This weekend the drinkers at the Star have been treated to a couple of excellent beers that have been weaker than our usual fayre but both have been comparable with anything we have drunk in recent times.
Goose Eye 'Spring Wells' was the first. Unusual for the brewery this came in at 3.6% rather than their more usual 4.2% or 4.3% offerings, but even allowing for the drop in strength there has been no skimping on flavour. The beer was bursting with hop flavour, I am not sure of the hops used but they gave a massive grapefruit hit, but with enough malt background to make a really well balanced drink. And the strength made sure that you could risk another, and another....and then it ran off!! It is good to see the brewery back to their prime, as a couple of months ago they seemed to be concentrating on more malty, biscuity beers.
Just as I was bemoaning the Goose Eye running off, and debating whether to bribe the last purchaser to buy his beer off him, I was more than impressed by its replacement. Church End 'Low Rider' appeared on the bar, I bought it blind before even reading the pump clip, which showed the confidence I have in the brewery's output. I rarely find a poor Church End beer. And I was not disappointed. This time, closer inspection revealed a 2.8% beer, 2.8% with masses of flavour. I have had the occasional beer before at this strength, and found them ok, but lacking in something. This certainly was not lacking anything. Again well balanced, with a background strong enough to hold the hop flavours. The hops certainly came to the fore and made the beer drink well stronger than the gravity suggested. Another one to look out for.
So with the summer approaching, or maybe the rain will just be warmer, possibly there will be a move back to weaker, more session strength beers, which I for one would welcome to balance the stronger beers that seem to have taken over bars in recent months.