Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been slowly working my way through a selection of beers from the Bristol Beer Factory.
I thought now might be a nice time to write about them as so many other people will be concentrating on their 12 Stouts Of Christmas.
What I know about the brewery comes from their website,
“Brewing has been part of Bristol’s history for over 250 years and following many takeovers by national brewers and the resultant closure of many of Bristol’s more prominent breweries it’s down to the small independent breweries such as Bristol Beer Factory to keep brewing alive in Bristol.”
The brewery try as much as possible to use only local ingredients, making many of their beers taste very English indeed.
So without any further ado, here are the beers as I saw them.
Some good and some not so.
I opened the bottle, poured the chestnut brown beer into a glass, took a sip and was completely blown away.
A traditional English best bitter?
I wish all bitters were like this.
This is the best English bitter.
Rich, warm caramels and gorgeous thick toffee apples.
This all served on a brilliantly baked digestive biscuit laced with liquorice and sprinkled with a touch of good dark rum and raisin chocolate.
There’s a tamarind tartness, and even the use of Fuggles (god forbid) feels right.
This is how bitter should taste.
Delicious honey hued beer with a light head.
There’s just enough fizz to excite and a lovely and delightful mix of soft shortbread biscuit and English runny honey in the malts.
In fact there’s a background touch of heather from the play of hop against malt.
Which brings me on to the hopping.
Sharp, astringent citrusy lemon peel that continues into a dry, more-ish finish.
Milk Stout (4.5%)
Deep and dark and rich and mysterious.
Lots and lots of digestive malts, slivers of dark chocolate and a bunch of red berries.
The hops are subtle but crisp with hints of autumnal leaves and flashes of elderberry wine dryness.
An enjoyable drink.
Bristol Vintage 2011 (6.6%)
Now this is a deep and complicated brew.
Lovely fresh yeasty smell.
Dense, treacle laced woody backbone.
Liquorice and tamarind provide body, sweetness and bitter heat.
Somewhere in here there’s dark chocolate and a smack of coffee grounds.
Then there’s the hopping.
Floral, leafy, long, dry and grassy.
Bristol Stout (4%)
I’d say this I’d a mild rather than a stout.
Soft smokey toffee body, a little hit of coffee and a handful of chocolate coated raisins.
The hopping is Parma violet and bitter and dry.
Southville Hop (6.5%)
Pours a lively amber colour and has a lovely lively zing.
There’s a slight and highly pleasent blue cheese aroma.
You get a mouthful of bananas and custard.
Rich and thick.
There’s a definite dairy creaminess to the body which provides a decent platform for the hops.
And man alive, the hops are MASSIVE!
An entire pink grapefruit is squeezed over your tongue, followed by lemon and lime zest, leaving an eye wateringly long, dry finish.
I was surprised that this beer poured without any head at all and sat very flat in the glass.
The beer is deep and dark and brown and looks inviting.
Full of flavour, there’s a deep, rich body of liquorice, tamarind, chocolate & berries.
A lively burst of prune juice hits you just before the subtle hopping leads you to the end.
What lets this beer down for me is there’s just no fizz, no sparkle.
Perhaps I got a bad bottle?
Bristol Hefe (4.8%)
I’m not a big fan of wheat beers and this doesn’t swing it for me.
Big hit of bananas on the first mouthful followed by mace notes and a large sticky flavour not unlike the herbal sweets your grandfather used to buy.
It’s that porridgy milky thickness that puts me off.
Decent crispness to the end.
Ultimate Stout (7.7%)
This beer sits in the glass like dark matter. Super heavy looking & other worldly.
The flavour is quite astonishing.
Thick and rich and dark and deep.
Plums soaked in rum, dark chocolate covered raisins.
There’s a hint of fresh vanilla pod, a snatch of all spice and then the lovely soft hedgerow flavours of the hops.
Not far off the ultimate stout.