beer reviews

A gem in the stash – Butts Barbus Barbus

We’ve got quite a big backlog of beers to get through.  The last time we reorganised the “cellar”, we sorted it by very loosely defined styles and best-before dates (“Belgian keepers”, “weak bitters to drink in the next couple of months”).  Trouble is, you often reach for the ones you know are going to be good, and the poorly-labelled weak bitters from microbreweries can be rather unreliable.  So we’ve got rather a lot of those gathering dust.

(Yes, we do judge beers by their label.)

In amongst the dross, we stumbled across Barbus Barbus, from the Butts Brewery.  To be fair, in this case it wasn’t the label that put us off so much as the dreaded word “organic”.  As we’ve said before, organic beer is not really an attraction for us — it’s often either bland, or if it’s from a small dippy-hippy brewery, verging on the undrinkable.

This was a surprise. It’s actually a really nice pale ale, with a lovely orangey aroma, rounded malt flavours and fruity hops.  It was also in great condition, with a long-lasting rocky head.  A slight grassy note towards the end gave away its microbrewery origins, but this is still a very accomplished brew.  We’ll look out for their stuff in future, weird pump-clips or not.

And here’s the review at The Oxford Bottled Beer Database.


6 replies on “A gem in the stash – Butts Barbus Barbus”

A joy on cask too. It’s one of the recurring guest beers and a favourite of the locals at the Rose & Crown in Halstead, Kent. (^Click name for website^)

The fish on the clip is a Barbel and it’s Latin name is Barbus Barbus, I’ve never tried the beer but I’ve caught the fish!

It’s funny, organic beer shouldn’t really taste so different from regular beers. I had one recently that was pretty crap, but I couldn’t blame that on it being a bio-bier. I’d say it’d still be crap if it was all smothered in insecticides 😀 All of the Pinkus Müller (Münster) beers are organic, and although they all seem to be leaning towards light and crisp flavours, I generally like them. Actually, the best bio-bier I had was just this week. A weissbier from Riedenburger.

I’d like to see more Butts though…

I agree with your view of organic beers to some extent, but I also think that things have improved an awful lot in the last few years. These days there’s a much wider choice of organic ingredients (including hops that don’t need to be flown halfway round the world), not to mention more competition in the organic beer market. It was only a few years ago that Caledonian’s (mediocre) Golden Promise was basically it.

Just out of curiosity… you say the bottle had been gathering dust for a while before you tried it – how old was the bottle when you drank it? Sounds like a little bit of age didn’t do it any harm.

(Thanks for the link, btw.)

I’ve also been somewhat skeptical of new organic beers after a couple of letdowns, but this gives me hope. Coincidentally, I just picked up a Pinkus Müller Alt the other day and am willing to keep an open mind. Hopefully Adeptus’s recommendation proves correct. Then again, there is that whole freshness issue…

Adeptus – we liked the Riedenburger offerings too.

Tom – I reckon it had been in our cellar at least six months.

Eric – we really liked the Pinkus Mueller Alt. Hopefully it got to you in good nick.

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