Tweet Mi friend John, from England, was back in Prague for a short holiday a couple of months ago. Just like last time, we met for lunch, in this opportunity joined by his two friends, themselves beer enthusiasts. We had some good fun, talked at length, had several beers (the IPA from I don't remember whether Koucour or Matuška made a pretty good impression among these experienced Ale, etc. drinkers). Just like last time, I received some samples of RAIB's (Real Ales in Bottle), all in beautiful bottles and all, with the exception of Fuller's 1845, very sessionable, with an ABV below 5%. (BTW, I was really glad to receive another bottle of 1845, I loved it last year).
To start, I opened Barnstormer, a Dark Bitter brewed by Bath Ales. I would love to tell you more about its bouquet. At first, I thought it was the beer that didn't have much to offer, but after going through these and other Ales. etc. I came to the conclusion that the nonic glass, though pretty nice and comfortable for drinking, is crap for evaluating aromas. Back to the beer. It's got a pretty unctuous mouth feel, with nice notes of caramel and black sugar along with a subtle mix of flowers and tropical fruit to give it balance. I loved it. In a way, it reminded me to Bakalář Polotmavé Výčepní. As that one, Barnstormer is a fantastic ale to drink (several of) while enjoying a barbecue with friends.
The only gripe I have about it comes from the label, where it's described as "complex". Mine might not be the sharpest of palates, but complex is one thing this beer isn't. It simple, tasty and very satisfying, and that's the beauty in it. Anyone can make a complex beer, but brewing something like Barnstormer isn't so easy and deserves more praise.
Batemans XXXB (what a fugly website) was the second in line. If any of you are wondering what that XXXB means, look for it in Ron Pattison's blog, he'll be able to confuse you a lot better than me. And that's pretty much it. There's not much else I can tell you about this Pale Ale, other than it's boring, monotonous and forgettable. Perhaps all those X's made me expect something bolder, either way, it was disappointing.
To finish the session I opened the Stout from Titanic Brewery (who have a really nice webpage). I really, really liked this beer. I'm a style anarchist, but experience has helped me know pretty much what to expect from each style and sometimes, it's nice to get just that. Roasted coffee, brown sugar, some raisins and a finish with a now more intense coffee. Another beautiful beer without pretensions, great to have a couple in the afternoon.
Thanks John and his two friends (sorry lads, I can't remember your names) for these three samples of classic English brews.
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