Today’s beer: Shepherd Neame’s Spitfire. Premium Kentish ale. 4.5% ABV.
When I was a little boy, I wanted like many other little boys to be a pilot. In point of fact, I’ve developed an irrational reluctance to fly over the years. Maybe it’s the war movies and Commando comics I was into as a kid, or maybe it’s the basic fear of death, but I’m not getting into an airplane anytime soon. I still love a good aviation film, though, and the only thing I’d rather do more than watch a vintage fighter-plane blow shit up is drink a beer named after one. Here’s where the Spitfire comes in.
I love how the guys at Shepherd Neame need a really good reason to brew a new product, as if the global market of drinkers, alcoholics and arrogant reviewers wasn’t enough. Spitfire, the ale, is named after the RJ Mitchell-designed Supermarine Spitfire, which, as any petrolhead worth their motor oil would know, was pretty much the aircraft of the Royal Air Force during World War II. The beer was first brewed in 1990, to celebrate fifty years since the Battle of Britain. I now suggest you Google this stuff and catch up on your reading, because I don’t have the patience to write you a history lesson.
I wasn’t originally too impressed with Shepherd Neame, but over the course of four different beers my opinion of this brewery has changed enough to admit that they can brew a good fucking beer. The Spitfire is a good fucking beer, no doubt about it. It’s a light drink, and smells pleasantly fruity with a good dose of hops, but isn’t too bitter on the nose or the tongue. The taste lives somewhere in the area of roasted, nutty fruitiness, or fruity, roasted nuttiness, or you-get-my-fucking-point, and ends on a rather spicy note, which fits because I read that there’s a ton of pepper in this brew. While the colouration isn’t out of the ordinary, and it doesn’t pour with much of a head, I still say it’s an interesting drink. It wouldn’t hold up against most of the other ales I’ve had, but I haven’t been drinking for a while now, which makes this stuff damn good, at least to me.
Read what Prayag has to say about the other Shepherd Neame beers he’s had: