Banks Bitter

Banks: Bitter (England: Bitter: 3.8% ABV)

Visual: Copper brown. Medium white(ish) head and some carbonation to the body.

Nose: Cadbury’s crème egg centres. Fluffy hops. Peanuts. Freshly turned fields.

Body: Nutty. Cherries and fruitcake. Some bitterness. Vanilla toffee. Liquorice notes. Tart apple. Sherbet and chalk feel mix. Touch of orange zest.

Finish: Digestive. Lime hoppiness and dry bitterness. Granite. Dry feel. Slightly acidic. Apple. Light earthiness.

Conclusion: Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the basics for the whiz and bang of novelty. I will admit that I am particularly susceptible to that myself. Take this for example. A Bitter. 3.8% abv, the abv of compromise. A simple bland label. Traditional UK hops. From that description it really is hard to get excited.

However here you get a beer with solid bitterness that the style’s name suggests alongside that light acidic tart character that makes a good bitter thirst quenching and delivers an apple and orange zestiness.

There’s a vanilla and fruitcake sweetness alongside the traditional nuttiness that goes into an equally traditional earthy hop finish. Thankfully while earthiness is present it is far from the soil like levels that comes with some beers. It has contrast, balance, an easy to drink nature and all delivered at an easy to session abv.

That’s not to say that it is some perfect wonder beer. The earthy hops, though not soil like, do get too heavily emphasised as time goes on. The aroma doesn’t quite pull you in either. However it is a very nice package that comes from what would be an easy to overlook beer amongst its glitzier cousins.

It is a beer that rewards attention, bringing out the fruit zest subtlety, an element I appreciated. Not a world shaking beer, but I would say grab a bottle an use it to break up a run of those over the top ales. Use it as something to return to that does the base bitter proud.

Background: Another of the beers gifted to me by a colleague over Christmas. Many thanks. I’ve tried Bank’s mild and didn’t find it too impressive, but one beer does not a trend make. This was drunk as an easy going beer to chill out with at the end of busy day.