It was one of these days when you encounter the beer you want to drink at the peak of its condition. To get one in a pub that is just perfect is a pleasure, to get two is the icing on the cake and to get three is the cake itself.
I'd been put on the edge of annoyance though earlier on Saturday by a tweet about Wetherspoons in Derby and the twit (sorry twitterer) feeling "unclean". Well here's some simple advice which works every time - "Just don't go there". They'll hardly miss anyone that thinks that way, as they sell the most cask beer of any JDW in the chain. How do I know this? Well I was told by the manager of the one that is second and chasing hard for number one, the Regal Moon in Rochdale, the venue for my perfect trio of beers. Such stereotypical and snobbish remarks do a disservice to excellent managers who are rising above the norm to sell great beer in a big pub chain. JDW's, like all such megaliths, have good and bad. The good are very good and shouldn't be carelessly denigrated without an actual and specific reason. Managers such as Chris at Rochdale are dedicated to getting more and more of their regulars drinking good beer and attracting others to do likewise. If sales are anything to go by, they are succeeding. He proudly boasts that he probably sells less John Smith's Smooth than any other major JDW. That's a good thing in my book. OK - rant over.
Now back to beer. Those of us who live up north have a plethora of great breweries that brew cask beer that you want to drink lots of. One such is West Yorkshire based Ossett who have a super range of beers. Ossett also operate two other micro breweries and run 14 pubs. Saturday's beer was Silver King, a pale beer, using lager malt with a distinct bitter, citrus finish. It is very quaffable. Less known, but producing some of the best pale and hoppy beers in the north is Millstone from Mossley, nestling in the Lancashire side of the Pennines. True Grit is full bodied, bitter from the late addition of hops, with a distinct and lasting hoppy finish and is very, very drinkable. It was on top form on Saturday and provided a perfect route map along with Silver King to the piece de resistance, Jaipur IPA. What more can be said about this classic beer? Nothing really, except to say I've never had it better. It was truly, unutterably and dangerously delicious.
An excellent day was finished off with a tour of the Regal Moon's impressive cellar, part of which is pictured above.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, CAMRA Chairman and (local) activist, beer author, 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 and 2011. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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