Name – Barnstormer
Brewer – Bath Ales
Classification – Dark Bitter
Strength – 4.5% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – The last moments of late summer twilight. A very nice looking beer.
On the nose – Smells like my favourite granny's larder. That's a good thing.
On the tongue – A mass brawl for the tongues attention, from which there are winners...eventually.
On the subject – Bath Ales are expanding rapidly. I'll resist saying they are 'breeding like rabbits' because that's not a rabbit on their company logo. It's a hare.
On the market – Supermarkets are going increasing loopy over this company. Buying direct is still very much an option.
On the whole – 8/10
Every once in a while, I find myself getting into a bit of a muddle about 'dark bitters'.
I'll see that they're in stock, and then fail to find a good enough reason to choose them over a stout or a porter. I mean, if you're feeling inclined to 'go dark', then why not do it properly? - that's the sort of mentality I can develop from time to time.
With their 'Barnstormer', Bath Ales have come up with pretty good means of freeing-up such mental blocks in the future.
The fact is, this perky beer is a prime example of precisely why dark bitters are different beast altogether from the stouts and porters of this world (not to mention the German Schwarzbiers) and it has left me doubting that I'll ever get in a muddle about this matter ever again.
It's the texture and the complexity of beers like this which set them apart from these other varieties.
Barnstormer's lightweight, warm biscuit depth becomes a stomping ground for a whole host of other mischievous lesser flavour themes, which race around – much like the brewery's emblematic hare – all over your mouth.
This is a busy drink. There's a certain impatience in the brew – it's as though all these many flavours were in competition to appeal to your taste buds. The winners on this occasion were steamed Bramley apple, sweet potato and, unless I'm very much mistaken – aubergine.
It really is a fine example of this particular beer variety, and I offer it my personal thanks for saving me from any further periods of dark bitter-based bewilderment.