Tuesday, 17 May 2016

London Beer Review: Special Bitter from Young's

Welcome to the Shed. I am even-star and this is The Beer in Review. Today's London beer review is for Special Bitter from Young's.

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Young's Special Bitter was a light copper colour. Bitter malts, biscuity, caramel, coffee-ish. Pretty much a standard run-of-the-mill English style real ale bitter.

And there is no shame in that. It just isn't my bag. But for all you who might be visiting from abroad, this is the most popular kind of non-lager beer in this geography. This is your dad's or uncle's or grandpa's beer. Basically it is beer flavoured. No crazy malts or hops. Simple flavour profile.

And it sells by the bucketload. This is the kind of beer you will find on in pubs who might only have one or two pumps. They cater for their largest demographic (which in England is still kind of your dad, uncle, or grandpa) and won't be able to put on more exotic or crafty beers.

Our favourite local dedicates one of its four pumps to this kind of beer. And many of them are very good. Many pubs will also offer tap poured smooth bitters like John Smiths or Boddingtons.

So when I go on about missing pump poured beer when I am abroad that is only because I am too snobby to drink tap bitters at home! They do exist but many are not considered real ales. Real ales are beers that finish fermenting in the the same cask from which they are served and do not have carbonation added as part of that process.

That kind of craft tap poured beer is becoming more popular, in part due to the work of large non-craft breweries like Young's. But it does not turn up much outside of larger towns and cities. Small locals won't take off best selling standards to take a chance on a red rye American style beer or a new world hopped IPA. And getting in new tap equipment is expensive.

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.