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Bristol Exhibition - abv 5.2%; £2.40/50cl
10:35am Saturday 5th May 2012 in Beer of the week
THE Ashton Gate Brewery in Bristol closed down in the early 1930s, following a takeover by neighbouring George’s, and for 70-odd years the building housed various businesses from car repairs to warehousing.
Then in 2004 the fledgling Bristol Beer Company moved in, re-badging itself as the Bristol Beer Factory, and the old brewery was born again.
Among its beers is this week’s feature, Exhibition, inherited from Smiles Brewery, a pioneer of the new microbrewery movement, which had opened in the city back in 1977, but finally closed its doors just as BBF were getting started.
The colour is deep mahogany, with a full, fluffy head subsiding to a steady off-white collar. The aroma is full of dark, baked fruits with a rich creaminess and notes of marzipan, toffee and spices (clove and pepper).
In the mouth it is full-bodied with a big maltiness, and lots more dark fruit, some treacle and a hint of chocolate. The flavour becomes quite smoky in the mid-palate, with charred wood and a seaweed saltiness.
Peppery, earthy hops are present but not prominent, and there is a tarry, woody bitterness that lingers through to the long, dry finish.
A very rich and delicious beer, broadly in the porter category, to savour at the end of the evening.
As recommended by Jim Helsby of the York Beer And Wine Shop, Sandringham Street, York