The latest from Atlas

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Amy Abroad: The British Motocross Champs and Sampling Some English Ales

I'm back in the UK now after a ton of fun in Europe. Upon my return I decided to ditch the downhill bike and start taking advantage of the motocross bike that is parked in our garage. This road legal 01 KX250 is pretty ancient and faded however it is far from washed up so I was keen to get it out and on the road. This decision turned out to be perfectly timed as it just so happened that a round of the British Motocross Championship was being held at Aylesbury, Wiltshire. I thought it would be the ideal place to get some tips and inspiration by watching the talented riders do their thing.

A bit about the British Motocross Championship…This domestic 8 round series has grown to become one of the most prominent championships in the world, attracting international riders to battle for an overall win. Even Queenstown local and the dirt bike legend, Scotty Columb, rode in this Championship back in 2009. Motocross has been a competitive sport in the UK since March 29, 1924 where the first recorded competition was held in Surrey.

It wasn’t going to be just a day of MX though. Inspired, whilst I was in France, by my chat with Monsieur Mouthom at Le Fer Rouge I was keen to try some more English ales. So before heading to the MX track, I took the KX for a spin to purchase a couple of beers that some friends had recommended. I got to the off licence (that’s UK for bottle shop) bought my brews and headed back (needless to say no drinking and riding involved, folks!) ready to hit the tracks! What better way to enjoy a day than watching some quality riding and sipping on a few quality ales. Nice. Below are my tasting notes.

Wychwood Hobgoblin 5.2% abv

This beer had by far the most visually interesting bottle, displaying a mischievous looking goblin waving a guitar on the label. Made in Oxfordshire at the Wychwood brewery this ruby coloured ale has a moderate, bittersweet taste. The chocolate malt and Fuggles hops produce a delicious, full-bodied, creamy toffee taste which is well balanced by the distinctive, fruity flavours. I particularly like the current motto for Hobgoblin: "What's the matter Lagerboy, afraid you might taste something?”. Perfect for drinking on a rainy day whilst watching motocross.

Well & Young Bombardier 4.7% abv

Known as a premium bitter, this iconic English beer was included with history in the making. Brewed at Charles Wells Ltd, founded in 1876 by Charles Wells, all beers including Bombardier brewed here are made with water which comes directly from a well Charles himself tapped in 1906. A legacy that will never die! I describe this bitter amber like I would describe its label; perfectly balanced, full-bodied, rich and very English.

Black Sheep Brewery, Black Sheep Ale 4.4% abv

The darkest of ales I chose, this premium bitter is a traditional Yorkshire beer. Superior quality Maris Otter malted barley is said to deliver consistent good tasting beer. A high amount of Crystal malt gives Black Sheep Ale its rich flavour and darker colouring and a touch of wheat used in the mashing process gives that lovely creamy head. I am not surprised Black Sheep Ale is one of the best-selling bottled beers across the country.

Morland’s Old Speckled Hen 4.5% abv

Presented as a ‘Strong fine ale’ this was definitely my favourite among the four I tasted. Very easy to drink, refreshing smooth flavour, fruity bitterness balanced perfectly and complimented with toffee rich malts finishing with a dry touch. Perhaps a perfect guest beer for Atlas this coming summer!

A cloudy, windy, rainy afternoon did not interrupt the speed of the racers nor did it disturb my excitement to be there watching. I was astonished and amazed with the overall performance of everything, from the size of the massive jumps, to the rumble of the loud engines, to the agility and pace of the riders. The day was a great success except that I was so engrossed I only drank one of the beers and still had three of the four beers left at the end of the final race. Instead of consuming them in the rain I decided to bring them home and enjoy them with dinner.

Next week another road trip is in order so we'll be heading down to Cornwall to check out the coves, do some surfing and search for some delicious ciders.