Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Beers Of London Series
29. Clarence & Fredericks - Best Bitter 4.1%

Today I ventured out of my comfort zone, and ventured outside 'Fortress Essex' into the Big Smoke. I boldy went in search of beer that I had never had before, which is basically what I used to do prior to my beer-blogging days. The precursor to my beer writing consisted of Facebook pictures of pubs and beers with a few 'interesting asides' included to help me remember tastes, sensations and trivia I came across. One of the destinations that provided a rich seem of beery mining was The Harp, and it's here I find myself now sampling another elusive London beer on cask.
Clarence & Fredericks is based in Croydon. Started in 2011 by Duncan Woodhead, formerly a brewer at WJ King, and hid partner Victoria Barlow, with the aim of 'providing uality real ales for local pubs', Duncan is an active CAMRA member. Sadly I missed the 'meet the brewer' evening at The Harp last night, but hopefully I'll find out a bit more at London's Brewing. The Best Bitter that I'm having today is made with three hop (WGV, Fuggles, Northdown) and four malt (Pale, Brown, Melanoidin, Black Patent) varieties. Let's see what this is like straight from the cask.
It pours a rich, dark cherrywood colour with some deep orange roots showing through, rather like the furniture in my surroundings, with a light and fluffy off-white head, unlike the surroundings - it's not a foam party! The aroma has hints of orange marmalade, but on closer examination it actually is the smell you get if you rip a jaffa cake in half. A hint of dark chocolate, lots of the big orangey bit in the middle and some sweet crumbly biscuit underneath. Slick, smooth and a little tart, the taste has layers of digestive biscuit spread with marmalade (no bits) and a crumbling of orange toffee sitting nicely on the tongue, bathing it and gradually soaking in, it's an odd but not unpleasant feeling. The finish has the sweet orange cream that you find in various chocolate assortment boxes, gradually drying to a slight oiliness. It's quite delicious.
Maybe you'll have one and fancy another, or maybe you won't. It's that sort of beer. You'll certainly enjoy the first one though.

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