29 February 2012

Low hopping on leap day

My first post with this datestamp, and a couple of bottles from West Yorkshire's Saltaire brewery.

The chocolate one was my primary target but Saltaire Blonde was on the shelf next to it to I figured I may as well give it a go while I'm at it. It's good, if a little bit solidly by-the-numbers: balanced between the bubblegum malt and the gentle, very slightly metallic, hop bitterness with the hops announcing their presence as soon as the cap came off. It uses Saaz and shows off a little of the golden syrup flavour I always enjoy in Budvar and have met in another Yorkshire blonde: Black Sheep's Golden Sheep. Mostly, however, it's understated and sessionable summer drinking.

The main event was Triple Chocoholic and they're cheating a bit here in trying to get one over on those southern jessies at Wells & Young and their merely Double Chocolate Stout. In fact they're both made with cocoa and chocolate syrup, with Sataire cheekily claiming a chocolate bonus point for the chocolate malt, which Wells & Young also use and which, of course, involves no actual chocolate.

It's a fizzy beer, giving the candy sweetness a dry carbonic bite. There's also a considerable bitterness on the finish as well. While the chocolate provides a gooey candybar middle, the bitter tang and the dry fizz predominate. I don't think I'd take this over Young's Double Chocolate, if given a choice.

Hopefully there's more impressive beer than these in the Saltaire line-up.


  1. We've always been very impressed by their cask beers, including Triple Chocoholic. Are they bottle-conditioned? Young's Double Chocolate is on particularly good form in bottles at the moment so a tough act to compete with.

  2. I got a bit of impression that, like a lot of English breweries, they're in it for the draught game primarily and bottles like this are nearly a promotional item rather than a serious attempt to recreate the experience of drinking the cask version of beer.

    Not a clue if they're bottle conditioned or not -- it certainly wasn't writ large if they were.

  3. One of our very local breweries stopped bottling for promotional reasons. That is, they were contracting bottling out to another Cornish company who were consistently making a hash of it, and stopped before their reputation was irrevocably damaged. It's now only available in a handful of nearby pubs where the brewer can get in regularly to QA it in person.

  4. Sensible move. Though from what the Irish breweries tell me the big English contract brewers are worth what they charge, if you absolutely need a bottled product. It's more of an issue here where pubs are lagging behind off licences and restaurants in getting beer variety to the consumers.

  5. Saltaire have some great cask beers,always been very happy with them. I am intrigued how micros bottle their beer. Do they contract out ( I am assuming very expensive) or do it themselves. Any brewers that could answer that?

  6. It varies. I know micros with their own bottling lines, some who hand-bottle and some who contract out.