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Classic Beer of the Month January 2014: Oakham JHB, 3.8%

Oakham JHB, 3.8%

The name Jeffrey Hudson probably doesn't mean that much to the average man in the street but beer drinkers are far more likely to know at least something about him, thanks to his celebration in the name of one of Britain's favourite pints.

Oakham JHBHudson lived in the 17th century. He was a courtier of King Charles I, indeed a favourite of the King's wife, Henrietta Maria. What particularly endeared him to the Queen was his diminuitive stature – he apparently grew no taller than 3 ft 6 ins and was much shorter for most of his adult life.

In the days when that sort of thing was considered great entertainment, he amused the royals by leaping out of a large pie, but went on to prove his worth in other ways, too, particularly when showing his mettle as a fighter, joining the Royalists in their Civil War conflicts.

Only when he blotted his copybook by shooting dead a rival in a duel did his standing in the court diminish, but he still went on to live for 63 years.

Hudson was born in Oakham, Rutland, the original home of Oakham Ales, which remembers the little battler through its best-selling beer, JHB (Jeffrey Hudson Bitter).

Legion of Fans

The pale golden ale, built on a base of Maris Otter pale malt and wheat malt, has a legion of fans, drinkers who appreciate how Challenger and Mount Hood hops combine to present a sherbety aroma of grapefruit and passion fruit, and then load the palate with juicy, peppery citrus notes.

Citrus zest zips around the tongue before leaving a dry, bittersweet finish with the vibrant tang of grapefruit peel.

JHB is a supremely gluggable beer, bursting with flavour and yet not so intense that you can't face another pint.

Such qualities earned it the title of CAMRA's Champion Beer of Britain in 2001 and the awards have just kept coming, helping Oakham go from strength to strength and underlining its position as one of the most dynamic breweries in Britain.

Moltum in Parvo – the motto of the small, historic county of Rutland – translates as 'a lot in a little'. It's a phrase that could have been coined for both Jeffrey Hudson and this modestly-proportioned 3.8% beer (4.2% in bottle).

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