It gives me great pleasure to be reviewing this excellent beer. I first became aware of Bad Kitty, made by Pocklington’s Brass Castle Brewery, after happily finding it on tap at a nearby pub. It’s fair to say, I was pretty much hooked from the first taste and it became my go-to pint of choice every time I visited the same establishment (though to my horror, in the warmer months they take it off as they say people don’t want to drink dark ales when it’s hot. Well, I bloody do! But I digress…)
Brass Castle make a wide array of different brews at their self-titled ‘nanobrewery’, from lager and hoppy session ales right through to their heavyweights like Eclipse, the mouth-watering Burnout and of course Bad Kitty, their vanilla porter. When not on tap, Bad Kitty can be picked up in 500ml bottles (none of that soft 330 ml nonsense here) and it comes bottle-conditioned too, meaning that when you pour this brute, it sounds like it’s going to be a lively one. It settles down very quickly though, and the initial ‘hiss’ doesn’t in fact come to a head. This porter is a beaut to look at, a very dark and rich colour with just a hint of ruby reds in there too.
It promises ‘vanilla’, so does it deliver? In a word, yes – but it doesn’t limit itself or overdo it on this one flavour in particular, as to do so would risk a sickliness which would kill the appeal overall. Some beers get this so wrong; Bad Kitty gets it completely right. There’s certainly lots of vanilla in the aroma: it’s a sweet-smelling drop, and in fact it’s difficult to detect anything other than this sweetness at first. However, take your first drink, and all of the other flavours which have been hiding come into play. Rich, malty, even nutty, with just a hint of that vanilla sweetness at the end of the taste. There is no sense of disappointment whatsoever in this porter: it’s luxurious, smooth and well-developed.
With an ABV of 5.5%, it’s no slouch on the booziness but if anything, you could believe it was slightly stronger anyway, because of that depth of tastes it offers. There’s none of that disappointing thinness which some porters have, either: this porter has body and clout.
We at the Drunken Goat rate this as one of our all-time favourite beers, quite frankly. It’s a distinctive and dependable treat for us, and we have no hesitation in giving it a full five goats.