This was a multiple beer night, so I can't do full reviews of any of them. It was a 'cultural exchange' in that the three people involved in tasting the beers brought beers that were local to them. I think it was a great success and look forward to doing it again and posting the results here. On a Thursday, of course, as has become (kinda) a tradition.
The guests were, in the order of being drunk: Colley's Dog from Tring Brewery; Old Leg Over from Daleside in Yorkshire; Iceberg from Titanic breweries and Side Pocket on a Toad from Tring again.
The first of these, Colley's Dog was a ruby beer that claimed to have a nutty walnut flavour to the aftertaste and also that it was "not overstrong". I found it to be a heavier drink than my usual tipple but too dissimilar from Riggwelter for me to make the link. Certainly there was a fruity aroma to it and the fizz was surprisingly delicate after seeing the bubbles and the amount of head that was produced. I detected some liquorice in the flavour and it had a tendency to stick around in the mouth, almost as though it were viscous. Alas, I didn't think to take notes so I haven't got the ABV. I enjoyed it, but it would not really have been something I'd have had outside the exchange. I think it needs to be drunk with a meal that involves meat and is much more suited to the wintertide than the warm evening that it was drunk on.
Old Leg Over was essentially a standard bitter with a silly name. It had nothing special in the aroma, apart from a definite tang of yeast that was clear after Colley's Dog. However, thankfully, the yeast was not overpowering and there was a definite taste of hop. Lord knows what hop but there was some, that fiery spicey sort of feeling one gets from having a good beer. My company, far better versed in this game than I, suggested Goldings in a mock deprecation, and I suspect he may have been correct. Certainly it was not fuggles or Crystal. It was a warm beer and, strangely, I think would go well with a strongly spiced meal such as a curry or Mexican dish. Actually, better the latter, a dry heat to a meal would suit the slightly 'wet' aftertaste and the extra heat would compliment the smoother feel to the beer. Again, no ABV this time.
Iceberg was the offering from the locality and by far the best of the bunch. A lovely smell with citrus tangs about it and a lovely golden colour. It put me in mind of summer ales and honey beers, though this didn't have the same sweetness or heavy flavour of a proper honeyed ale. It had a fizz to it and may even have been good chilled, though I confess to enjoying it warm. There was a good blend of hop and yeast to this one so that the two combined well to create a fuller and more satisfying flavour. There was another claim of nuttiness but I didn't detect it, I got the extra barley though and there was a much more wheaty texture to it, if that is the right word. This one stood well on its own and would do well before a meal. Indeed, the warm evening and the pressure of the coming thunderstorm meant that this ale was best suited to the environment. Well chosen and easily drinkable.
Finally there was Side Pocket on a Toad. I think this suffered a great deal by being the last one to be tried and so I shall fall short of describing it fully, it deserves another chance all on its own.