Now, I've heard and agreed with quite a lot of criticism for the Marston's range over the last month or so, but I still had this in from ages back. Being the sort that I am, I thought I ought to give it a chance and, you know, I'm glad that I did. Welcome, one and all, to a Sunday lunchtime ale from New World.
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This has been sitting in the kitchen for some time and so long one might also be tempted to say it is bottle conditioned. But it isn't. Anyway, the opening snick was crisp and clear without being over stated or full of itself, speaking of a limited amount of added carbonation for a clearly mass-produced ale. Pouring elicited a lovely copper colour and a decent head, as can be seen above, that hung around for quite some time. The aroma wasn't immediately apparent and one had to lean close to divine what one could. The best I can come up with is that it was full and fruity in the hops department. There was no mistaking the fact that the brewers have managed to fill this with the hops. What fruit is more difficult to pin down but there's something of orange in there, like toffee orange or the smell one gets from orange peel before it has been allowed to go hard and brittle. It was pungent at close quarters.
First taste reveals orange hops on the tongue at first, racing along to be replaced relatively quickly by the limited malt that is subsumed in the fizz and the points of almost-but-not-quite yeast that pop about in the mouth. As this drains toward the aftertaste with not much in the way of development, there's no bitter hops kick in the last part, it is time to ruminate on the fact that this is a light enough ale at 4.1% ABV. I have recently learned that the units of alcohol are based on 3.5% ABV ale and so this would probably be classified as a strong ale and would not be weak enough for you to drive after a half. Luckily, the encroaching aftertaste of candied peels with bitter sides do not fool you into thinking that this is the sort of ale that one could do that with, which is good.
I had this with a ham sandwich and some crisps and I can say that it provided a lovely accompaniment to that simple meal. In short, it's not a bad little ale and does something to rescue the reputation of Marston's from what I've been hearing. That said, it is a jobber of an ale with nothing that really stands out or demands recognition. It has its place, at lunch I suspect or at a simple evening gathering, but is not the sort of ale one would session nor the sort to be savoured after every sip. There's a creaminess to it like one would expect to find on tap and, for that reason, I suspect it would do better in an actual pub.
Enjoy this with an uncomplicated meal in the snug with some friends from work at the end of the working day. Make sure that you are all walking home and have a pint each over which you can discuss the news of the day and the likelihood that we all pretty much alike except for the bloody [insert xenophobic remark here of your choice]. After that, discuss work politics if you must and muse upon the provenance of the meal you are eating. Finish the pint and go on your way. It's that kind of ale.