Sunday, March 1, 2009

Black Sheep Ale

On the recommendation of one of my UK friends over at Democracy's Drink, I picked up a bottle of Black Sheep Ale, brewed by Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, Yorkshire, UK.

I really didn't know what to expect, but this guy swore on it saying "yer its good from the bottel its somthine can be a bit week when from a barrel so give it a go its a good necking beer (drinking beer) have a look for some of there othere ales from black sheep."

Now I mostly got the idea from the recommendation, and I decided to pick up just a bottle instead of a barrel because I wanted the strong stuff. But when I heard it was a good necking beer, I was sold. Isn't "necking" what old people called my generation's "making out" and not sure what the kids these days are calling it. I guess I have about 8 to 10 years to get back in with the slang when my kids become teens. Anyway, looking around, it looks like necking is British slang for drinking a pint.

So here I am about halfway done my 16.9 oz. bottle. This is a very bitter beer. There is a bit of a buttery flavor and acidic flavor all rolled into one. The aftertaste leaves a bit of a burnt flavor in my mouth and the aroma is pretty flat. It's a very dry beer, too. In my humble opinion, this is not a very good beer and I think I'd have to be shipwrecked with a shipment of Black Sheep Ale (with no hope of quick rescue) to drink this again.

On the label, the brewery brags that for 5 generations it's been brewed at Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, and nowhere else. Let's pray that it stays that way. Actually I can't imagine InBev or SABMiller wasting their time with this anyway, but you never know.


The Joy Of Beer said...

Interesting to read your comments - I had a bottle of Black Sheep the other day, and I also wasn't overly impressed - though maybe not as disappointed as you. I thought it was average, and maybe my taste is different to yours, but I liked the very bitter aftertaste. Don't let this experience put you off trying other Theakston beers - are you aware that there are two Theakston breweries in Masham - different companies. Go to and read the brewery history, and you'll find that although Theakston have a long history of brewing in Masham, the Black Sheep brewery is only 16 years old. Go to for the other brewer. I had a bottle of their XB bitter last night, and it was excellent. Cheers. Brian

Anonymous said...

I've had it from a hand pull as fresh as can be over in Yorkshire and it was fantastic. Bottled is a bit different and it's very temperature sensitive (wants to be warmer) so watch that as well. The owner of the pub I go to over there has promised a tour of the brewery when next over.