Timothy Taylor: Landlord (England: Bitter: 4.1% ABV)
Visual: Dark gold. Off white to brown froth head that leaves suds. Still body.
Nose: Lightly wheaty and fluffy hop character. Vanilla toffee. Greenery.
Body: Hop oils and solid bitterness. Peppery and earthy. Light vanilla. Sour dough. Cinnamon. Soft lemon. Slightly chalky. Slight dried apricot.
Finish: Fluffy earthy hop bitterness and peppery. Soft lemon.
Conclusion: I’m a bit split on this one. I am worried that I am being influenced by that fact that this was a beer I was a huge fan of way back in my early real ale drinking days. Why am I worried? Well, technically I am still enjoying drinking this very much – however I am very aware that I have criticised many beers for having similar elements to this one.
Let me explain. This is an earthy and peppery, moderately attenuated and dry pale bitter. On cask it was more sulphurous, here it has a cleaner touch. Anyway, so it isn’t doing anything too unusual for the style, and I have criticised many a beer for doing that. So, what I am trying to work out is, how much of my enjoyment is from my memories, and how much is it that it delivers itself well enough to overcome its familiar base conceit.
It really does seem to do that style just that much better than most of similar notes. The attenuation isn’t too dry and lets soft but slightly fruit sugar like apricot and lemon notes through to refresh what would otherwise be a too heavy ale. The vanilla toffee base is dried but still sweet enough to contrast the pepper. Overall it seems to match earthy weight with a refreshing character and perfectly set dry drinkable style.
So, maybe it is just the fact that you end up liking what you are accustomed to, but this feels far more than the sum of its well know parts to become the ideal of a British bottled bitter. So, there is the evidence for and against, feel free to make up your own mind, but I will continue to enjoy this old friend.
Background: This was gifted to me by a college at Christmas. Many thanks. Landlord is one I have had many times over the years, predominantly on cask. As of such it was a bit of a shock that apparently I had never done notes on it. Time to remedy that. Drunk while listening to a bit more Akala. It seems to be popular in the new wave craft scene to take the piss out of Landlord these days, which I never quite got as I have always enjoyed it.