Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Holy Grail?

The search for the perfect pint that keeps all ale-heads on the march from festival to festival from cradle to grave took an unexpected leap in the right direction for this beer badger today. A tip-off from a local drinking acquaintance had me scurrying through the door of Dewsbury's West Riding Refreshment Rooms (Yorkshire's current pub of the year) on a promise of something rather special.

I have never been what beer people refer to as a 'scratcher' (one who trawls the land seeking out previously unsupped ales), but there are one or two almost mythical brews out there whose very mention quickens the pulse when recounted in hushed tones by seasoned imbibers in darkened corners of nicotine stippled snugs.(?!)
At 5.9%, Jaipur IPA from Thornbridge Hall in Derbyshire is such a brew. As you will tell from the ABV this is a proper India Pale Ale, one capable of surviving the couple of months at sea it took to reach the sub-continent back in the days of empire - although this afternoon my money wouldn't be on it surviving more than a couple of hours on the West's bar! Looks wise it is a pale golden coloured beer with a light long lasting head. The beer is crisp and crystal clear with a real sparkle to it. The aroma is predominantly hoppy with a lemony citrus edge and just a hint of freshly mown grass for good measure! There is also a slightly sweet nose reminiscent of that candied peel you can buy for cake decoration. The texture is a little syrupy, but beautifully smooth with a very pleasant mouthfeel. In addition to the citrus notes the taste includes some honey and rounds off to a long lingering bitter finish. This is a complex and exceedingly well balanced beer and probably as close to heaven in a glass as I've ever been outside the USA - indeed even the Fitger's El Nino IPA (see February post) would get a good run for it's money from this puppy.So is it the perfect pint you ask? Well of course not... at least not quite! What I mean is that after nearly 25 years there's no way that my quest is going to end on a damp September afternoon in dingy Dewsbury of all places - let's get real here! Next!

(pics:Thornbridge Brewery & beerintheevening)

1 comment:

Jim Ramsden said...

Tried to send message below to but received a 'failed to deliver' message saying you did not have a account.


I was planning a pub crawl for me and some chums and came across your blog - it was brilliant to be able to read some detailed 'reviews' of pubs in the West Riding.

In particular, you helped with your detailed look at the Leggers Inn, which we enjoyed. There was a rather bizarre counterpoint of a pub with a landlord happily showing off a range of real ales with tasting samples and a 'doof doof' disco for some remarkably drunken local heroes. We sat outside and lapped up the late evening sun.

Our train-based crawl took us to the Riverhead Brewery Tap and Tunnel End Inn, both at/near Marsden followed by the Rat & Ratchet and Grove Inn at Huddersfield then the Leggers Inn at Dewsbury Marina (!) followed by a swift half at WY Licensed Refreshment Rooms prior to taking the train home to Leeds, where we had confirmation of the sad news that the Prince of Wales will be closing within a very short time.

Our favourite of the seven we visited yesterday was the Tunnel End Inn at Marsden, which doesn't (seem to) feature on your site - so many pubs and only one man.
If you get the chance, I strongly recommend it for a visit and you can help spread the word about an absolute gem.
In case you were wondering, I have no connection with the place.

Please keep up the good work.

Best wishes,

Jim Ramsden