Thursday, 15 August 2013

Beer Review: Against the Grain

It's been a long-ish day with some highs and lows - we went to the seaside today you see with the childrens, and so I am now going to kick back with another of the beers that were kindly bought for me by my students before I left my last school.

This one is the Wold Top Against the Grain which I confess to have been looking forward to. It was bought because my lessons are apparently very much against the mainstream, thus against the grain (this was a compliment, I think: I shall take it as such anyway). Also, the artwork on the bottle (see below) is very close to the Socialist Realism style around the Five Year Plans (actually, I think it's more like the style associated with Constructivism, which is far superior). Bless my students, we hadn't studied the Soviets yet so they must have gleaned that tidbit from a colleague of mine.

Would ye like to know more?

Actually, I was a little too eager to try this wheat-less ale with its promises of being gluten free and totally organic. Plus, it was from a Yorkshire brewery within the Wold Top stable and I do like my Black Sheep so it was even more appealing. So eager, in fact, that I didn't bother pouring it out and instead had it straight from the bottle. I haven't done that for a while. Also, I didn't take the time to do a proper aroma check. Suffice to say it lived up to the promise of a citrus tang in the air and the carbonation wasn't so strong that it knocked that out. Taste was similarly satisfying, definite hit of the hops (no idea what kind but lacking the spicy warmth of Fuggles) followed by a pleasant smoothness and a hint of malt. Or, at least, something very like malt. It was lovely and light on the tongue and the palate, keeping that hoppy taste as I got further down the bottle, and never giving in to its own strength, at 4.5% ABV.

I had it with a takeout pizza (oh the humanity) and it held its own very nicely over the artificial taste of that. It was surprisingly good with the saltiness of bad takeout too, perhaps that just enhanced the taste. The smell stayed pleasant over the evening. The overall taste didn't diminish either, as it sometimes does with these ales as the alcohol seems to take over, so that the last sip was as satisfying, and oddly thirst-quenching, as the first. Other things to report are that it doesn't quite behave the same way as other ales I've had. Bear in mind the fact that I am a colossal lightweight and most ales have me pleasantly drunk and bloated by the end of an evening. This did not do that. Even now, at the end of it, I do not feel the usual bloatedness that I have come to associate with drinking ale over spirits. I put this down to the lack of gluten but I could be wrong.

Whilst not my all time favourite beer this is definitely worth a repeat performance and definitely worth having more than one in a sitting.

Enjoy on its own or with a hearty meal in good company. This can be large or small. Have wide-ranging and convivial conversation in the continental style and accompany with a long day out if you can - the fresh air will complement the taste and the smell nicely. Laugh and repeat for as long as the night is amusing. This is sessionable ale and will stand you in good stead for a good few hours if you treat it right.

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