Timothy Taylor’s Best Bitter is the classic Yorkshire pint. It’s been quietly doing the job for generations of drinkers in its no-nonsense, do-your-tie-up-son way. It’s a fine balance of smooth sweetness with a robust backbone of hops. It’s one of my top ten beers and I’d drink myself into extreme corpulence on the stuff if I could.
But it no longer exists. From today, Timothy Taylor’s Best Bitter will officially be known as Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker Bitter, named for the magnificent little pub that I’ve written about numerous times.
Why the name* change? Some say it’s about branding – plain old ‘Best Bitter’ doesn’t sit well on the bar next to clips presenting Landlord, Golden Best, Ram Tam and (back again soon) Havercake. It’s also about projection – Best Bitter has long been overshadowed by it’s international rock ‘n’ roll star stablemate Landlord, and a new name will help it stand out from the bazillions of other Best Bitters out there.
Another theory is that when a punter walks in and asks for ‘best’ the bar staff will no longer have to say ‘is that Best Bitter or Golden Best, sir?’. Taylors say the new name reflects Keighley’s long (and still existing) traditions of engineering – (although i’m pretty sure the Boltmaker’s pub sign once had a picture of a bloke making arrows – it certainly has a crossbow bolt as part of the sign’s bracket).
Our Lad took the picture above at Keighley Beer Festival last saturday. Apprently some drinkers were convinced it was a brand-new beer they were tasting.
*The winner out of 450 suggestions for the new name was Phil Booth, longtime guv’nor of… The Boltmakers. Ironically – The Bolts shifts more of Taylor’s beer than almost any other pub – he won 36 gallons of the ‘new’ beer and £1000, which he’s donating to the Sue Ryder hospice in Oxenhope. My suggestion? ‘Yorkshire Glory’.