I love little breweries in the UK, I really do, they seem to have an endless supply of oddly titled and generally very drinkable varieties of beer. The cultural beer exchange showed me this phenomenon at the height of its power with Tring Brewery. It was excellent stuff, both of the ales that I tried. So, naturally, when I happened across Little Valley in a National Trust shop at Fountains Abbey, literally just up the road from the place I jumped at the chance to nab me some. Cost me more than what I usually pay for beer too.
So it is that tonight, Matthew, I shall be tasting and reviewing Tod's Blonde.
Be warned going further!
It has rapidly become apparent, throughout my beer drinking of late, that I rather like me a nice blonde ale. Something about Pale and Creamy seems to speak to my inner beer drinker. This had a nice look about it, claimed to be cool and crisp and had an ABV of 5%. Just my kind of beer. I was therefore a little surprised when it fizzed so upon opening. There was more than the usual wisp of CO2 and it seemed very like it was going to get in the way of the beer. Also, on pouring it out I was surprised to see it being... well, cloudy. Even Anna commented that it looked like someone had peed into the bottle and, well, she wasn't wrong.
I took a sip with some trepidation. It was indeed very yeasty. And not the spicey yeast that I've had in beers in the past, just yeasty. It wasn't tastey, it didn't really work for flavour and it was, well, yeast. Worse, there was no bitterness to the hops that had been used. There was no variation in the falvour. I persevered with it but it just wasn't a very nice beer. Mind you, it was very coy about what hops had been used to create it on the bottle, simply telling me the no-brainer that hops had been used in the creation of the product. Well, no shit. But there was no really fire from those hops. There was also malt used in it, and the malt didn't really show through either. I know what you're thinking: I said it was yeasty and so perhaps I'd got some of a ruined batch. No, the yeast wasn't that strong, it shouldn't have over-powered anything, but there was just nothing else in there. I could have been drinking poorly flavoured water but for the fact that I could tell there was alcohol in there.
Don't drink this. If you see it, know it to be an over-priced beer that trades entirely on the fact that it is local. It says it's organic, which usually makes for a great little beer, but in this case it fell very flat, despite the extra carbonation that it had recieved at some point. I was disappointed. I waited for this and spent a bit more than I'd have liked on it.