West country beer tasting

We were down in Som­er­set for Bai­ley’s Dad’s birth­day a cou­ple of week­ends ago and, as always, sched­uled a vis­it to Open Bot­tles, the West Coun­try’s pre­mier eccen­tric beer shop.

The own­er has had trou­ble get­ting some of the nation­al­ly known brew­ers to ship to Som­er­set but the result has been good for the shop. He’s now stock­ing many more local beers, includ­ing some real obscu­ri­ties with home­made labels and “quirky” brand­ing. Here are three we enjoyed:

Ched­dar Ales Gorge Best

Gorge Best! Ged­dit? Ged­dit? Like “George Best”, the famous alco­holic, only it’s made in Ched­dar with its famous gorge.

The brand­ing on this one, dodgy puns aside, is pret­ty impres­sive, latch­ing onto an essen­tial truth: Gill Sans or vari­ants there­of + screen print­ing = British­ness.

The beer itself is dark gold in colour, bot­tle-con­di­tioned, and bit­ter as Hell. In a good way. Very cask-ale-like from the bot­tle and, all in all, an excel­lent beer.

Whistling Bridge, by Ring­more Craft Brew­ery (Devon)

It boast spices, cran­ber­ries and cura­cao orange on the charm­ing­ly ama­teur­ish label (sad­ly, no pho­to). We weren’t expect­ing this to work, but it did. It’s a pale colour, with a good head, and tast­ed fruity and refresh­ing. It also went sur­pris­ing­ly well with the roast din­ner we were scoff­ing at the time. We’ll be look­ing out for more of their stuff.

Quan­tock Stout, by the Quan­tock Brew­ery

This was a very sat­is­fy­ing milky, creamy stout. Did­n’t take any more notes on this one, but we liked it.

Open Bot­tles is at 131 Taunton Rd, Bridg­wa­ter TA6 6BD. It looks like any oth­er offy from the out­side, with megadeals on rub­bish lager adver­tised in on bright paper, but it real­ly is worth a detour if you’re in the area and want to sam­ple stuff from local micro­brews. You’ll have bet­ter luck there than in any of the pubs in town, sad­ly.

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