The increased amount of football action in the telly this week has meant one thing: an increased amount of times in pubs, drinking good beers with good mates and doing quite a lot of chuntering. The League Playoffs and Europa League final have been excellent this year, and Mr Capello's final unveiling of England's provisional World Cup Squad have provided a splendid backdrop to a torrent of beer-tinged analysis. Nerdy, I know, but that's how I roll, as they say. But this is a beer blog, so here's the beers that have really stood out for me this week.
Firstly, kudos to The Victoria for getting some Breconshire Red Dragon (4.7% abv) in. When you find Welsh beer in Leeds it tends to be the various permutations of Brains - so let's have some more. Red Dragon impressed me in the bottle and on draught it's slightly more restrained. However, those malty, slightly fruit-cakey flavours are there in spades and it remains a filling, moreish beer. Five Town's Callum's Best (4.6%abv) - another dark mild, but on the fruitier side, body-wise - is light and seriously quaffable. No nonsense, quality beer indeed.
More complex was Goff's Tradition (4.0%abv). My drinking buddies declared it '...Quite like TT Landlord' and I nodded in agreement - copper in colour, but with a sticky-toffee body and a distinctly floral nose that I think the Landlord comparison was borne of. This was my first Goff's beer, and If you like TTL (and who doesn't?) then , yeah, give this a whirl.
Another solid pale (and another brewery I hadn't tried before) was Bowland's Hen Harrier (4.0% abv). Paler still, with a dry, lemony finish, this brought a cheeky smile to my face. It was balanced pretty well and for a robust, straightahead Pale Ale was very flavourful indeed, yet remained drinkable to the end.
One oddity stuck out though - Caledonian's Flying Dutchman (4.3%abv). Advertised as a Wit, it's actually nothing of the sort if you're expecting a traditional Wit. Amber in colour, with a thick, juicy, biscuity/wheaty mouthfeel, it's a tough one to nail down. There's tonnes of biscuit in the body, but a distinctly gingery nose and dry, bitter finish. I couldn't decide whether I liked it or not, but I guess the fact that I'm writing about it means it stuck in my mind....one to try again, I think.