Tyson has already mentioned our somewhat odd outing to Ramsbottom to allegedly sample trial Thwaites beers. Instead we were treated to a kind of bizarre charade, with only one trial beer being available of the four offered, not that we knew this at the time. It is strange though how, when you are advised that you are drinking Thwaites beer, that your mind closes to the possibility of the beers sampled being something else. Both Tyson and I recognised that one beer was chock full of diacetyl and one other had an odd but familiar spiciness, without making the mental connection to say "Aha, These cunning sods from Thwaites have brought some ringers in, namely Deuchar's IPA and Greene King IPA." Now both of us I think can be excused the GKIPA blunder, as I doubt if any has passed our respective lips for a long time, but it just goes to show that you can fool some of the people some of the time, even a couple of hardened soaks like us.
Now I have to admit that the GKIPA wasn't that bad. You wouldn't want a lot of it, but it was better than the Deuchars and the Thwaites trial beer, which we placed a comfortable last. That at least serves them right. What came top? As it turned out it was none other than Taylor's Landlord. Now I'm not sure what the other several hundred (as it seemed) people came up with, but hopefully Thwaites will get the message that producing another bland beer in the hope of stealing some of the bland market, just isn't going to cut it these days. An odd night out indeed and a slightly perplexing one.
Last night was different. An old work colleague and I met for a limited time. We went to the Grey Horse in Portland St, Manchester, a tiny tied Hydes house. We drank the straightforward and easy going bitter. On this occasion catching up was all we wanted to do and the beer, for once, was incidental. A good perspective reminder.
Of course recidivist that I am, I couldn't resist popping into the Marble Arch for a quick half on the way to the bus stop. Mallinson's Ephesus gave me a last hop hit. I am never disappointed with their beers.
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