What is a good real ale?

Answered by Willie Powers

A good real ale is a beer that is brewed using traditional methods and has undergone a secondary fermentation in the cask, resulting in a natural carbonation. It is typically served at cellar temperature, around 12-14 degrees Celsius, to allow the flavors to fully develop. Real ales are often referred to as “live” beers because they are still fermenting and evolving even after they have been packaged.

One of the best real ales that I have come across is Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter. This beer has a rich amber color and a balanced flavor profile. It has a malty backbone with notes of caramel and toffee, complemented by a subtle hop bitterness. The carbonation is soft and gentle, contributing to a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. It is a great beer to enjoy with hearty pub food or on its own.

Another fantastic real ale is Oakham Ales Citra. As the name suggests, this beer is brewed using the Citra hop variety, which imparts a beautiful tropical fruit aroma and flavor. It has a golden color and a clean, crisp taste. The Citra hops provide a refreshing citrus character with hints of grapefruit, mango, and passionfruit. It is a wonderfully hoppy beer that is perfect for hop enthusiasts.

Tiny Rebel Cwtch is another real ale that deserves recognition. This Welsh beer is a red ale with a deep copper color. It has a complex malt profile with notes of caramel, biscuit, and roasted nuts. The hop bitterness is well-balanced, adding a pleasant bite to the beer. Cwtch is a beer that is full of character and depth, making it a great choice for those who enjoy more robust flavors.

Thornbridge Jaipur is a real ale that stands out for its bold hoppy characteristics. It is an India Pale Ale (IPA) that has won numerous awards for its exceptional quality. It has a pale golden color and a strong hop aroma, with hints of tropical fruit, pine, and citrus. The flavor is intensely hoppy, with a solid malt backbone that provides balance. Jaipur is a beer that is not for the faint-hearted, but rather for those who appreciate a beer with a big hop punch.

For those who enjoy a touch of decadence, Thornbridge Cocoa Wonderland is a real ale that is worth trying. This beer is a chocolate porter that is brewed with cocoa and vanilla. It has a deep black color and a rich, velvety texture. The cocoa adds a luxurious chocolate flavor, while the vanilla adds a subtle sweetness. It is a beer that is perfect for sipping on a cold winter evening or as a dessert beer.

Salopian Darwin’s Origin is a real ale that showcases the skill and craftsmanship of the brewer. It is a golden ale with a light, crisp taste. The hop character is prominent, with floral and citrus notes. It has a smooth and refreshing mouthfeel, making it a great choice for those who prefer lighter, more easy-drinking beers. Darwin’s Origin is a great example of a well-executed real ale that is satisfying and enjoyable.

These are just a few examples of the many excellent real ales available. The beauty of real ales lies in their diversity and the passion of the brewers behind them. Whether you prefer a traditional bitter, a hop-forward IPA, or a rich and indulgent porter, there is a real ale out there to suit your taste. So, explore, experiment, and discover the wonderful world of real ales. Cheers!