Thursday, 19 February 2015

Beer Review: Pure Ubu

I'm sure I remember some film company or TV show making vehicle that had this ale's name and so I went looking and I was right! Paramount had Ubu productions and there was, indeed, a canine named Ubu. So it came as no surprise to me that the Pure Ubu brew from Purity would have a dog named Ubu as the inspiration. Ubu? Who do? You do. Do what? Remind me of the pooch.

Alas, I no longer remember which TV show, in particular, had me see this so much that it became so known in my mind. Might have been Star Trek? No matter. Tonight is not about old television shows it is about ales, and tonight's effort is, in cae you haven't guessed, Pure Ubu by Purity and is something I picked up a while back on offer - which goes for pretty much every ale I have these days, let's be honest. Still, it seemed like a decent punt and so now I am trying it.

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It poured nicely with a good head and not too much carbonation despite there being a rather loud snick on opening and a good deal of carbon dioxide in the neck of the bottle. It hadn't been chilled deliberately but temperatures in the kitchen were low enough that there has been a chilling effect that seems to have worked well with the fizz and the overall activity of the ale. Good, deep amber colour with chestnut tones and a warm, almost biscuity, aroma that comes from the Cascasde hops (and I'm not being clever, the cascade hops were named on the bottle). It's a nice opening to the ale that leaves me anticipating what will come next.

First taste is good strong hops with the fizz that stabs with spicy little points like a forest of tiny elf arrows of the sort that caused elf-sickness in 850 AD, apparently, and there's a crisp and serviceable malt base that delivers this nicely around the mouth. No wasted space as the malt rolls on through to be followed by the bittering hops at the end that take the spice away and replace it with something akin to a wine like finish. Overall there is a definite woody tone to the brew, matching the colouration and overall finish. It's like drinking an old wood cabinet that is proper wood and stained on the outside - the staining is good and makes the whole thing look more antique though the underlying wood is newer and smells different. Having two hops does rather make this something of a dual-personality as they appear most at the beginning and the end.

At 4.5% ABV this is a decent strength and still low enough that you can have a brace of these without having a fit or passing out. The warmth of the overall brew is welcome on a cool winter's night and the finish is a strong one. I've not been the greatest fan of the cascade hops in previous ales (I particularly remember the rather poor Cascade from Saltaire as an example - here) but this seems to have tamed them nicely and brought them to table without too much trouble. Subsequent tastes render the time between the two hops too small to really mention, meaning that there's a middle section where they mingle and join with the cacophony of the yeast but this time and overlap is short and sadly not the main focus. That is not to say that this is a bad ale, it isn't, and, to the contrary, I rather like it. Certainly this is an ale that is suited to colder days and bleaker weather but it could just as easily be drunk at the end of a warmer day or with nicer weather as it gets cold with the dark.

Best enjoyed in the snug whilst billiards and darts are played nearby. A glass with a handle is almost required for something like this, a proper ale of the working classes and proud of it, hiding in a craft bottle that plays to the more middle-class epic beard hipster crowd. Amber ale like amber ale was meant to be and something of a chimera of class taste. Drink, talk of politics and bemoan the changes in the countryside around you. It'll keep you right until morning.

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