Tonight it is the turn of Wainwright from Thwaites, they of the horses's heads on a dark background that I remember from my youth, and the first award winning beer I think I've tried thus far.
A golden beer named after the famous fell-walker and guidebook writer who loved, and lived in, the Lake District it has a pleasantly muted 'pop' when you open it and fizzes well. I tend not to pour my beers from bottles, perhaps I should, but I can say it had a nice golden colour to it and wasn't so strong at 4.1% ABV. I have a lot planned for the morning and thought I wouldn't get too sleepy come then on this. I have to say the aroma did not disappoint but I don't know how to describe it. It smelled like my childhood bar meals. Anna said it smelled of her father when he'd come home after drinking. It smells, in essence, like we both think beer should. There's a maltiness to it that is wrapped in a faint tang, but mainly malty.
The taste is good. It tastes much stronger than it is, with a fizz that is pleasant rather than overpowering or disappointing. There is that maltiness again, but not strong, and it underpins the flavour. Surfing that wave there is that hoppy quality that I loved in Thoroughbred Gold (link) and that lends a touch of spice to proceedings. Not very hot spice, just... fuzzy. It claims to have 'delicate citrus flavours' but I lack that kind of developed beer palate. Certainly there is an edge to the taste, just sharp enough to register, and this is good. Works better on its own, I imagine this would be too fine to be noticed were I eating anything whilst tasting - but tonight's beer was a bit special after an odd few days so it was had alone. Overall, it is light in taste rather than overpowering, which is... well, pleasant and the aftertaste doesn't linger too long and certainly not in the back of the throat. It is a proper beer. It actually tastes, for want of a better term, manly.
It also has a bit of a hit and weight to it. For a beer that is weaker than most of those that I try it punches well above its weight and, by the end of the bottle, I can report that I was more tipsy than even I was after the Riggwelter (link) which has a much higher ABV. I can only assume that this is down to the fizzier texture of the Wainwright - which would probably give it a good enough head. I recall that the Iceberg I so enjoyed at my first Cultural Exchange of Beers had a similar quality and came with a good, proper head to it.
Drink with friends and share the experience. Outside, and under an umbrella for shade, this would be a good summer beer to laze away the long evenings or simply to accompany a ploughman's lunch as you have good conversation with your designated driver on their lemonade. Failing that, in a decent enough snug with the curtains pulled it would warm you against the winter elements and brace you for a sharp walk home through frost - probably not enough for high winds and rain though. Finally, drunk indoors whilst gazing into your garden, this would serve as an excellent spring beer. It's only absence would then be in Autumn, when, I'm afraid, Shepherd Neame has got it covered with their Late Red (link).