Lakeland's Brew Hub is well-known for its partner brewing ventures, which have included production batches for breweries such as Toppling Goliath, Cigar City and BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, but it's also hit its stride as a standalone brewery, with two house brews taking home gold medals at this year's Great American Beer Festival.
Rome City, a previous local craft beer of the week, won gold in the session IPA category, while the newly released Three Tun English Bitter took top prize in the ordinary or special bitter category.
Despite the name, bitters aren't actually very bitter at all. Traditional English bitters are the standard pub beer — balanced and easy to drink, without veering too heavily into either malty or hoppy territory, offering a lighter alternative to the stouts and porters that were commonplace during the bitter's inception in 17th century England.
Three Tun falls into the special bitter category — stronger than an ordinary bitter, but weaker than an ESB (extra special bitter). The beer pours a deep copper and presents a mix of sweet grain and earthy hops in the nose. The initial flavor is unmistakably malt-forward, with rich, biscuity flavors and a distinct nuttiness, but Three Tun finishes relatively dry, with a mild but firm bitterness. Again: balance, drinkability.
Short of enjoying an actual English bitter served on cask, Three Tun is among the most authentic representations of the style available in the bay area. It's the quintessential all-arounder — extremely approachable for novice drinkers, but nuanced and crafted well enough to medal in the nation's biggest beer competition.
Try Three Tun at Brew Hub's tasting room in Lakeland, along with many other brewery exclusives.
— Justin Grant
Have a suggestion for the Local Craft Beer of the Week? Brewers, have a limited release coming that we should know about? Email [email protected]