Thursday, 16 October 2014

Beer Review: Original

Hi-de-hi! Yes, it's another night for reviewing of the brewed stuff and I've gone all the way round back to the mainstream because now the mainstream is pretty darn good when it comes to beers. Not that it beats the littler known stuff (it doesn't) but because the situation with beer is much improved since I was a young warth- no, wait, that was the Lion King. No, it's better than when my Dad drank Red Stripe and called it beer.

Tonight, then, I am drinking Thwaites (or Twats as their sign says after they sacked a bunch of people who were upset about the way they handled it and were still doing basic maintenance before they left - bad show, Twats, bad show) and their Original Best Bitter. Yes, I know that the title is shortened. I don't like long titles and mouthfuls when enjoying a beer.

So, if my combative tone hasn't put you off, you can join me in my mission to review this here ale and learn all the secrets that my tastebuds can unea- no, wait, that's Time Team. Never mind, I shall delve into this brew of Twats... that came out wrong.

Would you like to know more?

At 3.6% ABV, don't expect this one to make you bladdered unless you're aiming for a good number of them. Equally, it will serve well at a meal (I can heartily recommend both barbeques and buffet style meals involved all too much spicy beef pizza) and it will do well for an evening of playing games after the children have gone to bed. Not too heavy on the carbonation, shown by a satisfying but not silly snick on opening and a good head on the pour without it becoming too crazy or hanging around too long. Mainly it serves to slow the pour down, preventing silliness, and look suitably beer-y when you finish.

See, point proven!

Not much of a nose on this one, almost pedestrian, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes all you want from a decent ale is to be, well, an ale and just get on with it. There's a slight malt, a little hops and yeast and then it's just all mingled together. I've said it before about Twats (I still like them as a brewery, it's just too good a joke not to keep repeating) with Wainwright (link), but this smell and feeling evoked by their brews very much reminds me of my youth in pubs and eating meals with the family on days out. These pubs were always out in the sticks and not really tourist traps, they did good enough food, but they also had a kind of homely shabbiness that is missing from the chains today - possibly for the best if serving copious amounts of food at hiked prices - and the smell was very similar to this here brew's.

Taste is exactly as you would expect. There's a balance between the bittering hops and the malt that comes out with neither the victor, rather, like the white and black pawns on the chess problem set by the Doctor for Fenris in Curse of Fenric, they join forces and beat the King. Because, ultimately, this isn't a clever ale and nor does it claim to be, it's a no nonsense ale from a time when mill workers would while away the days at back-breaking labour in the high noise and high-chance-of-getting-respiratory-illness bowels of a mill, retire from the noise to a pub and drink themselves into a stupor with some of their wages before heading home and beating their children to keep 'em on the straight an' narrer. Meanwhile there would be cooking and cleaning to be getting done so as not to show yourselves up with your neighbours and then tin bath in front of the fire, grit fer tea and straight t'bed with a top'n'tail if you were lucky.

Even the aftertaste is very similar to that, no nonsense, and just a straight up memory of the malt and the hops that lingers in a way that is like your mad uncle that keeps coming to the family get togethers even though no one can remember inviting him and that's just how it is.

Enjoy this one as an end of the workday pint. Don't fuss about accompanying with any particular kind of food or company, get in a couple (it's weak enough to stand a session) and let it do the work of delivering enough of the poisonous alcohol to your brain and bloodstream to dull any sense of feeling and/or pain. You won't forget anything, you're unlikely to have a hangover and it's just enough to give you that slight heady feeling that comes from destroying braincells by the tens of thousands. In short, a no nonsense beer that does indeed embody the passing of an era.

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