Come one, how can you, in summer, see this and not think to yourself that it would make a great ale to drink of an evening? From the picture on the label of a man with oranges for boxing gloves through the Russian sounding title to the promise of orange flavours in the description (in fairness, I thought the bottle gave it away long before you needed to read any of the tasting notes) this is clearly an ale that will be orange and fresh to accompany a meal in the height of summer. I am, of course, talking about Boris Citrov from the T. A. Sadler's stable of ales. This particular bottle was picked up at Aldi for £1.25 (and they aren't sponsoring me either, seriously, how much do I have to plug things to get paid?) but I've seen it all around the town lately.
Given the sweaty nature of humid air and the fact that our kitchen can get quite warm on a summer's eve when preparing food this had better be the kind of ale that quenches thirst and allows you to feel a little refreshed afterward. Would you like to know more of have my admissions of home life completely put you off delving further? I wouldn't blame you if they had!
On opening there is a completely unsurprising aroma or oranges and zestiness, because the bottle did not make any of this clear at all, and this is sharp and cleansing. It reminded me of the orange smell that my mother used to have around her Christmas tipple when I was very very small. I suspect it to be Cointreau but I'll be honest here and say I have no idea. It's not the same as the sort of aroma one gets from orange scented kitchen cleaners (I'm really selling this, aren't I?) but it is very orange-y and that's no bad thing. Even the colour wants to get in on the act and looks like orange juice would look if it were apple juice. You get my meaning, it's nice and clear with an orange sort of light to it and a decent amount to head that strays into frothy territory.
Full disclosure here, I was having this with cous cous and salmon, like a proper middle class person (I forewent fennel) and this looked like it was going to go suspiciously well with this combination. In this, it did not lie and/or I am easily pleased by anything that I decide to pair with ale of an evening. Either, at the point of marking extra scripts in the examination crunch time, is possible. The first sip revealed a good full mouthfeel, which was surprising given the thinness of the colour and the pour that suggested a more lager-like quality that was, mercifully, missing from this imbibation. Definite orange hops from the start, again unsurprisingly, followed by a brief peek in from the malt at the lower end of the scale and the wave. Rapidly chased away by the carbonation, which wasn't overpowering whilst remaining enough to deliver the yeast briefly, and followed by yet more orange in the race to the back of the throat. Aftertaste was a little more candied orange peel as opposed to the fleshy fruit of it and put me in mind of marmalade on slightly burnt toast, a flavour I had got to know the previous Friday at work. My fault.
At 4.7% ABV this was strong enough that it complemented the meal nicely, allowing a good contrast with the grilled salmon and the heat of my chilli infused cous cous and roasted vegetables with balsamic vinegar. Steady now, I'm not heading too far into cookery territory, as I seem to recall that my culinary expertise wasn't really rated by any family members. However, I can reveal that Willow was pleased with the tipple and pronounced her approval, which is usually a good thing (though we don't always agree by any stretch of the imagination). In all, there were sour edges to this as the bottle went on and a good dry finish the likes of which I have tasted with cider and dry whites. This was more merciful than the whites in that it did not sneak up on me and knock me senseless later.
Enjoy this one best with fish methinks as the extra zest and citrus flavours will do wonders with anything of that bent. Sit at a table, eat politely and have that sort of conversation that can only really flow around a dinner table. Or evening meal table, either is fine. Make sure you have enough for everyone, pour carefully, and be ready with something heavier, like a porter, for a follow up to chase the lightness of the main offering. Or a big pudding. Either's fine.