Welcome to the Drink in the Sights XXXB from Batemans Brewery Beer Review. Coming from Lincoln I've grown up with Batemans pubs around every corner and a fair few of them are quite nice. The brewery is in a small town called Wainfleet near Skegness where they've been brewing away for well over 100 years. In a world where Marston's seem to own just about every old brewery it's nice to find a really successful independent option. XXXB or Triple XB, depending on which bit of the label you look at is very much a brewery staple so you wont have any trouble finding it in Batemans pubs, any Lincolnshire co-op or Morrison's. I'm sure it's available other places too.
Batemans XXXB comes in a dark 500ml bottle featuring the Batemans windmill and both spellings of the beers name, just to confuse things. The brewer describes the beer as 'bursting with aroma and flavour. The delicate aroma of biscuit and fruit unleashes a distinctive peppery, fruit flavour which is followed by earthy hops and a dry maltiness. The perfect thirst quencher and delicious too.' Basically it drags on a bit. Really after all that the beer needs to be a bit special and with a distinctly average 4.8% alcohol content it's not off to the most spectacular start.
XXXB pours a mahogany brown with a small but very stable head so very much has the look of a traditional English bitter. There's a mild earthy, hoppy smell with plenty of malts. You really do have to get your nose pretty close to smell anything in there. Really everything about the look and aroma screams standard English Bitter. The texture is a bit odd for a pale ale as it's quite full bodied, but then the colour is also darker than most pale ales so I'm not really sure I'd classify this beer as a pale ale. That said though if you offered me a choice of a pale ale or brown English bitter I'd take the bitter nearly every time so I wont complain.
The taste is similar to the aroma, it's quite earthy, and quite malty. There's some biscuit flavours in there and a good level of bitterness, I don't know I guess I was expecting more from Batemans flagship pint. XXXB is certainly drinkable, but if you put 10 standard bitters in front of me and asked me to tell you which one it is I might struggle. I'm going to give XXXB from Batemans Brewery 6.5 out of 10. It doesn't really feel like a pale ale, and doesn't stand out hugely from the English Bitter crowd, but it's a good satisfying earthy beer which most people will find perfectly drinkable. I like it, but I don't love it.