lagerIs there anything more pleasant than being thrown a beery curveball? The lack of anticipation lowering that guard; the lack of anticipation letting you experience something fresh, without preconception, without hyperbole. This is what life outside the bubble must be like…

Me, I’m a man who doesn’t leave much to chance, especially over the holidays. Time off (anything really; work, kids, blogging, writing, exercise, anything) is precious these days, and I want things to go right. Everything correct and in its place. Anchor Christmas takes pride of place in the Yuletide roll-call; but this year’s edition leaves me cold – in fact, I couldn’t finish it. Harsh, unloved and astringent, this was the first year that I actually poured some of it away.

I’m sure you all got bought beer for Christmas, too. Boxes of the stuff will be sitting around for weeks yet; I’ll get through it though, no fear. A package from Booth’s (as in, bought from Booth’s by a relative) contained not one, but two complete curveballs. First up, Broughton’s Organic Lager (5% abv). Those that know me know I’m a bit of a Lager nerd; constantly on the quest for a UK one that lives up to style – and therefore- billing. You know, this one’s pretty good; the key is the finish. It has to be snappy. I find so many UK Lagers simply too sweet –  by some long margins.

Broughton’s retains a keen balance; the nose doesn’t really give much away apart from really rich, creamy malt – which is so rich as to be a little disconcerting – but that lightly toasted malt note reduces in the body where it eventually diminishes into a relatively snappy, flinty finish. Brightly gold and with a sustaining condition throughout the glass, it’s one of the better attempts at a style that we’ve yet to nail in the UK.

IMG_1294Booth’s 1847 Ale (6% abv) was brewed by Hawkshead Brewery, which should have served as a portent of the quality within. After teaming up in the summer for their excellent beer festival, Hawskhead not only stepped up to the plate for this commission but knocked the ball out of the park. Coal-black with a yuletide red streaking through it, 1847 delivered every flavour that I expected of the Anchor Christmas; Raisin, Rum, Plum, Almond and Molasses topped off with a defined, pine-led hop finish. The balance of flavour is really quite something; there’s so much going on but the way the beer flips between moreish and robust to refreshing and clean within one sip is quite astounding.

I will take this opportunity to plead Hawkshead to brew more. Next year, if this reappears, I’ll be buying a case. Or three.



About leighgoodstuff

Blog: I'm Leigh Linley; born and bred in Leeds, and writing about it since 2005. TGS exists solely to highlight the great beers that are out there; brewed with passion by Craft Brewers around the World. I also edit the 'Tavern Tales' section of Culture Vulture, which looks at Pubs and Pub Life rather than the beer in the glass.

Posted on 01/01/2014, in Beer Review and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Have you had Windsor & Eton republican? That’s a decent UK lager and what about Camden hell?

    • Hi Steve. Yep, had both – in fact, I’d go as far as to say i generally seek out most Lagers that crop up in the UK. I didnt say that there was *no* decent lager, just that there wasn’t that much. Repulika is good, nice and dry, but Camden’s just a shade on the sweet side. My favourites are Taddington Moravka (keg only, usually found around the midlands and the north) and Thornbridge’s Tzara – an excellent Kolsch-style.

  2. Yes, just had a bottle of the Booths 1847 Special myself and totally agree with your comments. Really rich, almost wine like flavours (ok I know i am not great at spotting flavour),, but it reminded me of a fortified wine, then back to the refreshing hop flavours that you would want in a beer A Christmas masterpiece. Still on sale at Booths in Ilkley, but I suspect for not much longer.

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