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Places: Dark Revolution, Salisbury

Before moving to Leeds, a city bursting with fantastic beer, I lived in Salisbury. Those from Salisbury will know that it is home to a vast number of beautiful old English pubs that are steeped in history, as well as some great traditional breweries producing award winning real ale, like Hopback brewery, Downton brewery and Plain Ales.

What Salisbury has lacked, however, is a brewery dedicated to producing fresh craft beer in exciting, progressive styles. Further still, the vast majority of venues seldom serve this beer, instead opting to offer a large cask range of very traditional English styles,

with keg lines being occupied by substandard macro lagers.

However, tucked away in a trading estate just outside the historic town lies Dark Revolution; a small brewery producing a pretty extensive range of beers, from session pales to Oud Bruins. Recently, they have opened a fantastic modern taproom in the brewery offering ten keg lines (including two nitro), a small bottle selection with non-beer options, a crowler fill option and even pizza courtesy of The Slinky Fox.

Code Red (left) and Underworld (right)

Thanks to the reasonably priced flight board I worked my way through the taps, trying everything except for the Wild Child saison, which wasn’t pouring. The pales were decent, if a little malt heavy, the best of which being Devotion, a really balanced American Pale full of New World hops, namely Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe.

The darker beers were both great. The Velveteen chocolate milk stout wasn’t overly sweet and the rich chocolate and coffee flavours from the roasted malts came through really well. Voodoo was a smoked chipotle porter, which wasn’t hot or spicy like other chipotle porters out there (take Mikkeller’s Texas Ranger for example), but the chipotle came through nicely. Both beers worked great on nitro coming out smooth.

The highlights by far though were the two barrel aged beers: Underworld and Code Red. Underworld is an oak aged imperial saison with Brett, and is a really well made saison; dry, crisp and a little spicy. The oaky flavours from the barrel work really well with the brett, and it tastes half its 8% ABV.

Code Red was even better. This Bourbon barrel aged Old Bruin was brewed with cherry and hibiscus and comes out a fantastic dark red colour. The tart, sour cherry is strong but not overpowering (as it often can be) leaving enough room for the smoky wood underneath. It has an amazing acidic vinegar finish that took me back to when I first tried the amazing Duchesse de Borgogne. I could quite literally, given the opportunity, drink this all night. It is without doubt one of the best beers I’ve had this year.

Aside from the beers, the space is fantastic. The incongruity of the looming stainless steel conical fermenters next to the stacked wooden barrels is really appealing, and the high ceilings with stretching wooden beams belied the breweries industrial surrounding.

It was also great to see a brewery of this size and relative youth to have such an extensive barrel program, especially as both the barrel aged beers were so fantastic. The beer soon to go into tequila barrels is a collaboration with the fantastic Marble Brewery, and looks like it will be a sour style with Brett and grapefruit, which will definitely be one to keep an eye on.

If you ever find yourself near Salisbury on a Friday or Saturday with some time to kill or in need of a decent beer, then the Dark Revolution tap should be top of your list.

The Dark Revolution tap is open Fridays 3pm to 10pm and Saturdays 1pm to 10pm. They are also open for take out cans and bottles Monday to Friday 10pm to 5pm.

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