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Take a Bath

Bath AlesI’ve sampled a few different beers from Bath Ales over the past month or two, and so I thought it was worth jotting down a few notes and thoughts about them.  They have all been bottled versions of the beers, as unfortunately we don’t see the cask versions in our area – or at least I never have, but then perhaps I drink in the wrong places, or have not managed to catch them as guest ales.  I’ve enjoyed all of them, so I’ll be looking out for them in the pubs that I do visit.

Barnstormer (4.5%) – a deep ruby ale, not as dark as a porter or stout, but with a similar taste.  A chocolatey, slightly burnt smell with a bit of caramel – bitter, slightly burnt taste as well, with toffee, dried fruits and maybe a hint of coffee.  Very tasty.

Golden Hare (4.4%) – I’ve really taken to golden ales this year – maybe I’m just falling for the marketing hype, but I do find them light, refreshing and generally very pleasant.  Golden Hare is a full-flavoured light ale, golden in colour as the name suggests, malty, biscuity smell (i.e. it smells like beer!), sharply bitter with a nice long bitter finish.  The bottle notes declare it to be “brimming with condition”, though to the best of my knowledge it is not a bottle-conditioned beer – but then I’m not one of those anal CAMRA types who will only drink bottled beer if it has half an inch of yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle – it’s a good tasty beer, and well worth trying.

Gem (4.8%) – maybe not the jewel in the crown but a very good best bitter nonetheless.  Dark amber, malty, hoppy, and a bitter-sweet taste – maybe a bit sweet for a premium bitter.  I think the cask version at 4.1% would be very drinkable.  As for the bottled version – it’s good, but personally I prefer the other two.

There are a few other beers in the Bath Ales portfolio (including Natural Blonde, a Pilsener-style lager), and I’m hoping to get the opportunity to try those at some point.

I have been known to get upset about brewers who give the impression that they are from somewhere other than where they actually are because it sounds more exotic/trendy/historic (delete where not applicable).  Bath Ales is based in Warmley, just outside the Bristol ring road – but hey, it’s on the Bath side of Bristol so who am I to split hairs (or hares)?

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