It’s close to Christmas 2017 and I’m drinking a beer that is at the cutting edge of British brewing; it’s devoid of Brettanomyces, it’s lacking a lactic edge and its prettiness is defined by what the brewer has done rather than the imp of perversity treading about in an oak barrel (not that I am averse to that sort of thing). Who is it? It’s a bitter, a beer that shines with the gleam of an aged sideboard, that creaks and breaks bread with the greatest in the brewing land, that has a hymnal of malted barley and the kind of hops that manage to marry their tangy orange outlandishness alongside malt’s crisp cusp of biscuit-ness; the kind of beer that generations of drinkers will have enjoyed in the past, which is a place beer all often sits within, bemoaning its lot, glad to be part of the gloam, adding all sorts of ingredients to the wizards’ pot. And as I wrote this, the beer that I desired the most on this Saturday evening, a beer whose aromatics cemented their place in british brewing history, a beer from a place where I would have hired a beach hut, a place where the siren of the sea would have called, was Southwold, a small town by the North Sea, a place dominated by its brewery, a place where the seascape added its own sense of place. Bitter.