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After singing the praises of dark weaker beers in this post a couple of days ago, imagine my surprise to be thrilled silly by yet another 3.5% beer, in the same place, in splendid condition and this time pale and clear. I mentioned my circle of trust in that piece and one brewery that is firmly within is Saltaire. The beer that caught your Hero's attention was Saltaire South Island Pale, a delightful little number with all the tropical flavours you'd expect from New Zealand hops and no trace of wateriness whatever. Saltaire's website shows the fantastic range of beers brewed and they rarely disappoint. Unfortunately the website is remarkably uninformative about what actual hops are used on this occasion, so a point off for that, but it displayed the usual mango, lychee and soft, easy citrus that you'd expect from NZ hops. It gives my old favourite Windermere Pale a run for its money - and in my book, you can't say fairer than that.

That said, into each life a little rain must fall. Heading back to the bus station, we called into the Regal Moon. I had only time for one pint and wanted a contrast to the excellent pale beer above. I had enjoyed Old Moor Porter earlier for its earthy complexity and for a change, despite the inner Tandleman saying "This will be a mistake", I ordered a pint of Butcombe Porter. Now I have always thought Butcombe as the kind of beer that to this writer at least, is dull as ditch-water. It was. The porter showed no character or prominent flavours whatever. A typical Butcombe beer in other words.

I should have listened to myself. I always talk sense.

In case you haven't got the message, Butcombe are NOT in my circle of trust, but my mate Derek thought it OK.