Monday, 16 July 2012

When the support act steals a show...

Last week, I went for a drink after work. I met a friend and we went to the Craft Beer Co. in Farringdon to see what beers they had on. I had seen something that day about them having Dark Star's Revelation. Now, this was a well-conceived beer. The brewery had won the hearts of British beer fans in the early '00s with the American Pale Ale. What we had here was to be a kind of APA (Director's Cut).

For me, however, Revelation was not the star of the show. It was an excellent beer, make no mistake: It was the exact taste I had been looking for when I arrived that night. There was freshly cut grass in the distance, behind a wall of turquoise citrus - that american-style festival of hop that so many of us this side of the pond have come to know and love.

The only problem was that another beer had taken me by surprise.
An unassuming - albeit amusingly named - bitter, KGB (Kent Golding Bitter). Brewed by the Kent Brewery - a brewery. In Kent - this was a bitter done right. I had been discussing with friends the lack of inspiring British (and British style) beers, and here was something to take up my challenge.
KGB is a bitter framed around its use of hops. The surprise was that what made this beer great was not the hops: It was the toasted wholemeal granary that was hiding somewhere in my glass. Of course, it helped that the brew-master had spread fresh Fuggles and Goldings all over that invisible loaf. But the malt on this pint made me happy to be drinking English Cask Ale again.

It is not dry-hopped to the teeth with new breeds from the Pacific North-West. It is not a smoked imperial porter so thick that it comes with a free knife and fork. But if you see this squashed between some flashier pumps at your nearest craft beer dispensary, do not be deceived: KGB is a big, delicious beer, and one to which I will most certainly return.

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