The last one I had from this brewery was Black Cat (here) long ago and so I'll admit that I was slow to take this up despite finding it very much on offer. But it is that time again when beers are had and then I dissect them in excruciating detail. Tonight we are having the joy of Pride of Pendle for company from Moorhouse's and it looks a little like this:
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The first thing to strike with this ale is the floral and spring nose released by opening. It does actually smell a bit of the countryside in the lee of Pendle Hill from when I was last in Clitheroe and I have to hand it to them for that achievement. It's the sort of floral one would expect after a fall of rain in summer and that's no bad thing. The colour, as you can see above, is a lovely deep walnut or light chestnut that pours, if you're careful, with a little head. Nice amount of fizz that doesn't end up being too artificial or mass-produced (yes, I am turning into a horrid beer snob in this regard) and you get a hint of the spice in those bubbles as they break surface. At 4.1% ABV this promises to be as easy on the head as it is on the eye.
First taste delivers on that spice promise that swarms across a good but unassuming malt and gives way to a hops bite - enough variety there to carry that through to the end without becoming unnecessarily sharp or bitter. Once that hop finishes ragging at the tongue there's a mellow finish fading to a slightly bitter aftertaste that would be well served with a saucey dish or something that wasn't swimming in spices. I had this with a nice meal accompanied by a good coleslaw and it suited that very well.
And it keeps going after that first hit. Running like a true warrior through to the very end of the cross-country without being afraid of getting dirty or being in the chasing pack from time to time to catch breath before attacking on the next slope. Bring in food and you've got a good little runner that, while never the underdog, will be the one that ends up being cheered on and possibly winning. Not overly creamy, smarming around in the best kit and a well maintained hairstyle, but nor is it a scratter. Indeed, it sits neatly in the middle of the creamy-sharp spectrum and looks a little like Iron Bru, but that's no criticism.
Enjoy with food on a summer's day even if you eat indoors. Can be done after a string shower or on a clear day so long as the meal includes salad and the chance of salad cream or vinaigrette. Take small sips, close your eyes often and have a lazy conversation as it slips down. Good in mixed company and let it conjure images of pristine farmland in the Lancashire region.