A classic pale ale, Batemans XXXB or Triple XB. I think saying each X is more fun than just saying Triple X. Maybe if I say XXX a lot in this post I’ll get more hits? Nah, probably not. This deep red bitter is just the thing to make you smile. With a rich and medium full body this is truly an Extra Special Bitter. This beer is similar to our second day beer the Denver local Chin Wag with it’s great big dark fruity esters. There’s enough bitterness to last through the finish and the hops have a peppery and earthy quality. This is an excellent brew.
The listed malts are Maris Otter, crystal and wheat. Yes, wheat. I thought that was interesting, too. You do get a bit of a bready and biscuit quality, but I would have never guessed wheat was part of the grist. Hops are also a pretty interesting selection with the standard goldings and the more out of the ordinary American Liberty which contributes to the peppery quality. At 5% ABV I wish the liquor store sold this in six-packs instead of singles.
I did find it funny that on the back of the bottle the beer is proudly marked vegan friendly. I am not sure there is a beer out there that is vegan unfriendly, but I am not a vegan and really can’t speak to that point. The funny part is that the food pairings listed next to that statement are cheese and red meat. So, if you’re a vegan, please remember not to enjoy this beer with is suggested pairings.
I also picked up a sixer of Cain’s Finest Bitter. I decided to just toss this one with the XXXB. It’s fine. I mostly didn’t want to spend too much time talking about it. It’s dark red, slightly fruity, with a mild cream flavor and mild bitterness. It’s fine, as I said. It’s 4% ABV and there isn’t much to dig your teeth in. It wouldn’t be on my “buy again” list.
There is one funny thing about this beer that helps show a point though. Those big community beer review sites are rubbish. Ratebeer gives Cain’s Finest Bitter a brutal 31/100 and Beer Advocate gives it 81/100. Yeah, they’re both wrong. Possibly somewhere between the two you’ll find the right number. One important cavate here, I am only talking about imported cans. This will obviously be better off a fresh tap. I think my wife's review of this beer is by far the most accurate: shrugged shoulders and the word “blah.” I dread that look when it's one of my homebrews.