Sadler's are a black country brewer who've been around for over 100 years. But their brews are as modern and exciting as any start up, while holding onto traditional flavours.
They're very proud of their black country heritage, continuing to be based in Lye, just outside Stourbridge, where they have their brewery, their tap house and their brewhouse bar.
Despite being a local outfit their beer can be found in many an excellent pub outside the area and even in the big supermarkets. Including one that was brewed for Aldi's craft beer range.
A homage to the dark and murky world of the post world war one crime gangs of Birmingham (immortalised by BBC television show of the same name). Despite 'Black IPA' being a signature of current trends in heavily hopping any beer, dark or light, this is a thoroughly traditional beer. The brewer aimed to brew a beer as close as possible to what would have been drunk in the midlands between the wars.
It is the beer that introduced me to this wonderful brewery. It's unique taste is closest to some of the dark beers I've tasted in Prague's traditional beer halls. A deep roasted, almost burnt flavour, mixed with spices and berries finished by a smokiness, which makes me imagine the factories of early 20th century Brum. Hop flavours are most definitley their but they are an after taste and not front and centre like many Black IPAs.
A more evocative beer I am yet to find!
Not all beers can live up to the delight that is Peaky Blinder but Sadler's have some pretty good beers in second place. Thin Ice is a lighter, more refreshing beer. A tropical, citrusy taste it feels more like a beer for the BBQ than the Brummie back streets (although I have been known to have a BBQ on the back street, they aren't mutually exclusive)! This beer has a much more contemporary feel than Peaky Blinder and shows this brew can hop it up with the best of them, while keeping it all about the taste. There's no soapy finish or unnecessary additions here. This is a beer drinkers beer, enjoyable for hipsters and their dads.
One of the joys of Sadler's is that they have a whole family of bars where you can sample their beers. In Lye they have The Windsor Castle, friendly local with food to boot, and The Brewhouse and Bar, with live music and a party atmosphere. There's also a Southampton branch which is a little out of my jurisdiction.
A blog about both of these places coming soon in my Pubs blog.