Thursday, 14 January 2016

Nottinghamshire Craft Beer Review: And a Partridge in a Pear Tree from Welbeck Abbey

Ah HAAAAAAAAA and welcome to the Shed. I am even-star and this is Knowing Me Knowing The Beer in Review. Today's Nottinghamshire craft beer review is for And a Partridge in a Pear Tree Spiced Ale from Welbeck Abbey Brewery.

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This was a clear amber bitter. And yes you can taste the spice. Nutmeg and cinnamon mostly. Like a bland cinnamon bun. Yeasty but not sweet. Kind of medicinal. At least I hope it was spice or something went very wrong with the hops. I have had beers that taste of cinnamon or allspice or mace but not quite like this.

I don't go in for flavoured beers. Fruit or spiced. All that means is that there is a whole lot of arty farty Christmas-y flavourings added to what was probably a very good beer but now is a very sad beer. They made the beer feel sad and inadequate by making it taste of things that beer ought not to taste of. There have been one or two that have impressed me but for the most part I haven't liked my experiences.

Now a beer can taste of cinnamon or nutmeg or celery or shoe polish but not because any of those things are in it.They taste of those things because a skillful brewer can balance grains and hops to create complex flavours.

I kind of get where they were going with this and I would not say that it was unsuccessful or even bad. Jade, the long suffering, over-worked, underpaid bar maid at our favourite local, knows her beers and she liked this one. To a certain degree I think I was a little disappointed in the lack of spicy-ness. I was expecting something more like mulled wine. Something with a bit of bittersweet bite to it.

After all beer used to be flavoured with all kinds of things and not just hops. I would argue we use hops almost exclusively these days for one very good reason: they make beer taste awesome. Cinnamon or wormwood not so much.

People used to drink warm spiced beer in which they floated bits of bread. Maybe that is what this particular experience was lacking to bring out the best in the beer: a silver goblet, some woollen hose, and a public hanging.

One fun fact side note to finish off: Welbeck Abbey's head brewer is named Claire Monke. Get it? Old abbey. Monke? Living the pun and the dream Claire!

The Beer in Review is a blog about British craft beer and real ale. Keep up with new posts and contact me comments and questions on twitter or facebook. I'd love to hear about your craft beer adventures and recommendations from your home town.