It isn't often you see five Thornbridge beers on handpump at the same time - at least not in my experience. Me and the lovely E called into the Waterhouse for a sharpener before meeting friends for dinner just along the road and then heading off to see comedian Dave Spikey.
I fought my way to the bar and to my surprise, there they were; Kipling, Pioneer, Jaipur, St Petersburg and a new Christmassy beer, Hark. Now we only had an hour, so where to start? It had to be Jaipur. This was rich, hoppy, floral, resinous and as always, it had a distinct hazy cast, which didn't make a jot of difference to the taste. Kipling though was full of sharp edges and to both of us, tasted harsh and unbalanced. I was glad it was just a half. St Petersburg was stunningly good, rich, fruity, malty, with warming alcohol and a coffee and hops finish. Hark had cake spices in and was surprisingly to me at least, pale. It was spicy and interesting, but not particularly moreish. And that was it, time was up. I don't know why this JDW was showcasing Thornbridge, but it was nice to see and as they had another four or five pumps dispensing other beers, there was something for everyone..
We did call back for more after Mr Spikey, but such was the crush at the bar, that we couldn't even see the handpumps, so retreated next door to the City Arms for a very decent pint of Copper Dragon Golden Pippin. No hardship there!
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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