Bishop's Best a drinkable dark lager

HUGH The Neighbour is always on the lookout for interesting beers, and over the years he has come up with some crackers.

Of course, last weekend's heatwave conditions across most of Australia meant that anything that came in a bottle and had bubbles was going to go down pretty well. On reflection, it would had been a good time to try that Chinese Snow beer, which had only temperature to recommend it.

Anyway, late last Sunday afternoon HTN produced a six-pack of Bishop's Best, a dark lager from Matso's Broome Brewing up in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

I was pretty certain I had never tried Bishop's Best, but there was something a bit familiar about it, so I went back through my notes and found I had enjoyed a beer called Smokey Bishop from Matso's a couple of years ago.

Apparently, the name of the beer was changed some years ago, but the result is still a drinkable dark lager. Bishop's Best is a Western Australian take on a German-style Dankel, which is a popular style of darker coloured but overly dense beer from the Bavarian region.

It is important to account for this when you are drinking it. In Australia, we tend to equate the darker brews with porters and stouts, and you are not going to get that really thick mouth-feel and creamy burnt tastes from a dark lager.

I tend to suffer from initial disappointment when trying these beers - thinking of Asahi Black here - until I remember this is a different style of beer that has its own positives.

The Bishop's pours a dark copper colour in the glass, and held a reasonable head despite the unfriendly climatic conditions.

You get a chocolatey coffee nose and not too bitter taste, but do not expect it to be a stout.

It is quite refreshing on a hot day, and, Hugh, a long-time fan of Toohey's Old, really enjoyed the taste, as did I.

I believe the beer is now brewed at Gage Road Brewing in Fremantle, so it maintains its West Australian heritage, albeit at the other end of a very large state.

This would also explain the good quality of the Bishop's Best, coming from the home of Little Dove New World Pale Ale and Breakwater Australian Pale Ale.

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