In this day, when the NEIPA is increasingly being seen as the more traditional and staid option in a market bursting with milkshake , fruit, brut …bollocks (there is that grumpy old man peeping through, and hypocrite I love some fruit beers!) , I want to write a letter of love to bitter. Now the fact that I don’t get what the kids get is no real surprise, I mean even when I was a kid I loved old mans beer. But the way of things makes me scratch my head. Enough of what I don’t understand. Bitter is my muse, my love , my destiny. So what’s so great about bitter?
A pint of perfectly clear, sparkling, amber liquid sits upon a bar with a whipsy white head that emits a wondrous aroma of earthy , tangy , citrus ( if lemons could be bred with baked potatoes) , hop aroma that combines with a subtle yet distinctive fruity yeast character , is it from West Yorkshire ? then hessian and tropical fruit, Sussex? spicy Belgian biscuits, London ? pungent orange marmalade, Suffolk? prunes and pears . Alongside this glorious inviting combination is a subtext of caramel / toffee / malty love, the warm memory of someone important. Once you submit and take a sip evident rich yet rounded and in no way heavy malt flavour fills your mouth to be quickly countered by a firm bitter earthy hoppiness and a fruity kiss of whichever yeast note is doing the driving .
And once you swallow , the best thing is you want more. And even better wanting more is not the end of the world or more to the point the end of your sense, as the beer is modest in strength. Fucking perfect.