Members of the North Hampshire Brewers get together once each month and this Tuesday will be the March meeting.
Every other month there's a particular style, so there should be a few of us that have attempted to brew the Simonds Bitter (1880). I'll be interested to see how mine compares to a few others. I'll also be taking along the last remaining bottle of my Best Bitter, to see how that goes down.
I reviewed the kegged version of the Best Bitter here. It's a nice clean beer, and to be honest, it's gone up in my estimation since writing that review. I think I was trying to compare it to a beer it wasn't trying to be. It's not overly hoppy, nor malty, just a nicely balanced session beer that's gone down very well, more so since the sun has been shining. What a difference that makes.
The Simonds is a completely different animal. Much more body, plenty of flavour, with a particular sweetness from the amber malt. Towards the end you also get a hint of the alcohol, which probably isn't surprising from a 6.7% beer. To my mind, it's one of the better beers I've brewed. I only hope the rest of the group agree.
EDIT: well, what do you know? You think you've brewed a good'un and then someone urinates over your fireworks and brings you back down to earth. The Simonds did not go down well. I used the wrong amber malt (it was meant to have diastatic amber malt, not the regular amber malt we get over here), although there was no mention of this on the web site offering the recipe. So the taste and aroma were wrong. I also boiled hard, (having over-sparged), which meant it was a tad more bitter than it should have been too. On the other hand, the best bitter, which I also took, went down very well. I received a degree of solace from that.