A review of bottled Courage Best Bitter appeared recently on YouTube, from a Briton tasting at home.
It is always interesting to hear what people say who like beer but don’t claim great expertise, as this man. As I recall the Courage beers, his impressions are pretty accurate, down to the mildness of the palate. (Taste was more pronounced back in the day, imo).
First, he notes a complex aroma compared to the typical lager, featuring malt and biscuit. He finds some lemony character, too, which may be Golding hops, but seems to want more.
He considers the beer not very bitter, but admits engagingly to no great knowledge of hops. There could be some British understatement here, as he says he expected a bigger palate based on the longevity of the Courage brand.
He identifies a “copper coins” note, and returns to this theme a number of times. I noticed the same thing in many bitters at the last Great British Beer Festival I attended, three years ago.
This undoubtedly is the yeast, or I think so. Current British top-fermenting yeasts, diverse as they may be, seem to share this characteristic. I noticed it in Guinness too when in England.
The video shows the colour well, classic amber English bitter. It’s inviting unto itself.
Courage Best is only 3.6% abv. While I’m sure it could be made to have a stronger taste, its drinkability, at that strength, favours multiple unit consumption, which he points out (“sessionable”).
In the comments, a person states he should try Courage Director’s Bitter, which is a class above Courage Best. Certainly on draught it was in the old days, deeper and richer. I am pretty sure in fact there were three beers: Courage Bitter, Best Bitter, and Director’s.
Director’s is still made, I believe on cask and certainly in canned form, I had one a while back. Not quite what I remembered, but I’d like to try the Best Bitter. Sometimes one finds these odd inversions, where the ordinary quality trumps the premium.
Note the witticism “Madam” makes just out of the camera angle. After a taste from his glass, she says, “Better than the value bitter”. His quick counter: “fresh air is better than value bitter!”.
Some beer writers would be happy to pen that line!
The beer is brewed at Eagle Brewery in Bedford by Marston, now in a joint venture with Carlsberg. See label images and taste description in the Eagle Brewery website.
To conclude, good review, his comments are well-expressed and tell us a lot about the drink. He approaches it too in genial spirit, the right approach for such an exercise.