At present my bottle stash has a very continental theme and is full of the weird and the wonderful. Whilst out yesterday I added to it with Japanese and more American beers. Which is why on Friday it was nice to try some more traditional beers and so I treated myself to a local beer night. I had bottles in from my two local breweries – Millstone and Greenfield, as well as one from fairly local and new brewery Wilson Potter. I also rounded off with a Marble beer, because they are local too and fitted in with the theme
I started with a very local brewery and Greenfield’s Uppermill Ale. I get the chance to have Greenfield on draught regularly and their Black Five, Icicle and festive poison Rudolph’s Tipple are excellent whilst some of their traditional bitters can be average for me. So when I saw their beers in the shop I chose the Uppermill Ale being one I hadn’t tried before. It’s a pleasantly clear looking amber beer that smells darker than its shade. There's plenty of roasted smells, but also a strong hint of caramel and toffee. The taste holds a slight fizz, but not in an disagreeable manner. It’s long and dark and tastes stronger than it is. I felt my head swirl slightly after the first gulp. As it warms it changes and those caramel/toffee aromas enter the taste, leaving a sweet afterthought. It's definitely enjoyable and one of the brewery's best. One I will look for on draught.
Next I chose the even more local Millstone Brewery and their True Grit. I must confess to being a huge Millstone fan, but not in a biased way. To me their ales taste consistency is only matched by their underrated consistency. I have had True Grit many a time on draught but this will be my first taste from a bottle. A perfectly clear honey colour, it smells of pure Chinook, with the orange zest and pineapple scents that accompany that hop. The taste from bottles is different, but in a brilliant way. I can tell you now, if True Grit was produced by a modern craft brewery people would rave about this beer. It's delectable hoppy goodness. It comes with no beer description but is very similar to the popular modern IPA’s we’ve seen so much of. The hoppy sweetness and bittery finish is sublime. It is a terrific tipple.
Moving further away, but still in the Greater Manchester area I recently picked up a couple of beers by newcomers Wilson Potter, including tonight’s choice In The Light. Being new, I am very much looking forward to a sample of their beers and go in blindly and without any prerequisites. In the Light pours a dark blonde colour and looks as flat as a festival beer. It claims to have a citrus aroma, but to me it is much more malty with bitter roasts in there for such a pale beer. Despite this, the taste is unexpected. It's bitter and zesty at the same time. At first it seems a decent bitter but my palette finds a tang at the end. Then another sip really does provide citrus flavours. But then another sip is distinctly bitter. I like this. It hints at imperfection which only serves to make it interesting. I look forward to seeing more from this brewery.
I finished with a Marble Manchester Bitter which I hardly feel the need to go into tasting notes about. It’s almost as good in bottles but loses some of that distinctive Marble taste. I used to frequent the Marble Arch and know that Marble have been doing incredible and exciting craft beer for much longer than their recent popularity suggests. I only hope they keep level headed and keep consistent. There’s a reason they’re probably the most famous of my local micro-breweries and I fitted them into this local beer evening to remind myself that they are precisely that (local, that is).
Tonight reminded me that there are still great, more traditional ales being made and not everything has got to be about big hop bombs or crazy stouts. I support my local breweries as much as possible and implore everyone to do the same. So every now and then have a local beer night like this. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.