It doesn't really let you be surprised. Right there on the bottle it tells you that the hops are from the Czech Republic and that the ABV is 4% and therefore you just know that this is going to be a bit more like a lager than a beer because that's the way ales go down in Central Europe. And, sure enough, that's exactly what you get. It's got a spice to it and it does have a bit of a buck to it as you sup it but its not the same as something made with Goldings or Fuggles. It has low colour pearl malt as its main component and I can only imagine that the less colour there is the less certain the taste is. I mean, there is a distinct taste to the beer but it's not a strong one. The colour of it is also a bit... thin. The head was pretty disappointing and I'm left thinking that this is a lager, not an ale.
Smell is very much like beer, best as I can describe it, in that it has that faint whiff that one associates with breweries and public houses. In that sense it is similar to the Thwaites I was drinking earlier in the year - though it wasn't the same sort of memory based punch that Thwaites was able to exploit. Also, the initial taste is lost inamongst the bubbles of the carbonation, and this isn't too much, so it is rather delicate. There's a subtle spice from the hops that crests with the bubbles but it gets drowned out by the fizz. Following that there is a lingering awareness of malt but it stays light rather than heavy and illusive to try and get a proper bite to it. It is, therefore, fairly non-descript. I have no doubt that it's a fine ale and that it will do well in pubs with crowds of people that are wanting to stay off the lager and have a better pint but it just doesn't do what I'm looking for.
I should add the caveat that it is streets ahead of Two Hoots (here) or Tod's Blonde (here) but it still left me a little dissatisfied. In its favour it is not a particularly strong beer and so I suppose it would be a good one to have a few of with friends whilst out on the lash or before one goes clubbing. It may even serve before one goes to see Mr B. The Gentleman Rhymer, but don't expect much more than that.
Is it so wrong that I look at the chaps on this video and wish I could have their style?