I had this pint of Bath Ales Queen of Hearts as part of the Wetherspoons beer festival while I was in Nottingham. I wouldn't usually bother with Spoons but we were on an all day session and it's just the easiest place to get some food. Not surprisingly the brewery is based just outside Bath where they were founded in 1995. I had a few of their beers while I was in the city a couple of years ago and particular enjoyed Gem so I thought why not give them another try, it comes free with a mixed grill after all. Queen of Hearts was brewed exclusively for the beer festival so we'll just have to see if it turns up ever again.
Queen of Hearts is a 4.3% beer that pours a dark ruby red with a decent tan head that lasts pretty well. The aroma is pretty malty with some toffee notes coming through. It smells quite nice. The texture is just about dead on medium bodied and the taste is that of a decent bitter. There's plenty of malty goodness in Queen of Hearts, and just enough toffee notes to keep things interesting. All in all you'd have to say this is a pretty good red ale. I'm going to give Bath Ales Queen of Hearts a very healthy 7.5 out of 10. It might not steal your heart, but it makes for a pleasant enough fling.
I found this pint of Abbeydale Brewery Daily Bread in the truly excellent Dorothy Pax which is one of the best pubs in Sheffield. The brewery have been running since 1996 and as they're based in Sheffield it really is a proper local beer, and I do like to drink proper local beer when I go on my travels. Daily Bread is a 3.8% bitter that pours a lovely clear gold with a small, but relatively stable white head. As bitters go this looks like well pretty much all of them to be honest. It really is a style that doesn't vary too much from a presentation point of view.
Abbeydale Brewery's Daily Bread has an unsurprisingly grainy and wheaty aroma, so it lives up to the branding pretty well. What does make this beer stand out from the other bitters on the market is that it's seriously smooth, and really easy to drink, but I guess that comes with the low percentage. You'll certainly get the taste of bread mixed with some nice grainy malts creating a really enjoyable bitter. I'm going to give Abbey Dale Brewery's Daily Bread a very good 8 out of 10.
8 Sail Brewery are based just down the road from me in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, so it's always nice to see one of their beers when I'm out and about. In this case we have 8 Sails Black Widow, a 5.5% strong mild. They've been brewing since 2010 and I found this pint of Black Widow in the excellent Organ Grinder, which is one of the best pubs in Nottingham. Black Widow from 8 Sail Brewery pours a very dark ruby red that verges on black, which given the beers name seems appropriate. The small just off white head lasts pretty well, so that's a nice touch.
Black Widow from 8 Sail has a slightly chocolate aroma with roasted malts, while the texture is just above medium bodied. I'd have liked it to be a little more full bodied to be honest. The taste is pleasant enough though. There's some light chocolate notes, but really it's the liquorice that stands out most for a change. There's also just a slightly smoky finish hiding in there, which I enjoyed. 8 Sail's Black Widow is a pretty good beer, and one of the stronger milds you'll find on the market. I'm going to give Black Widow from 8 Sail a pretty impressive 7.5 out of 10.