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X marks the spot

theakston-xb-bottlePerhaps “XB hits the spot” might be better.  This is Theakston XB (4.5%).  It’s a ruby coloured beer, quite a rich and full-bodied.  A very hoppy smell, and a bitter, slightly caramel taste – very nice.

A couple of interesting points about this beer – the first concerns the beer’s name.  Apparently, at the time when the brewery were deciding what to call their new beer, they used to stencil the side of the casks – Best Bitter was stencilled with “BBB” and Old Peculier was stencilled with “XXXX”.  Being Yorkshiremen, and not wanting to have to acquire a new stencil, they decided it would be either “BX” or “XB” – and “XB” it became!  Note – being a Yorkshireman myself, I’m allowed to use the  stereotype of Yorkshire folk being mean!  Anyone who is not from Yorkshire – well, who cares what they think anyway?

The other point is more about the brewery.  The XB bottle proudly states “under old management”.  The brewery was, for a few years, out of the hands of the Theakston family – it was taken over in 1984 by Matthew Brown of Blackburn, and in 1987 they, themselves, were taken over by Scottish & Newcastle.  In 2003 control of the brewery was regained by 4 Theakston brothers – a rare instance of a brewery going from being owned by one of the big brewers to being family-owned.  Details of the brewery’s history are on the Theakston website.

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