I’m slowly working my way through Sainsbury’s Great British Beer Hunt and last night saw two distinctly different tipples in my glass.
The first was Oakham Ales’ Bishop’s Farewell (5%).
I have to say I’m not a huge fan of Oakham’s beers.
I know they’re reasonably local to me and should be supported (and I do) but this is about Really Good Beer and for me Oakham have a tendency to fall a little short.
Bishop’s Farewell is a light summery beer with a sneaky ABV to back it up.
Should be great, right?
From the first mouthful I got a brutal palate scrubbing from the Citra hop lemon monster.
There are some nice summer garden aromas with light malts and hints of breakfast cereal.
It’s not that this is a bad beer, it’s more the case that since making their excellent Citra based beer Oakham seem a bit hung up on using it everywhere.
The second beer of the evening was McMullen Stronghart (7%).
What a different beer experience this was.
Maybe because of the light astringency of the first but this beer is big and bold and meaty and rich.
From the outset you are served rich pudding fruits doused in brandy.
You know those mixed nuts everyone buys at Christmas and then throws away around March?
They’re in here too.
There’s a lovely nuttiness to this beer that tempers the fruitiness beautifully. It’s really cleverly malted which gives an earthy depth and sweet biscuit goodness.
And just when you think the sweetness might be getting overwhelming, the hops have a lovely spicy edge that lead you into a long dry, satisfying finish.
All in all the winner here is Sainsburys.
What a terrific selection they’ve made.
After the sham of Tesco’s in-store beer advertising, Sainsbury should be applauded.