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While in Leeds on Christmas Eve, I took my wallet in my hands and nipped into Zak Avery's shop for a quick peruse. I bought four bottles and had a chat with Ghost Drinker, who seems a very nice chap. All the more so since he recognised me first, though fair enough, I did have an "I am Tandleman" T shirt on.

Two of the bottles remain undrunk and will be saved a for a couple of months, but since they are Schneider Hopfenweisse and are pretty strong, I have no fears for their subsequent drinkability. The other two were from Thornbridge. The first, their Koelsch tastealike, Tzara, described as a Koeln Style Beer and the second, the so very drinkable Kipling. Apart from a bottle of Jaipur when it first came out, I don't believe I've ever had a bottled Thornbridge beer before. Now Koelsch is a beer style I like to think I know a little about, so how does Tzara measure up? Pretty well actually. It has the appealing freshness and clarity of taste that singles good koelsch out, though perhaps, perversely, it is a little bit too good, being what Koelsch ought to be rather than what it usually is. Nonetheless it is a great beer, not over carbonated, smooth and tasty, with just that hint of fruitiness and that noble German hop finish that should mark it out. And does. Overall I wouldn't mind buying a few of these again if I could get them locally at a decent price.

What about Kipling. Again it is the clarity of taste that appeals. Full of tropical flavours and each one pin sharp in a beer that translates brilliantly to bottle. If you want to know more, buy a pint of Kipling, or purchase a bottle with confidence. Well worth the money spent I have to say. Someone at Thornbridge has got this bottling game cracked. OK I only had two samples, but boy were they good. They know their stuff there. They have great brewing skills and technique, bring out some tremendous beers and just quietly get on with doing it, which makes me admire them even more.

Have they sorted out cask Jaipur yet though?

Congratulations too to Beer Ritz, for selling such lovely fresh bottles.