Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Beers for Cask Ale Week

Cask Ale Week - Whats on at the local...

I popped into my exceptional local pub yesterday to see what they had on for Cask Ale week. I'm not sure about this National Cask Ale Week thing, is it an idea from the bigger breweries and pub chains for their gain or is it something that will benefit smaller breweries and independent pubs? We shall see. I also wonder how well its being marketed, I have only seen it on beer websites and inside pubs, that may only prove that I walk around with my eyes closed, but I shall ask around and see what I find out.

Back to the beers at the pub... The Queens Arms had 6 cask ales on yesterday, they had gone for a classic English ale theme, with Harveys Sussex, TT Landlord, Adnams Extra, Moor Revival, Matthews Brassknocker, and Silent Knight from Dorset Brewing Co. I only had time for three quick halves and a spot of lunch so plumped for the Adnams, Matthews and Silent Knight.

The Adnams Extra had that typical sea-side saltiness that is so typical of Adnams beers, it was a particularly well-balanced subtle beer, so typical of everything good in English Bitter. There was lots of Fuggles with its earthy flavours combining beautifully with the sweeter malt, all wrapped up by a long finish with that hint of the sea. It's been a long wait for this beer to return, and I can see why those who remember it are so pleased to be able to try it again.

Matthews Brassknocker has apparently been a CAMRA beer of the year for the last couple of years, but has escaped my radar completely, I had never come across them before. James at the Queens raves about them, and the Brassknocker was an excellent beer. It was towards the end of the barrel, so I was warned not to expect too much, so was very pleasantly surprised to find a very fresh flavourful beer. The aroma was citrussy and the colour a light golden that looked stunning when held up to the sun. It had a lovely malt sweetness, that's unusual in a 3.8% beer, with a nice hint of vanilla. The finish was slightly dryer than I was expecting with a little hop bitterness. It was a very nice session ale, one that you could return to many times over.

Silent Knight is a beer I have been looking to have a taste of for quite a while, it sounds very interesting. It's a dark, unfiltered wheat beer at 5.9% promising a big, bold flavour and the smoothness of wheat. For me, it just didn't deliver, it needed more, needed to be bigger, stronger, more unctuous. There was a hint of chocolate and a hint of dark berries, the beer was thinner than I was expecting, not as carbonated as I wanted it. I think I was expecting too much, I wanted it to remind me of Aventinus, but all it did, was remind me how good Aventinus is.

My lunch was delicious - pigs kidneys on toast with a cider reduction, really, really good!

Happy Adventuring!

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