Would you like to come and try our new beer said the email. Yes I would I said, but could we meet nearer to where I live, I continued. So off I went to the neighbouring village of Bampton for an ale with Mark Shackleton, Marketing Director at Dartmoor Brewery, whose new beer is called Legend. Dartmoor are based at Princetown, where the old lags live, a bit of a trek from Exmoor.
Let’s meet at Blackberries he’d said, I’ll make sure they’ve got our beer on. I didn’t even know this place had a bar I thought, reckoned it was just an eating place. But no, ale was on, except it wasn’t for us. Blackberries was closed so we went to the Quarryman’s Rest up the road and enjoyed some other beers (Mark tried a drop of another local beer, I like to try something new he said, I mumbled something about the brewery’s so-so rep, after a taste he went for a Doom Bar instead, so what was it like I asked, TCP came the reply).
After lunch, back to our cars, a good time had but still no Legend. I’ve got some beer for you says Mark, hauling a 20-litre pin of Dartmoor’s new beer to my car. I think I’d be a legend if I drunk all that in one sitting. So after a couple of days in the cellar (it wasn’t bright) I turned the tap. Malt-driven I was told. Challenger and Goldings, but malt is the master here. Not for brewer and Dartmoor founder Simon Loveless, onetime brewer at Hop Back (where he invented Summer Lightning), the razzamatazz of hop bombs and the siren call of Simcoe. English hops are what he likes, and why not?
So what is it like? Golden amber in the glass, crisp and biscuity on the nose, light sprightly notes suggestive of apricot and peach skin on the palate, a spicy almost rye cracker like character in the background and a bittersweet dry dusty finish. A well-constructed bitter that will quench many a West Country thirst. Sometimes a good pint of beer is the simplest thing in the world.