Top Beer on Thornbridge’s strong India Pale Ale

Until recently, Bakewell was famous for two things: its puddings and its open market. In the last decade, ale has become the Derbyshire market town’s other export, thanks to Thornbridge Brewery. The company has ten regular cask ales including the one featured here. A further twelve bottled ales form part of their portfolio, and they’ve even upset some of the traditionalists with a dozen keg beers.

Their best known ale is Jaipur, a 5.9% India Pale Ale, available in keg, bottled and cask form. For the purpose of this review, I shall concentrate on the cask conditioned version.

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Introducing Jaipur

Jaipur’s strength is more akin to the original India Pale Ale style. Over the last half century, India Pale Ale – or IPA – has often been used for light ales, whereas traditional IPAs have hovered around 5 – 7% ABV. One example/offender of this is Greene King’s IPA, which at 3.6% should really be a Light Mild.

On first sip, the slight citrus nature hits you, though the citrus taste is more Seville orange instead of grapefruit. On the second sip, it goes down very smoothly. But – and this is a huge but – this is one ale which demands respect. This is one which cannot be nozzled in a hurry with twenty minutes to go till the last 343/389/409, nor be sessionable (one pint should be enough).

Its subtle hints of honey and cinnamon makes for a deceptively easy drinking ale (though it shouldn’t be), but – most importantly – it is best to pace yourself and savour the complex flavours. As for food/drink matching, Jaipur goes well with salad dishes, pasta and (Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar’s) sausage muffins.

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The above characteristics explain why Jaipur’s a popular choice among real ale fanatics. At most pubs I’ve been to where Jaipur’s been on, it is always a good seller (and I’ve ordered Jaipur on some occasions only to find none left). If you love your traditional IPAs, prefer them to be full bodied and far from on the wimpy side, Jaipur is an absolute must.

Others You May Like

  • Dobber (Marble Brewery, 5.9%): strong with more pronounced grapefruit taste;
  • Wojtek (Beartown Brewery, 5.8%): golden IPA, full bodied like the Polish soldier bear immortalised.

Stuart Vallantine devoured a pint of Jaipur at The White House, Stalybridge on the 12 March 2013. Needless to say, he missed his last bus and sought alternative means opposite the aforementioned pub’s entrance.

S.V., 13 March 2013

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