Arbor, Blue Sky Drinking – 4.4 %, £2.99
Not satisfied with brewing a core range of beers, they’ve often been a hotbed of invention; their array of single-hop ales for one, and the ever entertaining, and often delicious, Freestyle Friday range of beers, where a new recipe or idea is tried out in the brewhouse each Friday.
This week’s beer, however, is one of their core range; a bitter brewed exclusively with British malts and hops.
Nothing imported, no exotic hop varieties or ingredients.
Pouring a deep blood-orange red, with copper highlights, it very much looks the part. The nose is a dusty, dry affair with cocoa, straw, and chestnuts wafting invitingly from the glass. As it is drunk, the first impression is a surge of nutty, biscuit malt flavours that fill the mouth before fading to a much lighter, clean finish; this is not a buttery, cloying bitter, but something much more refined.
The finish is grassy, with a real punch of orange pith to it that works in tandem with the nutty malt to mount a substantial bitter parting shot. Light bodied and peppery, Blue Sky Drinking is an excellent session bitter, and a good point of entry for the uninitiated – for those already hooked on the good stuff, keep an eye on their Freestyle Friday and other brews.
Recommended by Michael Bates, Trembling Madness, 48 Stonegate, York Twitter: @tremblingmad