Friday, 21 February 2014

Shepherds Neame Bishops Finger

Shepherds Neame Bishops Finger
Style: Strong Ale
Alcohol Content: 5.4%
From: Faversham, Kent, UK
Purchased from: Tesco, Ashford

Shepherd Neame is an English regional brewery founded in 1698 in Faversham, Kent.  It is the oldest brewer in Great Britain and has been family-owned since 1864. The brewery produces a range of cask ales and filtered beers. Production is around 230,000 barrels a year. It owns around 360 pubs, predominantly in Kent, London and South East England. Whilst visiting Kent in January I couldn't help but notice that almost every other pub was own by Shepherds Neame. Now that's the way to dominate the market! The subject of this review is their Bishops Finger, a Kentish Strong ale which holds EU Protected Geographical Indication, recognising its unique provenance. It takes its name from the finger-shaped signposts which pointed pilgrims on their way to the tomb of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury. Will the finger of fate fall kindly on this beer? Lets find out. 

Pointing the way?
Colour: Pours a deep chestnut brown combined with a light bubbly head. This drops down to form a light dusting of foam after a few minutes in the glass.

Aroma: Slight notes of burnt toffee and vinous autumn fruits such as plums, cherries and red grape. However, I must stress that all these notes are extremely faint but they are lurking in the background in the shadows of the malt. 

Body: Smooth and easy to drink. There is a slight clogging on the back of your throat due to the resiny hops. Definitely one to sip on a cold winters night.

Taste: A big sip will provide you with notes of your Nan's fruit cake. Hints of Sweet orange peel, currants and sultanas will fill your mouth and the quickly die away. The finish is long and interweaves between dried fruit, rich malt and a deep, dry hop bitterness. These flavours are not overly pronounced and for me, it is a classic example of a mass produced bitter that you can buy from any major supermarket. Great if you just starting out on your real ale journey, but it's not the one for me. Perhaps I have now become a craft beer snob. Gulp! I guess I have.

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