Name – Best Bitter.
Brewer – St. Peter's.
Classification – Bitter. (Marvel at the irony!)
Strength – 3.7% ABV.
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Fine, ancient teak furniture. Lovely.
On the nose – Tantalising fruity malts.
On the tongue – Elegant, unfussy hops and malts - surprisingly robust hops for its strength.
On the subject – Suffolk based St Peter's are well known for their highly distinctive bottles, and they also happen to produce some highly distinctive ales. 90% of those ales are shipped in bottles. These then, are bottled beer specialists.
On the market – Ever increasing national presence. Retailers large and small are joining in – but where better than the brewery's online shop.
On the whole – 8/10
'Hopping' is an art.
Or rather, it is one artistic part of a much greater artistic whole – the brewing of good beer.
In theory, all art requires artists to bring it into being, and it is fair to say - on the evidence contained in this bottle - that the folks at St. Peter's are certainly artists, and they have 'brought into being' a bitter which has been hopped with considerable artistic flair.
There is a sense of modest superiority to the bitterness of this beer, and its carefully balanced relationship with some rich, buttery malts makes for an intensely satisfying drink experience.
It's not overly complex, relying instead on the two mainstays of contemporary ale – those very same hops and malts – but these have all been selected, gathered and assembled with such skill that they leave no real need of further character points.
It is of 'session' strength, too – meaning many of these can be enjoyed back to back and, my word, how that notion appeals.
But this beer's strength also makes me wonder if the term 'Best' might have started to lose it's way a little. I feel sure that Best used to signify higher strength than 'Ordinary Bitter' or just plain old 'Bitter' - but 3.7% would appear to leave little room for a yet weaker bitter to appear in the range. So, shouldn't that really make this 'St. Peter's Bitter'?
Having said that, when a brew tastes as good as this - what better name is there than 'Best.'
There are more from the St Peter's range to come here on The Year, but as a first impression – this brew has laid down an extremely strong marker.
This really is bitter at its best.
This really is best bitter.