James Street: Maximus (England: English Strong Ale: 4.9% ABV)

Visual: Dark cherry red, thin off white dust of a head. Leaves small sud rings as it is drunk.

Nose: Fortified wine touch. Fruitcake and almonds. Sour grapes. Slightly dusty,

Body: Slightly creamy and toffee touched. Light charring. Cherries and raisins. Plum pudding. Malt chocolate. Somewhat vinous. Sour grapes. Almonds.

Finish: Apricot. Hops. Bitter grated chocolate in a Belgium style. Slight gravel. Sour grapes. Dark fruit. Charring.

Conclusion: Woo, a new brewpub in Bath. Wonder if I am the first person to do tasting notes of them? Well, the first pint holds up pretty well. The aroma is unfortunately light – I had to damn near shove my nose in the drink to get the elements I did. The body, well, the body on the other hand is interesting. Despite a quite thick texture late on it initially feels quite light on the tongue, deceptively so as after a moment the flavour comes in well.

There is a slightly old ale style to it with vinous and sour notes against a fruity and creamy body that pushes a nice range of dark fruit forwards towards you. Now as you hold it then it becomes creamier which makes it feel thicker as well.

It is also worth taking your time between sips as the flavour just seems to grow the longer you leave it, very bitter high quality chocolate and still the dark fruits into a harsh kick that ends it on an impact.

Now, I’m guessing that this will be tweaked a bit between batches as often happens with new breweries, but it is already a satisfying pint with a lot of dark flavours. I would say it needs a tad thicker body to really sell the flavours it has, and a much bigger aroma, but the flavour itself is full bodied and done well, and that bitter choc finish is great and the best element of the beer.

So, with a mix of cream, toffee, plums, chocolate and fruitcake I would say it is worth a pint, but right now it could do with a few tweaks to polish it up. It is still a tasty pint without though so I’m not complaining.

Background: So, we have both a new bar, and a new brewery in Bath, or as you have probably guess, a Brewpub. I have been keeping an eye on the place since I first saw it was opening and dropped by on the opening day to sample their wares. Let’s face it, it’s good to support things like this. The pub is the Bath Brew House and it looks pretty nice so far, open with lots of seating and decent sized beer garden. Food, four keg taps for craft beer which is a first for Bath to my knowledge, three house real ale beers, three guest real ale taps, oh and your usual standard shite keg taps. They aren’t quite up to full speed yet as not all the taps are on but it is a good start. Very friendly staff, oh and they serve in dimple mugs which are quite quite impractical for nosing but I have very much a soft spot for them. I was a bit unsure on beer style for this one, and as it is a brand new brewery I have very few sources to check. However it refers to itself as dark strong ale, and despite the sub 5% abv I’d say English Strong Ale seems to suit it best in my eyes.
James Street Brewery