I know, I know, I'm supporting the Evil Empire, well, one of the evil empires, that is Tesco. And I am drinking one of the ales that is exclusive to them. In my defence, it was on offer and I was looking for something a little hoppy and different from the usual assortment of hops that I have grown accustomed to over the last year or so. Besides, how often do I taste and review ruby ales (answer: not much) and so here I shall be mostly tasting and reviewing Red Ale from Revisionist and with a hint of Marston's too for good measure. I know, I know, this is becoming habit after Rye Pale Ale (here) and I have another on standby for later too...
It claims to be Pacific hops and, to its credit, it includes New Zealand in the Pacific, so that's better than a lot of the things I read these days. Would you like to know more?
It poured nicely into my glass and gave a bit of a frothy head, the sort I like, as it did so. This mellowed and by the time I was ready to drink it there was a creamy froth remaining on the top. Also, I had a proper Middle-class Problems moment trying to find a suitable space to actually take the picture above. Apparently my shelves are too close together to fit a beer bottle on them. Woe unto me and all who dwell in my abode! Ahem. Anyway, yes, there is a clear and cleansing aroma about this, light and airy with a touch of fruity. I have no clue what fruit, this isn't the exotic and slightly fusty fruit of Christmas puddings nor the zesty and citrus of oranges and lemons. It's deeper than the citrus but lighter than the alcohol soaked mustiness of Christmas, if you know what I mean. Maybe a touch of fruits of the forest and something else there that manages to neuter the sharpness.
Coloration is definitely on the ruby side, as one would expect of something called Red Ale, and there is depth to that too. Not too carbonated and not too flat. Because these are very helpful terms to the devoted beer drinker, I know. First taste isn't quite what one expects, but that's no bad thing. There's a touch of light grapefruit on the tongue and then a quick dash of lemon before the spice and alcohol kick in, free of the malt for the barest of seconds, and then the rolling malt takes us to the bittering finish. Not as bitter as some of the brews I've had recently (say Bishop's Finger here) but still noteworthy. It's not nearly as nice as Lancaster Red (link) but that's a bit of a stretch to hit, especially in something brewed in as much bulk I assume that this one is brewed in.
Further tastes confirm that swirl of fruit flavouring and a hit of the 4.2% ABV amongst it, making this quite a weak strong ale, if that makes sense. It certainly seems to hit well above its weight, though that may just be a function of my not having had a particularly large evening meal and not eaten since lunch (though that was a large meal) so take that with a pinch of salt. The aroma matures a little with each taste, which is a good thing, and it is not dissimilar to T.E.A. (link) in that regard. So, it's in that chasing pack of ales that I would be quite happy to repeat but probably not seek out. There's enough here that I would drink it again and enjoy it but not enough to make me think seriously about sessioning or repeating in larger quantities for whatever reason.
Enjoy this best of an evening surrounded by paper for research purposes, eating spring rolls and mozarella sticks because why not. Snuggle close to a loved one who can take the grease of a spring roll and not gag and then enjoy their company a while. Perhaps have a bottle each, laugh away the cares of the day and giggle at the attempts of winter to intrude upon your contentment and domestic bliss. Then vomit at the ridiculous twee-ness of it all and go to bed!
It's not a bad ale, but I just can't shake the fact that it was specially brewed for Tesco.