I'd been saving this for a special occasion and, well, one arrived. Still thinking about one of the oddest day trips I have ever taken (see these entries) and whatnot along with finishing a tranche of marking at crunch time meant that it was special occasion enough. Tonight then I bring you: Thornbridge's Halcyon Imperial IPA.
The picture, of course, is not my garden. Would be lovely if it were. Would you like to be knowing more?
At 7.4% ABV this was going to be no slouch and, given the previous entries from this particular stable, I reckoned I had much to look forward to. I had been forewarned that the bouquet of this particular one could be a bit over powering but I was hopeful that, like Dark Raven, it almost wouldn't matter. Sure enough the aroma on opening was powerful, so full of different tones and scents that I confess that I was totally unable to get anywhere with analysing it. It was fruity. I can do no better than that. Fruity and with a great deal of citrus. On pouring, that just increased, it pretty much filled the glass and the room. Colour was more in the straw vicinity than pale ale, but this has been done before and so I see no great harm in it. A vigorous head greeted me on pouring and stayed around a while as if to get to know me. The aroma made me hold back from tasting for a while, just because it was so strong and vaguely intoxicating.
Not too long though, I was tired and ready to move onto a second beer (such a thing was not to be however and that never happened). It tasted strong. I mean, it was nice enough and I can't fault it in any particular way but nor can I rightly say what it tasted like. Very fruity, again, but with so many different flavours I was simply unable to tie anything down enough to comment. It started fruity, stayed fruity in the middle and ended fruity with a fruity aftertaste. There was citrus, pineapple, mango and orange that I could place but I have no idea when each one of those hit. It was a melange. Anna suggested that it was more like Rekorderlig fruit cider in character and I have to say I don't know enough to comment on the veracity. Simply put, this is a very fruity ale.
When is best to have this? Probably a summer barbeque and make sure you sip it. This is not a sessioning ale and it is not one that can really share space with food. Have this whilst setting up the fire and the cooking, it's strong enough to withstand the smoke and the smell of lighter fluid. It is the sort of colour that would be best in sunlight, the dying embers of the sun's glow would sparkle nicely in this. Then you'd switch to something a little less complex for the main meal and finish up with Dark Raven or Ilkley Black to match the coming night. Yeah, this is the beginning of an adventure rather than one in and of itself.