Summer is here! Lovely weekend with lovely weather and a garden in which to enjoy it. First chance to try out the bench (it's a bit wobbly) and actually have meals outdoors. Obviously, in such glorious sunshine, I had to have beers. Now, I won't be making a habit of this (I hope) as I suspect that one can have too many beers but here is the first Sunday beer review since I started this stupid idea.
It is an honour that goes to Random Toss by Flipside and is something that Willow picked up for me whilst out at Wollaton - seems that place may be good for random craft ales. Mind you, it can also pile on the price and there's a local brewery will do for cheaper. Can't sniff at craft ales though.
Would you like to know more?
So, it was a lovely still afternoon and there was the smell of burning charcoal in the air, along with the smoky tang of meat and firelighters, drifting peacefully across the garden all abuzz with bees and other pollinating insects. Our vegetables were green and healthy looking and the bench was taking my weight without creaking. Golden sunlight streamed over the top of the house to the patio and the silver birch looked bronze.
So it was that the beer was much anticipated. The opening was, however, rather explosive and the fountain of bubbles that erupted was a little disappointing. Granted, I had not chilled the bottle beforehand but, being stored in the kitchen, the ambient temperature was considerably lower than outside and so I'm not sure this was entirely normal. In the event I had to sort of let it get on with it and wait for it to finish. It was clear that there was much disturbance of the sediment in the bottle, it being bottle conditioned, and the froth carried a lot of yeast and the like with it. I suspect that this particular bottle had been bottled badly and too early but I'm no expert.
On pouring the golden colour was on the cloudy side, though sediment was kept in the bottle, and the head remained rather vigorous. Definite citrus in the nose, the bottle claimed lemon and lime but there was more of an orange zestiness in there. Reminiscent of the smell of a chocolate orange actually, that level of pungence rather than the tang of citrus. First taste revealed an unsurprising yeasty undertone with a pretty crazy level of carbonation that is dominated from the beginning by the taste of orange and bitter hops. Remains bitter down the middle, the sides are full but can't compete, and then drops to an oddly flat aftertaste but still dominated by the orange hops.
At 4.4% ABV there's not a lot to really complain about (apart from the bad batch I think I got) and I don't think I've really done it many favours here. Mind you, it was a good beer to try in the garden and it benefits from being in the outdoors. For that reason, it is a proper summer ale and probably well matched with barbeques and roasted meats or dried mushrooms. Not something I will be rushing out to get again but nowehere near as bad as the disappointment experienced with Tod's Blonde (here).