On a visit to family friends near Bristol our hosts treated us to a selection from Bristol Beer Factory. Optimist is a delightfully tropical, bready sweet pale and Fortitude a spicy, marmalade amber ale.
City life is wonderful, but every once in a while you need to swap parks littered with nitrous cannisters and half eaten fried chicken for some actual countryside. And so this weekend we packed up our things, spritzed the dog with his anti-anxiety spray, and bundled off to see some family friends just outside Bristol. My partner was over the moon to relax in a beautiful cottage surrounded my orchards heaving under the weight of apples, where the ducks float in lazy circles around the paddling pool. Me? Obviously I was more excited about finding new beers to try.
Luckily for me, word of my beer obsession has spread to the South West. As our tour of the house concluded, our hosts reveal a cornucopia of beers from local favourite, the Bristol Beer Factory.
This is the beer our hosts turned to first during the early stages of lockdown. Appropriate, given the name.
Optimist is a single hop pale ale made with one of my favourite strains, Mosaic. It’s dark gold and cloudy with a thick, Italian meringue head.
Pineapple and mango lead on the aroma, followed by light malt. There’s more tropical fruit on the palate, along with some light, bready sweet malt and a slick, sweet coating of the tongue to finish.
I can see how this lovely drop could bring some light and happiness during deepest darkest lockdown.
At the start of a pandemic, optimism is enough for you to get by. As the days relentlessly stream past, you’re better off with some Fortitude.
Darker than its more optimistic cousin, Fortitude is cloudy amber. The head is thinner, looser, cream in colour.
The aroma is dominated by biscuit malt with a little caramel. Ginger and bitter orange marmalade coat the palate, followed by a warm spiciness that lasts on the finish for minutes after every sip.