Black Sheep Brewery was founded in the early 90's, an offshoot from Theakston's, which was at the time part-owned by Scottish and Newcastle. Paul Theakston couldn't face seeing the family firm become part of a large conglomerate and decided to go it alone.
That the new venture has outlived the big multi-national is in part a testament to the changing face of British brewing. As the 90's came to an end, the move away from bland, mass-produced beer had begun to take hold and smaller breweries were once again beginning to flourish.
Black Sheep Ale has a bit of history behind it then, and is now 20 years old. I wanted to like it, given the heritage and what it stands for but although it's a well-crafted brew, it's not really to my taste, being a bit too malt-led. The taste was quite toffee-like but nicely crisp at the same time. I found it to be okay but a bit old-fashioned - just the sort of beer your dad would like.
The best bit about it was the the label was very basic and floated right off after a soak in the sink. This means no scraping was needed to clean the bottle up and it's now standing by to receive some of my next batch of amazing homebrew.