How to identify a quality real ale










Real ale, also known as cask ale, is really taking off in British bars, and not just in traditional pubs. Trendy bars and ‘drinkeries’ in vibrant city centres and urban environments are all racing to keep up with demand for a pint of the good stuff. But what really makes a quality real ale? If you’re tasting your very first pint of beer, how do you know what to look out for?

The four signs of a quality real ale

According to the experts at Cask Marque, the independent body set up to promote the making and selling of exceptional quality beer, there are four key things you can test real ale on:

  1. Temperature – the ideal pint of real ale should be served at between 10°C and 14°C
  2. Aroma
  3. Taste
  4. Appearance

The aroma, temperature and taste depend to a great degree on the particular type of ale you’ve got in front of you. For example, a Golden Ale should be pale amber or gold with a light to strong bitterness and a strong hop character, while a Porter is generally dark brown or black with a complex flavour, full ‘mouthfeel’ and pronounced finish. Bitters are brown or copper with a medium malt character and bitterness, while a pint of Mild can be dark or light in colour but with a low hop character and a low strength.

Getting to know the different colours, tastes, characters and aromas of different real ales is a skill, one that takes time (or quite a few tasting sessions!) to learn. You can go on real ale tasting courses, but all that you really need is a little experience.

Look for the Cask Marque

If you’re a real ale novice or unconfident about your beer tasting skills or knowledge, look for ales that have been marked with Cask Marque accreditation. This independent body has very strict criteria for what makes a Cask Marque beer, and they review each venue’s beers regularly so that standards are always kept high. Bodies such as Cask Marque ensure that beer fans can identify the best quality ale in Leeds, or wherever they live.

Cask Marque beers at Stables Pub

Stables Pub at Weetwood Hall is proud to boast not one, but many Cask Marque accredited real ales. Some of these popular brews have even won awards, proving the venue’s commitment to serving only the best quality real ales to its customers. So, if you want exceptional real ale in Leeds, Weetwood Hall’s traditional and friendly Stables Pub, converted from the original stables of the Manor House and boasting a cobbled courtyard perfect for the summer months, is definitely a contender.

Some would even argue that the beers at the Stables Pub are amongst the best real ales in Yorkshire or at least Leeds – why not pop in for a pint and see if you agree?


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