I’ve been living in little ol’ New Zealand on and off for around 12 years now, and it's safe to say that my palate has changed in that time. For various reasons, I now drink less old wine, more whisky and for sure... more hoppy, high alcohol, colder, fizzier beer. When in Rome I guess. I’ve learnt to enjoy a good punch in the palate from a fistful of hops as much as the next IPA nut… but there are times when I revert to type, remembering the training I acquired in the pubs of London.
One of my all time favourites is Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. I went years without tasting it whilst living over here and all but forgot about the forgotten nights spent drinking it back in Blighty. But, I stumbled across a bottle a year or so ago and it was like being reunited with an old friend...and the conversation flowed (albeit one way) as if we had never been apart.
Boltmaker is their best bitter and I’ll confess, I've never tried it… but if it’s anything like Landlord, then it should be rather good. These guys have been brewing Yorkshire bitter and pale ales since 1845, and are one of the few British brewers left who use whole-leaf hops and a hop back to extract delicate hop oils after the boil. Let’s give it a go.
OMG - that’s love at first sniff for me. Delicate gentle fruity malt and hops - nothing showing off - I’m transported to a warm day in a Yorkshire beer garden (which is quite a rare event in Yorkshire - lol). The palate is pretty dry and citrussy, way less fruity than Landlord, which is super interesting as the specs for the two of them are almost identical at just over 4% ABV and around 30 IBUs. The signatory sweet fruits start to appear on the finish but balanced by a lovely aley bitterness. This is a totally smashable best bitter if this style is your cup of tea, clean and crisp but with some body too.
Well, you can take the person out of the country but you can't take the country out of the person. I’ve been feeling a touch homesick of late but it’s nice to know I can get back home with the help of a bottle of best whenever I need to.