For tonight I have a good friend to thank for picking this up and bringing it over aaaaages back when they came to visit. If they are reading this then they need to know that the Boy still mentions the visit and the fact that he didn't get to share a room all night. You are, of course, welcome back whenever. However, that's not what most people are here for, you are here to read a review about an ale. This ale is called Rat Arsed and is from Beer Direct and so I am ready to drift along a sea of ale to talk softly about what this does. Big promises from an ale that prides itself on the strength of its offering and trades on the effects that it will have on the unwary. And I am a bit of a lightweight!
Would you like to know more?
First thing to admit is that it took me far too long to get a decent image and so it does not fully represent the head that came from the pour nor does it speak to how long it lingered, I am just rubbish with a camera and getting the picture to work was hampered by the fact that I'd left the 'night' function on, resulting in many shots that were unusable due to light saturation. And, as I'm sure you wanted to know that, I can now move on to review the ale itself.
The initial assault on the senses is led by the malty aroma that puts me in mind of the breakfasts we've been able to have at work lately - all fruit that has been toasted and the smell of something mellow in the background. My daughter has been eating some malt loaf too, and that is very much like what this is. Imagine, if you will, the liquid smell equivalent of fruited malt-loaf and you have a reasonably good approximation of the aroma that this rather light ale produces. Indeed, I was rather surprised when I poured it and found that it was such a light ale, the bottle did warn me but the smell made me assume that this was going to be something a bit darker, closer to an amber ale or the like.
On the pour it was also pretty surprising, being like a fizzy lager that I just wasn't expecting. Less golden than a light copper, though my picture makes it look much more like a pale I suppose and that's probably down to my ineptitude with the phone camera. Still, it was a warm day and though I hadn't bothered chilling this, the head did not go crazy and I was thinking that this would be one of those thirst quenching ales that I happen across from time to time. The sort to combat the powers of the pollen with some good old alcoholic inducement. Were it not for the fact that I had a lot on I would have retired to the garden with this one and sat in the newly painted chair there (courtesy of Anna, who is always better at practical things than I) but it wasn't to be. I was surprised still further on the first taste though in that there was little in the way of fruity hops and not much more in the way of malt either. It had a decidedly lager quality to it, lacking the yeasty fire of Red Stripe (here) but certainly not unlike the Point Lager that I had last year (and apparently didn't bother to review).
Nevertheless, this was certainly not a lager and the hops came through as the malt rolled into the gunnals and down to the aftertaste, imparting a definite bittering note that had been absent at the beginning. There was plenty of fizz and further sips allowed those hops to dominate a bit more as one would expect with a decent bitter. This led to a pretty lively aftertaste, in the dull bitter range, and I mean dull as in not sharp rather than dull as in boring. The whole mouthfeel had a quality of a remuda of horses in a cattle drive being driven across the plains, fast and furious before being corralled centrally, all along with a roasted taste that had me in mind of a coffee but without actually being able to taste or smell it. Call it an impression if you will. Given the lightness of the malt on the tongue both this sensation and the opening aroma do seem to be rather out of place. Not in a bad way, you understand, just out of place.
In all, this is a good sessionable ale that has a bit of thickness and depth to it despite its straw-like appearance. It's no Wild Swan (here) but it is a good drinking ale. Not quite the thirst-quencher I was searching for but it definitely held its own and was no bad brew. I think I like it. There's no real punch from the 5% ABV, despite it claiming to be a powerful brew in this regard, and that's not a criticism either, just a statement of fact. Potentially dangerous then as this could easily have you trying a few more before being convinced of the strength.
Enjoy this best in summer by a barbeque. Drink with a spicy set of burgers and sausages, have some chilli sauce or mustard on hand to taste, and stand upwind of the smoke, but not so far as to make it imperceptible. Stand, don't sit, wear shorts and let the untanned legs do their thing of scaring small children, then take a few sips of this and feel, if not refreshed, content and at one with the comings and goings of the garden in the late summer's eve.