Bishops Finger takes its name from the finger-shaped signposts which pointed pilgrims on their way to the tomb of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury and was the first strong ale to be brewed by Shepherd Neame after malt rationing was eased in the late 1950s. It is one of the UK’s oldest bottled beers, brewed since 1958.
Bishops Finger holds EU Protected Geographical Indication, recognising its unique provenance. Uniquely, it is brewed to a charter which states it can only be brewed by the head brewer on a Friday and that it must be brewed using 100% natural ingredients, Kentish hops and barley, and the brewery’s own artesian mineral water.
In England, many breweries have a number of bitters in their range. The style that has come to be known as Premium or Special Bitter generally includes the stronger ( 4.6%-6.0%) examples. These are mostly served in the traditional way from the cask, but some are also found in bottle form where the extra malt allows them to stand up better than the more delicate ordinary Bitter. In the US, the designation ESB is common for this style, owing to the influence of Fuller’s ESB, the London brew that was among the first to be exported to the States. In the US, some ESBs are made with American hops and a clean yeast, but the alcohol range is the same, as is the range of bitterness, usually between 25 and 35 but occasionally creeping higher.
5.4% ABV | 500ml