Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Isn't beer fantastic, and it is something that us Brits do better than anyone else in the world.. Indeed, visitors from overseas reading my blog may even think that their nation brews beer and that they have enjoyed a few pints, but it probably doesn't and you havn't.  What you drink in other countries you may call beer, but it is really lager, factory produced, too cold and too fizzy. Now that's not to say to say that you can't get nice lagers, but beer's the thing.

Drawn from a hand pull pump from a barrel, not gas assisted, cellar cool not artificially chilled, naturally gassed rather than cola fizzy, proper beer, ale, bitter, mild, stout or porter, beer is wonderful.  You can get bottled and keg beer, but why bother when there's a barrel tapped and a pint of cool foaming ale available.

Having no customers of my own yesterday, I wandered up into Ilkley to my favourite watering hole Bar T'at , there is always a great selection of beer, and with the snow lying on the ground and the temperature not even getting close to thawing, a big winter beer seemed in order.  Abbeydale Black Mass, brewed black and to an abv of 6.66%, was my choice.

The Abbeydale website make these claims about it... "Very dark ruby ale with a rich creamy head. Aromas of dark chocolate, coffee and burnt toast. Full bodied and warming with strong flavours of bitter chocolate, fruitcake, raisins and hints of cherries. A lingering bitter finish." Very pleasant it was too, so much so that further sampling was required, followed by fish and chips eaten outside and then a mid afternoon nap.

The UK is having a real brewing renaissance at the moment, with micro breweries springing up all over, the Ilkley Brewing Company produces a fine range of ales from their just out of the town centre brewery.  I have sampled Mary Jane, a nice pale beer, plus Ilkley Gold, Pale and Best, their beers are normally on sale at Bar T'at and a range of pubs from Leeds/ Bradford through Wharfedale.

The Gusset claimed last week that Ilkley Brewery and Brewdog, the Scots mentalists responsible for the 32% abv Tactical Nuclear Penguin and the almost unbelievable 41% abv Sink The Bismark, have signed a contract to bring their beers to each other's regions.  Who fancies nipping out out for a really strong pint then ? Oh and bring a full wallet, they are about £40 a bottle.


  1. I could've done with a few afternoon beers yesterday.

  2. I gave up the nightly cocktails and went back to a nightly beer (or hard cider) about 2 months ago. I've started working my way around my favorite countries and I've noticed the preponderance of beers in the US$15 and up mark. Some are hovering at US$25 and up. When on earth did this happen? A big old bottle of laphroaig only sets me back $40.00 and lasts a good deal longer.
    Having said that I have found a few delights and i have fallen quite hard for Innis & Gunn and a US micro brew called Delirium Tremens.

  3. What quantity of beer are you getting for $15 ?