Friday, 29 June 2012

Pale Rider

Tonight, I dropped by a local of mine to catch up with a friend. The Barnsbury has a great selection of cask ales, and had a few there that I had never seen before. I was initially amused by one beer's claim that it had been CAMRA's champion beer of 2004. I mean, guys. 2004. It was up against the great Purity Mad Goose and a slightly tribal-looking pump promising New Zealand hops. The beer in question was Kelham Island Brewery's Pale Rider.

Mainly, we were too distracted - along with the rest of the pub - by the final ten minutes of the Italy Germany match. In particular, to the supreme efforts of the German goalie who drew applause while making his way up the field as if to attempt some Schmeichelian miracle. It wasn't until a short while after that it hit me: This was a very good beer. There was a real pineapple tang, and the beer had body enough to back it up. No unnecessary bitterness, no jarring aroma. Despite the dated credentials, this beer is perhaps the most imaginative English ale I have tasted in a long time.

I wanted to find out a little more about this Sheffield brewery, and after some searching around online, I find that the man behind it was the late Dave Wickett. It felt strange to discover that a man I only now found out about had passed away just last month. Pete Brown recalls Wickett's crucial role in recent brewing history, complete with his early hiring of Brew Dog co-founder Martin Dickie. It is particularly touching to see that this beer even gets a mention in his obituary in the Guardian. If you see this beer on tap anywhere, it is well worth a try.

Still, the wider range of beers on offer from the Kelham Island Brewery looks truly inspired. Personally, I cannot wait to find their Now That's What I Call Beer 39:

1 comment:

  1. Really like Kelham Island! We should visit the "Golden Triangle" of pubs in Sheffield some time.