Thursday, 27 March 2014

Baa Baa Black Sheep Have You Any Ale?

So the other half came home with a couple of beers on the weekend.

"They're English ales" he said.
"You can write about them for Vinspire" he said.
 I suspect his intentions we not entirely focused on the 'tasting' of beer for journalistic purposes, but nonetheless he did stumble across a couple of beauties, I'll grant him that. So Sunday became beer day and these two ales from Black Sheep Brewery in the Yorkshire Dales - a delightful corner of the country - went down a treat. And yes, I did get a look in.

Since 1992, the Black Sheep Brewery have been producing beers from their home in North Yorkshire through traditional brewing processes, time-honoured methods and what they call their special ingredients:

"Crystal clear Yorkshire Dales water from our own well
Maris Otter malted barley for extra flavour
Some wheat to fortify our Beer’s natural head
A little roasted malt for colour and flavour
Generous amounts of whole English hops which make our beer so refreshing"

Apart from a few batches of home-brew, I don't really know a lot about beer brewing, so best check out their website for a little bit more info on the processes they use. What I can tell you is that the result is high-quality - that's clear even for a relative beer novice like me.

With a nice little portfolio of bottled beers, special brews, seasonal beers and cask ales, there's something from Black Sheep to tickle even the most discerning beer monster. Having only scratched the surface with just two from their range, Black Sheep will be pleased to know I'll be going back for more. Here's the verdict...

Golden Sheep, Premium Golden Ale, 4.7% abv

Light and dry, this golden ale is refreshing, and abundant with citrussy hops. It's lovely and light in the glass, with just enough head when poured and erring towards lager like qualities. Best served chilled (of course!), I'm thinking it would go down quite a treat with a juicy burger - the clean amber cutting through the beef. That, or cheese. Beer is lovely with cheese.

Wanna know a secret? The Golden Sheep was first brewed in 2005 as a Tesco's Finest* product so you may well have tried it in disguise!

All Creatures, Bright & Beautiful, Yorkshire Pale Ale, 4% abv

The newbie to their bottled beer range, but much-loved in the cask version for the last two years, this is another Yorkshire pale ale. The pretty green label stands out on the shelf, and the contents do not disappoint. A little more hoppy than the Golden Sheep, the flavours here are fuller, more complex and perhaps closer to what you might expect of an IPA with a dry bitterness. Easy to drink on its own, it might also make a good match for fish and chips (who needs Champagne!).

So far so good, and Black Sheep Brewery gets two thumbs up. The better news? These two are both available on supermarket shelves and are currently included in a 4 for £6.00 beer promotion at Tesco (until 8th April), or can be purchased individually for £1.97 for a 500ml bottle.

There's only one thing left to say..."To the baa....r!"

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