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Something for the Weekend – Timothy Taylor’s Landlord

I t seems like everyone in the world knows something about my first beer. Timothy Taylor’s Landlord from Keighley in West Yorkshire has won more awards than any other beer (it has won the Champion Beer of Britain a record four times) and is frequently cited by ale drinkers as their ‘favourite ever ale’. Yet it’s only been available on draught since the 1960’s (it was originally brewed to be bottled).

What makes it so special? It uses an abundance of Golden Promise barley grown harvested in Northumberland and the Scottish borders and the sweetness of the barley is perfectly balanced with spicy Styrian Goldings and Fuggles hops (how great a word is Fuggles? It could have come from an episode of Blackadder).

Landlord was my best selling beer when I ran a pub, and each week, the dray would turn up with four huge 36 gallon barrels which were dropped into the cellar with a resounding thump (that’s over 1100 pints a week).Conditioning the beer took time and care: I’ve had more than one beer shampoo from venting a tub of Landlord too quickly after delivery. But the end result was worth it.

The style is defined as a pale ale. Yet most of you know that Landlord is not pale in the modern sense, it’s a burnished copper colour. Pale ales evolved in the 18th century and were defined as such because they were so much paler than the deep russet brown beers the nation had been so used to drinking. It was pale in comparison, and the name has stuck.

Landlord starts off slightly sweet, followed by a mouthful of soft fruitiness, then the dry bitterness kicks in. It’s harmony in a glass. It’s a massively versatile beer with food, but I like the ethos of the chaps who work up at the brewery. Keep it simple, keep it clean, and keep it traditional. You can’t go wrong with a well made Scotch egg, a slab of pork pie and a sliver of salty mature cheddar. The maltiness complements the saltiness of the cheese and pork, and the slight carbonation cuts through the fat in all these three foods.