Burton Bridge Brewery
“Why”, you're no doubt wondering, “is there a review of a beer on the West Midland Bird Club's website?” The answer is simple, and the reason two-fold: it's brewed ‘on our patch’, at the Burton Bridge Brewery , Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire; and it features a rather smart male Blackbird, eating a blackberry (or bramble-berry), on the label. So I thought I'd better buy a bottle and review it. The things I do for this club!
Bramble Stout is a bottle-conditioned beer; in other words, it has live yeast in the bottle which (if you don't shake it up before pouring — not recommended!) forms a sediment, or crust. In fact, it's the brewery's award-winning ‘Top Dog’ Stout, using Challenger hops, and Pale and Chocolate malts, but with added blackberry juice, for a touch of sweetness. Bottle-conditioned beer is the take-home equivalent of real ale, and, kept well, is far superior to the more commonly-available, pasteurised, varieties.
My 500ml bottle cost me £2.39 from a local, independent specialist retailer — not as cheap as the nearby supermarket's beer, but the indie's going rate for out-of-the ordinary liquid delicacies. The aforesaid label illustration is well-drawn, and true to life, in both the bird's appearance and behaviour.
It's primarily a winter beer, though there is some summer brewing. It's certainly a dark, heavy beer — though not as heavy as many stouts — and is ideal for contemplative enjoyment, perhaps as one reads a good bird book, or pours (sorry!) over one's recent field notes, rather than being a quaffable thirst-quencher for a hot day in the field.
It has a long-lasting, milky-tea-coloured head and good lacing on the glass. The blackberry taste is muted if not hidden — it certainly doesn't taste of fruit in the way that a Belgian Kriek does, nor is it like a beery alcopop. There's just enough fruity sweetness there to take the dry edge off the stout, without overpowering it. There's a wonderfully deep aftertaste, too, with hints of dark chocolate.
It's not surprising to read that Bramble Stout won The Society of Independent Brewers' National Bottled Beer award for 2005, or that The Oxford Bottle Beer Database's reviewer gave it eight marks out of ten. Why not try it, and make up your own mind?
Now, all I have to do is to persuade our Hon. Treasurer that I should be able to claim regular supplies on expenses…
Please remember that opinions expressed are those of the individual reviewer, and not necessarily the West Midland Bird Club.
Ornithology in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire & the West Midlands county, since 1929.
Fetched fromon Monday 20 May 2013 17:48:01
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