This has been a busy week on the beer front, and so there has been plenty of opportunity to select a beer of the week. The only problem has been there has been too much choice, and this was not helped by a Friday trip to the Bradford Beer Festival.
Normally I am not too impressed by the Bradford Festival, but this year, after hearing about the choice of beer and seeing the list it would have been a no brainer not to visit. The beer selection concentrated on beer from West Yorkshire, Scotland and Derbyshire. The selection threw out 12 new breweries for me and plenty of new beers. Many of the Scottish beers were from unusual, or rare breweries, so they were first on the list, but many of the West Yorkshire beers were from breweries that had only recently started brewing, or were brewpubs not often see outside their home ground.
Timothy Taylors chose here to launch their new regular beer, ' Knowle Spring Blonde'. A light 4.2% offering. I would like to try it away from the festival before I make a proper judgement but although a pleasant enough beer it was a little sweet for my taste. So that was not beer of the week. Sadly neither was John o'Groats 'Shelkie', which ought to have got it for rarity value if nothing else, but a bit too 'scottish' (!!) for my liking. In fact to select a beer of the week from the festival would be a little unfair. Many beers I sampled were good but may be the festival situation meant they lacked that 'wow' factor, so that left me the rest of the week to choose from.
One contender was a keg version of a beer from another new brewery, Beak 'Export Porter' is 7.2% and, in spite of my reservations of dark beer on keg, it was excellent, and on other weeks would have run away with the title. However my beer does come from my Leeds trip, where I found Vibrant Forest ' Black Oktober' on cask.
It is an irregular beer from the Hampshire brewery, and, you would never have guessed, is an Imperial Russian Stout. At 9% it is rich and dark, packed with flavour,every mouthfull brings something different; treacle, chocolate, coffee, and there is a bitter edge there too. Complex but wonderful. And available at Mr Foleys on the Headrow.