very well indeed and Lees Bitter slides down better than most.
Of course my Lees interests range wider than just swigging the bitter. Talking to two different Lees Landlords gave the same comments about their seasonal range. Three months is too long for each beer. The novelty has worn off before the new guest appears, making it harder to shift. This isn't helped by the fact that Lees drinkers are a conservative lot and very loyal to the bitter. Another gripe is that already, the scheduled non appearance (well you know what I mean), of the Christmas special Plum Pudding this year is already causing wailing and gnashing of teeth from publicans and customers alike. It's a great beer and the feeling is that cask Manchester Star, a recreation of an 1884 Lees beer hitherto exported to the US in bottle only, is likely to be too strong at 6.5% to appeal. Beer geeks of course would no doubt disagree and ought to make their plans for a trip north now and I do hope Lees drinkers give it a fair chance.
Still onwards and upwards. I have a CAMRA meeting tonight and I dare say it will be back to hops.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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