I'm down with it, I know my rap artists and my RnB and my softcore. And, of course, tonight I am reviewing the delights of Hip Hop by the Langham Brewery supplied to me by Willow's parents. I am guessing that this is pretty freely available down in Surrey as it boasts being traditional Sussex ale but I can say that I haven't seen it about up here, so, onward!
I apologise for the poor quality image taken with my phone. I really do look like the porn version of a beer blog at this point, all low quality blurred images and some panting commentary. Maybe I ought to shave the beard and only have a big bushy moustasche. What's that you say? Your beer is behaving strangely? You must come down to see me in my pantry and have a closer look at my barrel, no? I show you some mmm good beers, yes? Okay, I'm done now, you may proceed safely from here.
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The first thing to note is that this beer said it needed to be chilled and I actually chilled it. I don't usually do this and have something of a penchant for tasting beer at room temperature but I thought I would give this one the benefit of some chilling solely on the grounds that I had the time and the fact that I would be unlikely to get this again any time soon. So, there you have it, it was chilled. And, as a direct consequence, the carbonation was very calm upon opening and, indeed, upon pouring.
Aroma was definitely citrus, hard to place, but not sharp like lemons or limes nor delicate like peaches. This had a touch of grapefruit to it, the kind you get in tins and have in bed and breakfasts for breakfast where they do that kind of thing. And the colour, as the image above doesn't really show it well, is less copper and more bronzed but very light. Like the caramel you see in a Caramac bar from the 1980s. Essentially a blonde. Once in the glass the nose takes a change and there's definitely a yeasty note over-riding the hops, which may be in part due to the chilled nature of the bottle. No head formed on pouring and I wasn't being as careful as normal, again, I suspect this is a function of it being cold.
Taste is as the nose leads you to believe. Sharp opening from the hops, definite grapefruit tones, and then a wave of the malt washes beneath it. The hops remain, and develop, over the whole thing, the initial sharpness giving way to a more traditional bittering over the malt itself and then a flash of yeast in the bubbles that you just barely notice before it is gone again. Ending on the bitter note, subtly changed from the middle of the mouthful. Runs down the gulleys at the side of the mouth does this one, no emptiness in it but there's an element of it all being loaded into the bittering and less attention paid to the quality of the malt. Not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination but this firmly places this as a summer ale.
Repetition holds up well, not a guzzling beer but certainly one to keep going through. the temperature does make quite a difference and does actually improve the quality of the hops flavour. I may be trying this approach again with other ales. Nonetheless, this is a quality pint with some nice brewing qualities to it. The yeast in the bubbles and the hops over the whole affair do much to mask the malt, which is a little disappointing for a blonde, but then the selling point is clearly the hops and that is what it delivers. Nice and easy at 4% ABV, the sort that can stand a couple or just stand being itself with a high hop character.
Enjoy this cool after a hot day with high humidity, probably doing something manly and manual in the sunshine and gaining tan marks. Hot and sweaty, you could descend into the cool of the kitchen and sit on rickety chairs whilst talking a little too loudly for the indoors and laughing too long for the conversation. Shore up friendships, share some anecdotes and have a good time all round. Maybe you have nibbles, maybe you don't, maybe you have an entire Ploughman's - whatever, this will help ease the aches and pains as well as making you feel that you've done an honest day's work. Nice.