I'm a simple soul me. I don't go out to find obscure beers, but beers that I can sup with pleasure and depend on. That is, incidentally, how most people drink and why, despite the bumping of gums by beer geeks about it, good old fashioned brown bitters, golden ales and mainstream lagers are so popular. Difficult to drink beers are and always will be, a minority obsession.
But I digress. I was pleased therefore to walk into the Regal Moon last night and be offered a choice of two old favourites, so I compromised and had both - not together - but one after the other of course. Ossett Silver King is a very clear, pale beer, with a crisp citric bitterness that makes it very easy to drink. A fairly regular option in the Regal Moon, it was my first non Lees beer of 2013, so a milestone of a sort. Next up was Hawkshead Lakeland Gold. Another pale one, but not as pale as Silver King, but with the emphasis more firmly on bitterness. Very pleasing with my ham, eggs and chips - told you I'm a simple soul.
And so to the Baum and the main event of the evening, my CAMRA Branch meeting. The Baum, as befitting its status as Greater Manchester Pub of the Year had a great selection on. My eye was drawn as if by a magnet to a name that always inspires confidence - Mallinsons. This time Aramis, using the French hop of that name. Pale, bitter, zesty with a full tasting bitter finish, it was a lovely beer. Of course,the thirty odd CAMRA members soon saw this off. Good for business we are. The replacement was another Mallinsons beer, this time Tethys, using Sumer hops. Not a hop I've heard of and not as strikingly good as the Aramis, but pretty decent, though if given a choice, I'd have supped them in reverse order. I finished on another very bitter beer in top condition. Marble Beers need no introduction and Marble Best did not disappoint, with a great malt backbone, backed up by layers of bitter, resiny hops. A splendid beer.
So my point is the familiar need not be boring. Beers from Ossett, Hawkshead, Mallinsons and Marble are beers not only to drink with confidence, but with clear enjoyment.
We had 34 members at our meeting last night. Good for business indeed.
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. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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