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New Beer’s Resolutions; what are yours? Mine is simply to drink from regions I’m not too familiar with; and I’m not talking about globally – i’m talking about the UK. It occurred to me just before*Christmas*that there were whole regions in the UK that I generally had little awareness of, from pubs to beer. I probably knew more about certain parts of the US, which is disgusting, really.
So, online we go to buy more beer, I guess. The first brewery to pop up on my radar was The Old Dairy – about as bucolic-sounding as you can get. Brewed by Ed Wray (who also blogs regularly at Eds Beer Site),*the labels catch the eye with a trio of leaning, slightly drunk-looking cows and has beers named with word ‘Top’ after them – something readers of a certain age who remember daily milk deliveries at dawn will crack a little smile at.
I first tasted Fresh Hop in Autumn last year, a pleasant surprise in a box of mixed beer I was bought as a present. As the name suggests, it certainly is about the hops here; that sharp, bold, brassy Kentish hop profile giving the beer a sharp finish. The beer only weighed in at 4% abv but left you in no doubt in the flavour stakes; that boldness carries onto the body which abounded with cereals and biscuit. *Crisp, clean and well-balanced, it’s a supremely refreshing pint.
Flipping the style guide over, I opted for a bottle of Silver Top (love these names), a Cream Stout. If a brewery called The Old Dairy can’t nail a ‘Cream Stout’ then they need to pack up and go home; but Ed won’t need to get the suitcase out yet. Enjoyed as the temperatures dipped and over the course of a massively entertaining cup game betwixt Bradford and Aston Villa, it certainly hit the spot. The condition was excellent; the brimming pint glass topped off with a frothy, tan head that invited you to stick your face in and drink deep. Chocolate buttons and smooth, sweet roasted malt dominate the body, and, as the sip goes on, a welcome wave of bubbles lifts it all up into a subtly crisp finish, stopping this sweet stout being cloying and finishing it off cleanly instead.
I enjoyed both beers*immensely, and will be getting my hands on the rest of The Old Dairy’s range as the year goes on. Good work, guys.