Lakelandís Brew Hub is well-known for its partner brewing ventures, which have included production batches for breweries such as Toppling Goliath, Cigar City and BJís Restaurant and Brewhouse, but itís also hit its stride as a standalone brewery, with two house brews taking home gold medals at this yearís Great American Beer Festival.
Rome City, a previous local craft beer of the week, won gold in the session IPA category, while the newly released Three Tun English Bitter took top prize in the ordinary or special bitter category.
Despite the name, bitters arenít actually very bitter at all. Traditional English bitters are the standard pub beer ó balanced and easy to drink, without veering too heavily into either malty or hoppy territory, offering a lighter alternative to the stouts and porters that were commonplace during the bitterís inception in 17th century England.
Three Tun falls into the special bitter category ó stronger than an ordinary bitter, but weaker than an ESB (extra special bitter). The beer pours a deep copper and presents a mix of sweet grain and earthy hops in the nose. The initial flavor is unmistakably malt-forward, with rich, biscuity flavors and a distinct nuttiness, but Three Tun finishes relatively dry, with a mild but firm bitterness. Again: balance, drinkability.
Short of enjoying an actual English bitter served on cask, Three Tun is among the most authentic representations of the style available in the bay area. Itís the quintessential all-arounder ó extremely approachable for novice drinkers, but nuanced and crafted well enough to medal in the nationís biggest beer competition.
Try Three Tun at Brew Hubís tasting room in Lakeland, along with many other brewery exclusives.
ó Justin Grant
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