I once had a lovely stemmed tulip shaped glass, branded with the name of this brewery and its beer, an elegant and temperate half pint size, and picked up for a song in Dulverton’s Thirft Shop (if you fancy paying very much under the odds for beer glasses, especially those with a pedigree, then these establishments can often reveal some great treasures). But then I dropped it when I’d had — perhaps — too many Rocheforts (or was it the three pints of Salvator conjoined with after the pub?). Anyway, Sam Smith’s Pure Brewed Lager is not complaining about the fact it isn’t in its own glass.
The brewery used to produce Ayinger’s lagers under license, but they stopped doing it, but who’s to know what influence this spot of contract brewing had on Pure Brewed.
So here we go: pale yellow, Saxon blond hair the colour in the glass, flaxen even; nose a pleasing mixture of restrained lemon curd on gently toasted white bread, very breakfast-like — spend too many breakfasts supping on these and my only link with journalism will be selling the Big Issue. Palate is watery bitter lemon (no bad thing), a full, pleasing voluptuous mouthfeel and a dry and bittersweet finish. Halfway between a Bavarian Helles and a Světlý Ležák — some bigots (a phrase I think we’re all familiar with at the moment) might not believe that this gorgeous blonde of a beer can emerge from the gritty bowels of this most traditional of northern beermakers, but it does and it’s a beer well worth courting.
Talking of Sam Smith’s, I’m reminded of the Inspector Morse episode where the bereaved father of the arty murdered man looks around the deserted studio, picks up an empty bottle of Old Brewery Pale Ale and intones, ‘he was always a good friend of the Smith family’. Classic, makes me want to stand up and cheer. How sad is that.