I attended a 'Buxton takeover' at North Bar in Leeds recently and got the chance to try four of their beers on cask in one evening, a rare treat in itself, but the thing I enjoyed most about the event was the chance to chat with some guys from the brewery and hear the passion they've got for what they do. These guys know their stuff, and are trying to make the best beer they can, which is a recipe for great beer if ever I heard one.
I also got the chance to pick up some bottles from the brewery. So first up from this brewery are a pair of very different bottle conditioned pales: An English hopped pale ale and an internationally hopped IPA.
The English Pale Ale from Buxton pours a slightly hazy Amber orange with a bubbly White head that laces the glass and clings around. The carbonation is very soft, the closest thing to cask you'll get in a bottled beer. Really mouth filling and lushly thick like a good hand pulled cask beer. In fact this beer has a very cask ale feel to it in general, which I mean as a great compliment, as it definitely suits the style and completely sidesteps the boringness of some British style pales.
The aroma is soft but the closest thing I can get is orange caramel wafers, not overly fruity, just a faint dry orangyness. The flavour is much stronger, with sweet orange and a little bit of herbaceous/orange wheat character initially then comes a big waft of really complex hop character, mixed citrus peel and a huge dryness which is floral and spicy like fresh oregano, as well as grapefruit pith and a very slight limoncello alcohol flavour right at the end. There's also a slightly odd smoky note but it disappears when you look for it, it's both there and not there - like Schrodinger's cat. This beer was brewed as a showcase for English hops and it achieves its aim perfectly.
It's a very complicated beer but also very drinkable, one you can pay attention to and enjoy exploring or simply sit back and enjoy.
This pours a thick, hazy deep orange colour, with a small head that dissipates to a thick ring but sticks around.
This smells massively fruity with a big aroma of grapefruit and sweet orange, really inviting. The flavour is a nice balance of sweetness and tartness, with orange and grapefruit flavour following through from the aroma plus a touch of lime and a faint dry oatmeal biscuit note. It becomes even more dry as you swallow but its not that huge crippling dryness that some double IPAs display.
All in all it remains pretty balanced for the style. There's a slight alcohol slickness to the mouthfeel and a definate warmth but no burn or harshness and unless you look for it the ABV is hidden well. It's a lovely double IPA thats really drinkable and super tasty, what more could you want?
These Buxton beers do something very difficult. They are both complex and hugely drinkable. You can concentrate and enjoy the depth of flavour, or simply sit back, drink them and enjoy. Which is exactly what I'll be doing with the next bottle of either of these little lovelies.
I was kindly passed a few bottles by the guys at Buxton during the North Bar event, but you can buy their beers from a number of places around the country, some of which are listed here: http://www.buxtonrealale.co.uk
If you live in Leeds then Beer Ritz have Buxton beers in stock too.