Brimming with Beer

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This article was originally published in InnSpire Magazine issue 148.

If you’re currently holding this brilliant magazine in your grubby paw, you may be sat in your local pub, having a crafty pint or two. And, hopefully the beer gods are looking down kindly on you and the selection of ales are in your favour. It’s a great time to be a real ale connoisseur. IPA, Pales and Bitters have moved from niche products to the mainstream and whilst the aforementioned all may not meet the real ale requirements, what it does mean is that it’s easier than ever to get a decent pint. The craft beer movement and of course CAMRA has awakened the taste buds of the nation and more people are celebrating good beer.

After recently moving back to Chesvegas, I set out on a mission to explore my local drinking establishments and find pubs that served more than Carling. Not that I’m beer snob. I like a pint of Moretti as much as the next man. But nothing hits the spot like a juicy IPA or moreish Pale Ale. Now apologies to the purists, not every beverage sampled on this tour may fit the Real Ale label. For me it’s not about just cask vs keg but rather decent beer, a friendly welcome and the joy of a mischievous and flatulent pub dog.

I set only one rule: All pubs must be within a responsible walking distance and unlike my drinking partner, who remarked before setting off that “all your beers taste and smell like wet Labrador” I hoped for many a fine ale around our route. We headed towards Brimington.

The first two pubs were an early set back on our quest. Little or no choice. In fairness, one pub had only just reopened. The other had just the one cask beer but it was not to my taste. They had also just stopped selling 61 Deep due to a lack of sales. Still, I pushed forward, heavy in heart but not defeated.

The Butchers Arms was our next port of call and something of a salvation on until now barren journey. Having visited a while back, it appears the real ales and cask beers are regularly updated and rotated.  First up was a pint of Farmers Blonde (4.0% ABV) by Bradfield Brewery, a trusty and dependable old favourite. It’s a very smooth and easy drinking ale. Resisting the temptation of a pint of Doom Bar, I next went for a pint of Dancing Dragonfly (5% ABV) by Pheasantry Brewery, a Golden Ale, which they describe as dangerously drinkable!

Having downed our pints, we next went to Brimming with Beer. A micro pub that more than lived up to its name. The selection was a beer lovers paradise. An oasis of luscious ales. “Is this heaven?” I asked. “It’s Brim mate” can the reply “But if you brew it, they will come”. A few weeks before Jaipur X had proved to be popular.  A huge, hazy Imperial IPA, this beast had a 10% ABV. Not a session ale for sure.

Today, I braved a pint of Escape (5% ABV). A Pina Colada Pale which was a surprisingly balanced and a great Summer drink. You could taste tropical fruit with notes of pineapple and coconut too but it was not overwhelming at all. A nice mix of sweetness with a bitter aftertaste. Lovely. This is part Thornbridge Brewery’s “Cask Year of Beer 2022” with new beers released throughout the year.

Finally, I went for the Pop Shuvit by Utown.  An ultra-pale Session IPA (4.3% ABV), Very refreshing again with hints of tints of tropical fruit plus mango, lychee and melon. Yummy. It certainly helped to work up to the IPA’s, with their sharper and more unusual favours.

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY FEATURED IN INNSPIRE MAGAZINE.
AUTHOR/INTERVIEW: CHRIS FOX