One of the greater things about watching football in America is that most matches, especially those of the EPL, are early in the morning American time, giving people an excuse to day drink. This is part of our series discussing exactly what to drink when you’re at the pub, presented by our resident homebrewer, Keith
The Beer: Monty Python’s Holy Grail Black Knight’s Reserve, Black Sheep Brewery, Masham, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
The Pub: The Queen Vic, in northeast DC
What You Need to Know: We covered Black Sheep Brewing’s history in the Yorkshire Dales previously in this space. In 1999, the brewery was contracted by the famed British comedy troupe to recognize their 30th anniversary year. Holy Grail Pale Ale was the result, and soon after the brewery added a Black Knight’s Reserve, a “Dark Yorkshire Ale (read:brown ale).”
Oddly enough, we have NOT reviewed a basic brown ale here. We have done its precursor, the mild, however. According to Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster Garrett Oliver’s excellent The Brewmaster’s Table, brown ale was originally the workingman’s beer, as brown ale malts were cheaper to produce than a typical pale malt. Oliver continues, “In northern England, where people imagined themselves made of stronger stuff than affluent southerners, a hefty version of the style developed.” The split between Northern and Southern brown ales still does cut similarly along flavor profiles, with Northern a little drier and stronger than its sweet Southern cousin.
So, About this Beer: Pours deep brown with an ecru head. Tropical fruit and mineral on the aroma. Light carbonation and medium mouthfeel. Nutty roast flavors dominate, with just a soupçon of dark chocolate. Nice mineral snap on the back end, with little to no hop bitterness.
The Verdict: It’s a delightful beer, and would be so even if Becky at the Vic didn’t give me the special vessel pictured. Definitely give it a try.