166. Black Sheep Best Bitter

Exciting times, once again, as Threehundredbeers hits the road and heads for The North. Today we’re in the tiny village of Bamford in the Peak District.

It’s Sunday and we’re in The Anglers Rest, the community-owned village pub, post office, café, gift shop and of course dry cleaning drop-off point. What’s not to like?

Very little, as it happens. The pub was once under threat, but is currently owned and run by about 300 local residents, reminding me of The Ivy House, another pioneering community-owned favourite, that one a little nearer to my home in South-East London.

The Anglers Rest, Bamford

As per tradition, Threehundredbeers is first to the bar, staking our claim to a barstool before the cagoule-and-muddy-boots hordes arrive for a well-earned pint and a Sunday roast.

The bar is stocked with local treats including beers from Sheffield’s Abbeydale and Bradfield breweries, and—conveniently enough for our ridiculous project—Black Sheep Best from Masham in North Yorkshire.

Black Sheep Best at the Anglers Rest, Bamford

The beer itself? Well, it’s a classic Yorkshire Bitter and you’d be hard pushed to wander around this part of the world without finding a pint of Black Sheep Best in front of you. Not that you’d complain.

It pours a lovely burnished copper colour with a light tan froth on top. It isn’t sparkled here, so we can’t be that far north, after all. The aroma is all woody English hops and tired-but-happy Morris dancers, but it tastes better than that.

Black Sheep Best weighs in at just 3.8% and I’d say that’s reflected in the taste. This is not a strong beer and does not pretend to be. Instead you’ve got a good, sessionable pint. It’s refreshing, if a little light and watery at first, but soon fills the mouth with a huge bitterness, alloyed by a rich, caramel sweetness.

The bitterness builds to an almost numbing level, much to my surprise. You could drink a few of these, as long as it’s in good condition, as it most certainly will be at the Rest.

Threehundredbeers is starting to wonder if we could sneak another one in before the cagoules arrive with their mud-spattered dogs and tired, disagreeable children but let’s not. The Official Threehundredbeers Mother has Sunday dinner in the stove back in the cottage, and some things are more important than beer.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Black Sheep Brewery, Masham, North Yorkshire
Style: Bitters
Strength: 3.8% ABV
Found at: The Anglers Rest, Bamford, Derbyshire
Serving: Cask, pint

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