Thursday, 16 December 2010

Day Twenty, Beer Twenty - Naylor's "Pinnacle Bitter"

Today's Beer

Name – Pinnacle Bitter

Brewer – Naylor's

Classification – Bitter (...I'm very pleased to say. See below.)

Strength – 3.9% ABV

Verdict - At A Glance

On the eye – Rich chestnut. An elegant, even handsome beer.

On the nose – Understated buttery malts. Very pleasant.

On the tongue – Deceptively potent impact all round for a beer of this strength. Are they sure it's 3.9%...?

On the subject – Since forming in 2005, Naylor's of Keighley have grown out of the Old White Bear pub and some 'novelty ales' into a serious beer force to be reckoned with.

On the market – A growing local presence, but best bet is online – try BeerRitz or PottersYorkhireAles.

On the whole7/10

Full Review

I'm not suggesting that the lads and lasses over at Naylor's Brewery are a bunch of stinking liars, but it really is very difficult to believe their assertion that this beer comes in at under 4% ABV.

If they are indeed on the level – as I'm almost certain they are – then this is certainly one punchy session beer, and one which also served to remind me why many brewers still prefer to call their ales 'bitter'. The Cascade and Perle hops come together almost like a couple of Kray Twins – they menace and beguile the tongue with their sinister charm and, quite frankly, they're a pleasure to be bullied by.

I like the name 'bitter', and I'm glad this beer wears the title with such pride. Sometimes, I sense there's a shared instinct among brewers to steer clear of the word, perhaps fearing an association with the outdated images which for so long kept the trade in the shadows.

'Ale' is very much the super-sub word these days, and it is often brought onto the field to solve various problems that arise from being overly specific. But sometimes us punters like a bit of specificity. It does, after all, help us decide what to drink of an evening. These days, 'Ale' – though it is a most wonderful and wondrous word without question – says almost nothing about what we should expect from a brew. Almost anything can go by this name, and until it's in our mouths we're none the wiser.

'Bitter', however – by it's very definition – leaves us in almost no doubt at all about the ballpark we are about to drink ourselves into. Those ales with 'Bitter' on the front are brave enough and decent enough to be open with us about what to expect.

Being one of those beers declaring itself as a bitter, Pinnacle Bitter then goes right ahead and delivers on the promise. It makes that delivery in very fine style too, I should add.

Ultimately, this is not an entirely hop-based performance. There is a decent malt undertone providing an excellent cameo to the stars of the show, a show which in my opinion is a sure fire hit.

In fact, I urge you to reserve your seats right now before every ticket is sold.

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