One of the breweries that has rarely featured on this site is Sam Smiths of Tadcaster. There are several reasons for this but two of the most obvious are the lack of variety of their cask beers, in fact, there is just the one 'Old Brewery Bitter', and the shortage of Sam's pubs in which to drink it.
It is a well known fact that to find the beer outside their own pubs is a rarity, so to find it involves a trip to one of their tied houses. It is worth hunting out though, a decent beer, and it is more often than not sold at a decent price. But this is not about the draught beer but rather about something that I discovered yesterday on the bottled beer list at Tilleys in Newcastle.
I am not a drinker of bottled beers, so I rarely peruse the lists in pubs but having nothing better to do whilst sipping my beer I glanced through the list at Tilleys and was surprised to discover some Sam Smiths bottled beer there. Surprised on more than one level; initially, to see it outside their own pubs, secondly, to see that the brewery, which I had always considered fiercely traditional, had kept up with the times. The list contained four of their bottled fruit beers.
This prompted further investigation and provided further surprises. There are only four fruit beers on their list, so Tilleys had them all. There are apricot, cherry, strawberry and raspberry varieties, which seem to cover quite a range of tastes. I had to try one, so I sampled the raspberry. It was not bad, not quite my thing, but I can see the appeal, especially for the fairer sex, with the initial tart background - sorry bad use of word! - giving way to a residual sweetness. But had I compromised myself by drinking a non cask product?
Well, it appears not after checking their web site. The beer has quite an interesting history. It is finished off at Sam's but starts life at the All Saints brewery in Stamford, handcrafted using organic barley and wheat, where it undergoes initial and secondary fermentation, and then transported to Tadcaster to be mixed with the appropriate fruit juices and bottled.
If you come across it, and fancy something a little different, give it a try. It does not break the bank and is a pleasant drink on a warm afternoon. I may even try another one soon.