Thursday, 22 May 2014

Beer Review: Inferno

This little beauty was, believe it or not, a Valentine's Day present from Willow. However, with one thing and another I had not got round to drinking it. I'd been waiting for a special occasion I think but there hasn't really been such a thing since when it was presented and so... well, I caved and decided that I would have it tonight for no particular reason.

It is, of course, Oakham Ales's Inferno that promises to ignite my taste buds with flickering hops of five varieties from the Yakima Valley. Well. I have no clue where that is and even less what is meant by 'flickering' in this case, but it does rather sound 'ticing, no?

Would you like to know more?

It is a lovely pale colour when poured, slightly edging toward amber territory but firmly in the pale bracket. Nice fizz, decent head, and the smell is very nice indeed. Rich fruit bubbles up and there is a definite nose of floral elegance in there. A hint of spice on the edge of it all brings to mind the name of the ale and all is pretty well with the world. At 4.4% ABV it's on the edge of what is normal, at least according to the reviews that I've done here, and it is evident in the smell. No, really, there is enough of a hint that this is an ale of strength enough that you won't accidentally quaff too many.

First taste is awash with fruity hints and blossoms of hops. Definitely pin-pricking tastebuds as it goes and waving various wafts of different flavour across the tongue. There's definite orange in the node and this makes a second appearance as it swills about in the mouth. Low malt, little to no sense of yeast in there, and the hops dominate nicely, easily filling the space provided. A thicker fruit flavour than, say, Hopping Hare (here) and more to it than the rather fine Manchester Brown (here). It's in the same company as the Thornbridge ales, actually, very much an adventure through hops flavouring as the taste develops. The after-taste is dry and strong, definite bittering (as claimed on the bottle, can't fault them on that), but without it being over-powering. It grows further over multiple tastes and it's easy to see why this does so well at beer festivals and why my friend who has served at these things rates it so highly.

Enjoy best in a bevy on a night when there's nothing to do in the morning. Lazy summer or early spring days would work best - after a day of toil - with a good book on hand to soak up the night's entertainment. Supplement with filling food and salad, preferably with French Dressing or at least something that has a strong vinegar involved (balsamic not so much) in order to draw out that fruit nose and hit on the sips. It can stand spice, tonight was Mexican pizza, but would work better with a rich nut roast and gravy than a steak and mustard. Good, refreshing, fayre!

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