Last Friday night I managed to get back to the pub. Yes, someone give me some tickets to put on the wall – its exciting news. The Parr’s Head had Summer Lightning on as its guest beer. It tasted like DMS and had traces of acetaldehyde as well. I don’t think I have ever had this beer and enjoyed it. It’s rubbish and overrated. My yellow curry from their Thai kitchen was nice though and more than excused the lacklustre pint. In future I will remember just to stick to the Pride!
After Jay finally recovered a little bit, I took him to the Cabinet War rooms and the Churchill Museum and then a chaotic stroll along Regent Street. It was getting cold and late so we decide to head back west and grab a bite to eat at my former local – The Brook Green Hotel.
Young’s Kew Gold (4.8% abv) is a pale spritzy bottle conditioned bitter from Young’s. I had the pleasure of getting my hands on this bottle at the Young’s tied Coach and Horses on the edge of Kew Green. The beer is brewed with hops that are inspired by the varieties found in nearby Kew Gardens. My amateur hop detecting nostrils can detect styrian goldings (sorry no east Kent Golding’s here) and maybe pride of ringwood. It tastes a little bit like coopers pale ale, ad pours a similar colour, however the beer is more harsh and has a strong carbonic bite as it is overcarbonated. This acidic bite makes the bitterness harsh and the beer not very refreshing. The beer is also bottle conditioned, so it qualifies as Real Ale under the conditions set out by CAMRA, but not that CAMRA’s guidelines mean anything in the real world.
Whilst revisiting the Brook Green hotel I also got into a pint of Young’s Ordinary, just to see if they have improved their cask handling practices. I have to report that they have indeed improved things, although this pint was certainly still not at its best.
As I have stated a few times recently, my parents have been in town visiting. After eating in nearly all the restaurants and pubs near us I took them down to my old local – The Brook Green hotel. Now its not that I have anything against the Brook green, its just that since the renovations after the smoking ban the place has become a bit pretentious. OK not just a bit pretentious, very pretentious! First of all, they insist on table service… It’s a Young’s tied pub for crying out loud! They have also become quite expensive and the ale is usually not kept very well.
Young’s Special Premium Ale (4.5% abv) is a special bitter available only on draft and not to be confused with the much stronger bottled London Special Ale. I enjoyed this pint at the Calthorpe Arms on Gray’s Inn Rd a couple of weeks ago whilst attempting a mini crawl through the Mt Pleasant area. The beer is a medium amber colour and has a defining characteristic fruitiness which differentiates special from bog standard Young’s Bitter.
This was the other beer I picked up during my Tesco run, and I must admit that it is one of my favourites. It is quite a strong beer at 6.4% abv, and has a distinctly hoppy taste. The label claims that the beer is bottle conditioned, however I have yet to find any evidence of yeast deposited in the bottom of one of the bottles! It is claimed that fuggles and goldings hops are used which is interesting as the beer does not taste like your typical London ale and actually is a lot fruitier with some banana and citrus flavours coming through not unlike an APA. I have noticed on occasion that the level of aroma and flavour hops is not very consistent and lower levels lead to a strong alcohol kick on the tongue. The more hoppy batches tend to be balanced better – this bottle was of the less hoppy which is a trend I hope hasn’t started due to the recent price increases on the world hop markets! Young’s describe the beer are:
Bottle Conditioned. Occasionally available in the cask.Production moved from Youngs to Wells & Youngs in 2007.Ingredients: Maris Otter and Crystal malt; Fuggle and Goldings hops. Dry hopped with Golding and Target hops. Re-pitched with fresh yeast and wort in the bottle.Young’s Special London Ale is the UK’s No.1 bottle conditioned ale. It is an unpasteurised, living beer, matured in the bottle for a fuller, more complex, multi-dimensional, fresher taste. Without artificial carbonation, the only fizz is the natural effervescence created by fermentation. “A wonderfully balanced, deep-golden strong bottled ale, brewed from pure malt and a phenomenal amount of hops. A lively, fruity character with suggestions of banana and orange zest.” CAMRA Champion Bottled Beer of Britain – 1999.
Bursting with taste, Young’s Bitter is an easy to drink, refreshing cask ale with a fresh, fruity aroma that leaves a long, satisfying bitter finish. It is traditionally brewed to deliver a clean taste and is light and dry in flavour with a subtle taste of hops. 100% malt brew: Maris Otter and crystal malt with Fuggle and Golding hops.Enjoy on draught in all Young’s pubs (subject to availability).
Note from the Head Brewer:”Number one selling beer, an ideal session pint.”
Brewery AwardsGold medal and Championship Trophy at Brewing Industry International Awards 2000