I'm a regular visitor to the Hospital Arms in Colchester. It's an Adnams pub that always has a good range of guest beers on offer. On this occasion I was lucky enough to enjoy a pint of Bateman's Valiant (4.2 abv), a beer from this Lincolnshire family brewer's Heritage range. It is only available in June and is part of the celebration of Bateman's 140th anniversary (Valiant was first brewed in 1993).
Light amber in the glass with a thin white head, it is flat but fruity in a zesty kind of way with a clean bitter finish from the Styrian and Challenger hops. Bateman's recommend pairing Valiant with a strong Lincolnshire cheese, but I enjoyed mine with a new take on a traditional bar snack - black pudding flavour pork scratchings.
Already a fan of the deep fried pork rind (sorry but it's the combination of crunchy skin and slightly soft nuggets of fat kept in balance by the liberal addition of salt that gets me) I was blown away by a bag of these beauties from Openshaws. Through the judicious use of 'black pudding seasoning' they have managed to imbue the crispy morsels with a more meaty flavour, and they're something I will be looking out for again.
I will also be looking out for more of Bateman's Heritage beers throughout the rest of 2015 as they seem to be releasing one a month throughout the year, each brewed according to the season. To see what you've missed so far, and to see what's coming up, take a look at their range here.