I promise I’ll never do a “My favourite beer” type blog post. As you know, beer is 95% pub (cellarmanship and turnover) and 5% mobility scooter. ANYONE can make potentially good beer, apart from that Cotswold lot.
But Black Sheep (Best Bitter or Ale) is possibly the beer that I most often go “Oooh, that’s good” to when sinking a swift half in a workaday dining pub in North Yorkshire. It was my beer of the year in 2019, after all.
The livery on the free houses they supply is always reassuring.
And it will always liven up a dull Ember Inn in Milton Keynes.
I didn’t realise they owned any of their own pubs, but they must have bought a few off York Brewery recently.
If you’re searching out your own ale trail, make sure you take Stafford Paul with you. “I think I can see Black Sheep“ he said, peering into the dead rooms at the Ram’s Head in Congleton.
I just stuck “Black Sheep” in the search facility of my own blog, and was staggered how many times I’ve drunk it recently. Far more than Bass. Or Plum Porter. Or Cloudwater v Evil Twin.
Rather like TT Landlord (but a quid cheaper), it gets around. Here it is in a plain Midlands boozer in Aslockton, accompanying “Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now” and “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Similar titles, same year, different worlds.
Si will love the Cranmer, and not just for the sweets machines.
And here it is again, in a Midlands boozer, the wonderful Half Moon in Rugby. Any excuse for a pic from the Half Moon.
My conversion to the Sheep really started at (appropriately) the Shoulder of Mutton at Kirby Hill, just off the A66.
Some Durham folk checked in for their Bank Holiday break. They did a convincing act of “never having been in a pub before“, presumably for my entertainment.
“What name shall we use, Charles ?”
“No, not that one”
If that’s their idea of clandestine, they’ve no hope.
One downside of the Sheep is that you don’t always get it in its own glass, as here at the Gate in Cutthorpe;
Actually, you’re quite fortunate to get it in a branded glass.
But does Sheep cross the border ?
Well, here’s another good example from Anglesey last year. Oddly, the Christmas Elves were on the Malibu and milk, despite the quality of the Sheep’s lacings.
And here’s one from Joe Dolce-loving Drummore in Galloway, where it’s replaced Belhaven Best as their lone beer.
One beer pubs serving well-known beers being your best bet ? Where have I heard that before ?