Brewery: Shepherd Neame
I held an organic and ecological beer tasting back in early 2018 and I found it quite hard getting hold of beers for it. The range at the time just wasn’t that big and I struggled to find a wide enough selection that I was happy with. A couple of years later though and the amount of beer in the eco category has increased somewhat, with it held as a badge of honour by many breweries. Whitstable Bay has been an organic beer for as long as I can remember, and was somewhat of a trend setter in that capacity. I used to sell this on the bar for a few years, and I remember how much I enjoyed it then so I thought it was finally time to get it into a tasting.
This was light copper with a palatable crispness to its appearance. The thin head that didn’t hold particularly well but it was expected from this English bitter style. There was a full carbonation though, which caught me off guard. Lovely aromas of honey and caramel, sweet malts, sultanas and sponge cake sprang from the glass in a rich but light bouquet. Upon tasting, the English hops slowly made their graceful bitterness known, as they swirled on the tongue with the malty caramel and honey notes. The bitterness became more pronounced after swallowing, but it was never intrusive and just sat delicately on the back of the throat.
I have drunk a number of these in my time, and I’ve always been impressed at just how well made this is. This is crisp on the palate and very easy to drink, with a lovely balance of sweet malt and bittering hops. An excellent English bitter, and one I was very happy to finally have in a tasting.