There's a reason why I haven't been blogging much lately, and that is that I am saving. Much of the beer I'm buying now is cheap, easily-accessible stuff that, as well as saving me cúpla Euro, also feeds into a collection of nice empty bottles for homebrewing. Yes, I intend to start homebrewing soon. That's where the savings are going, as well as a late summer visit to Amsterdam, Brussels and Munich (with a dash of Paris thrown in). Alas, Prague was a step too far...
So with beer heaven on the horizon and a seemingly constant stream of Spaten/Franziskaner getting me there, I haven't had a whole lot of interesting beers to write about. To amend this, I felt a short trip to the Franciscan Well was warranted.
I forced myself to override the muscle memory that had me pointing towards the Rebel Red tap, and instead opted for Purgatory, the Anglo-American Pale Ale I'd yet to try. It's an instant winner, with candied tropical and citrus fruit allaying a nice pithy bitterness. It certainly leans toward the American side over the 'Anglo', and it's absolutely delicious. The aim of the evening was to try new things, but still I felt terrible passing up a second and third pint of this.
Next up was Preacher's Best Bitter, again, simply because I've never had it before. It didn't smell or taste of much, but it's light nutty malt profile and gentle hop bitterness made for an instantly forgettable experience. I'm glad I only got the half pint.
Finally, Shandon Stout. I've been kicking myself for missing out on Shandon Century Stout a couple of years ago, but this regular version is quite highly thought of too. Certainly it has the roasty and smoky notes I appreciate in an Irish dry stout, with even a hint of savoury character to the nose. It's milky, smooth and drinkable with the aforementioned highlights cropping up here and there, but ultimately it feels a touch light.
If you're in the Franciscan Well, pretty much anything on tap is a good bet. But Purgatory is just a better bet.