A brief visit to the Marble Arch last night saw rather an eclectic range of beers on the bar. Leading the charge was the second edition of Marble 1425, a 5.9% heavily hopped beer, broadly in the American IPA style.A quick conversation with she who must be obeyed resulted in a change of designated driver. I wanted to try this. I started though with Derwent State Bitter, a recreation of an old brew for the Carlisle State Brewery - yes - it was owned by UK plc and survived until the seventies. It wasn't bad, being like most bitters of that era, brown and inoffensive, which these days doesn't really hit the mark. Much better was Green Mill of Rochdale's Nostalgia Porter which was dry, dark, liquorice edged, with a coal dust finish. Really rather good. I have been impressed by their dark beers, but you can hide a multitude of faults in a dark beer that would be exposed in a paler one, so the jury is still out for me.
While my lass stuck to Pictish Brewer's Gold - no fool she - when she sees Pictish on the bar, she is like a moth to a flame, I plumped for the 1425. I had found the first version of this rather harsh and hard to drink. Would the second version be better balanced? Well yes and no. It seemed to me the beer had been softened by a whopping increase in crystal malt, its tell tale barley sugar taste mixing with the alcohol to create a much sweeter drink. It still had a huge, resiny Yankee hop presence, but somehow the beer just didn't do it for me. It had swung too far the other way. That's just how it goes sometimes, but as always, experimentation is good. It creates interest and awareness and I have no doubt that others may feel differently to me.
As I was only allowed one more drink, I chose (a pint this time) of JP Best, reluctantly passing over Ginger 6, a souped up version of Marble Ginger Beer. This pale brown beauty rarely disappoints and was in great form, with just the right balance of juicy malt and a whack of resinous American hops to see it through to a very satisfying finish.
An interesting hour out and thanks to my girl for driving.My turn next.
The Marble has started giving out till receipts. Very handy for remembering what you had as each beer is detailed. Must be a bugger to keep reprogramming though.
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. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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