I can smell Hibernation Ale a mile away. And I can see it easily too, a deep luxurious muddy clay brown, infused with hues of red brick.
The long distance aroma is chocolate and cream with a whiff of pungent hop. The taste is dampened by a hint of Utterly Butterly that fades as the beer frees from it’s fridge temperature. It’s tantalisingly fizzy, the perfect carbonisation to hold the flavours, aroma and mouthfeel in one ready-to-go package.
This is one for autumn, equalling adept for curling up with or washing down a seasonal pizza. It’d certainly warm you up after a long autumnal walk, but it’s a strong one though, so best take it slow.
Hibernation slow…Read the rest of this entry » Tags: autumn, great divide, hibernation
Beers these days are hoppy. Well, I reckon they probably are more hoppy than they used to be. Hoppy hoppy hoppy. Such…an easy word to use. And such a generalisation. I never wrote about beer 20 years ago. I was a young Yorkshire lad acclimatising to life in North Oxfordshire, still a decade or so away from being able to legally drink. But I don’t reckon the bitters were as hoppy nor the hops as citrusy. Hopback Summer Lightning was as young as I was, yet to influence the brewing scene in ways its creators couldn’t imagine.
But Summer Lightning and the US craft revolution have definitely had an impact on the direction of contemporary beer. It’s got paler and it’s got hoppier, right?
Very occasionally I’ll read beer tasting notes waxing lyrical about yeast or malt character, but still the hop talk outweighs the discussion of other ingredients 10 to 1. Hell will freeze over before we see tweets raving about how the mineral content of water affects mouth feel.
Well here’s a beer to shout about, and not because of hops. Co-op Harvest Ale. Read the rest of this entry »Tags: autumn, chestnut, co-op, co-operative, freeminer, harvest
Bretwalda was one of the few beers in the Sainsbury’s Beer Competition that didn’t jump of the shelf at me. Packaging is vital to any beer, and whilst there’s nothing wrong per se with Greene King’s Bretwalda style, it simpy didn’t appeal to me when I saw it.
That affects my perception of the beer and I already don’t exactly hold Greene King in great regard – it’s nothing personal I’ve just never really enjoyed the beers hugely. And I’m firmly on the side of the fence that doesn’t rate their IPA.
So given that I’m starting from a slightly negaive point of view, I’m pleased that I can write about Bretwalda positively. My first impression is that it’s sweet and peppery – white pepper that is – with hints of spices and an almost chilli or ginger aftertaste. It’s fruity beyond the interesting pepperiness, like copice pears, and the fruity flavours are distincively English which must be the Greene King and Marston’s apple yeast I’ve read about.
The peppery taste adds real bite to what could otherwise be quite a flat bottled beer, and the caramel malty character makes it drinkable and slighly sweet. A real ‘real ale’ sourness comes through which makes me crave more refreshment.
This is a real autumn beer, in colour, taste and bottle design, you can almost taste the colder days and browning leaves.
This isn’t really my style. Whilst for me, beers like this are infinitely more interesing than the staple bitters found in Wetherspoons. I like the English complexion, texture and aftertaste, but it’s still a tad nondescript. That’s harsh, it’s just a little, underwhelming, for me. For those that favour bitters and autumnal ales this could be a real winner, with something interesting others beers might not have, but if you prefer continental or pale ale styles rich in hops than it might not be your winter cup of tea.
For me, I’ll give this another go, but only at this time of year. I’ll hazard a guess that it’s twice the beer drank in a real pub, under the orangey leaves of an English oak on a chilly Sunday afternoon in November.