Jennings Bitter

Jennings: Bitter: Lakeland Ale (England: Bitter: 3.5% ABV)

Visual: Chestnut red. Small amount of carbonation. Off white tight bubbled froth head.

Nose: Musty. Mothballs. Crushed peanuts. Malt chocolate. Light orange. Slight wine fruitcake.

Body: Chestnut. Light acidic apple tang. Earthy hops. Slightly chalky. Slight orange zest.

Finish: Apples. Earthy hop bitterness. Malt chocolate. Malt vinegar. Chalky. Carrot cake,

Conclusion: Hmm, in these days of ultra refined smooth edged beers, where even uber hopped beers go down far too easily, you have to respect a beer that keeps that old British style of rough edges. Whether you enjoy it or not is a different question, so shall I examine that one?

It has a rough earthy hop character, a chalky bite and a very slight acidic back. They are all coarse elements, a very village pub style pint that brings massive beards and smoke stained walls to mind. That as it be, it isn’t without charm. However the charm doesn’t really come from the flavour, but more from its counter positioned style to the current trend.

For the most part it is an ultra stripped down British bitter, keeping the slight tartness needed for drinkability against the robust bitterness. You do get some elements rising out of that though, a sort of orange zestiness that mixes to create an almost carrot cake like touch in the finish. Not a huge element but much needed to keep it from rapidly becoming dull.

The last third of the beer turns again, a heavier element with fruitcake and wine touches. If anything even less present than the previous zest, but again much needed. Through it all it never really rises above that stripped down feel and so never feels special. It is a nice reminder of what rough edges can do for a bitter, this doesn’t make it a great pint, but it at least got me thinking.

Background: Last of the beers I was gifted by my colleague at work at Christmas. Again many thanks for that. Jennings is owned by Marston these days, or so a few moments googling told me. This was drunk while listening to a bit of Ulver which gave a bit of much needed relaxation.