We're up in Carlisle having a progress north, like the monarchs of old, we have travelled the Lakes with company, will see stuffed animals, as in real animals being done by taxidermists, at Tullie House and have had a most convivial time swimming at Center Parcs over Penrith way (of course he's the f'in farmer!) and I got a chance to get a few ales in that will form the spine of the next few reviews. Because why not?
First on the list is a much awaited brew - for me at any rate. I caved and got some Charles Wells DNA by Dogfish Head. I mean, look at the neon monstrosity of the bottle called me like the 1990s trance movement, how could I not?
Of course, I have now used the reprehensible and cad's trick of deploying rhetorical questions twice in quick succession - the last refuge of a bounder - and shall complete the trioka, the trilogy and triplet triptych by asking would you like to know more?
This was an incredibly fragrant little number, the aroma was instantly out once the bottle was opened and provided much in the New World fragrance closet for the nose to try. There was the freshness that one would expect from Citra and Amarillo, almost goes without saying, and a big hit of some large, juicy fruitings that really set the mouth watering. This was a big bouquet and not shy about it, the type that crawls up the nostrils and sits there wafting itself about without a care in the world. ther best bit is that you actually don't mind it all that much and I admit that I rather wished it could have stayed longer than it did. On pouring, it's in a 275ml glass there, there was a massive head, much bigger than the picture gives credit, with the carbonation spearing the aroma and the potential for taste up the nose as you lean in to give sniff or taste full rein.
Sure enough, that heavy carbonation quickly demolishes the head as well, but leaves a lasting skein that remained to the end of the tipple. Being of the forgiving sort of beer bore, I don't mind this. And as this came in a rather nice deal from the local Morrison's (and I realise that this is not a local brew, but who is counting?) I didn't really mind much, if I'm honest. It was fresh and full, all the pungence of an inhalation of meadow, but in the States so perhaps a prairie, and with a good edge of pollen to boot. On tasting this carried a full mouthfeel, squeezing out every last nook and cranny of the mouth-space without apparent effort, making the whole thing bubble nicely on the tongue. This is an ale to really get the tastebuds going and I'll confess to it being able to tickle the nose nicely as it does so, not an experience I am used to but nor one that I can say I dislike.
Once it's there and filling the mouth the sides allow for the bitterness to come through with a wash toward a similar sensation on the aftertaste. The opening is heavy citrus hops, putting me in mind of oranges and limes rather than lemons and grapefruit, though all could be said to be there, that crest quickly with the rearing white mares galloping through to crash into the shallows of the shelving beach that is the mouth. This then rolls over with freshness, that would be the citra, briefly pausing at a maltiness to let you know that some was used before returning to a passionfruit maltiness at the throat to kick-start that aftertaste I mentioned earlier. The taste here does rather beg for more and I'll confess that I was happy to provide that.
I certainly didn't rush this ale but, despite the festival of flavour, nor did I feel a compunction to savour it. This is very sessionable, at 4.5% ABV it won't blow your head off but it won't stand more than a brace in an evening either, and a lovely little number. I realise it's not quite everyone's idea of a good time but I had been stalking this one for about a year now, having first seen it around in my own neck of the woods, so it was worth the wait in my opinion. I'm not saying I shall be rushing out to get another, there are plenty of other ales I'd get first, but it is worth the price and it was worth waiting to get my grubby little mitts on. Ultimately, this is the sort of ale that would leave you pleasantly inebriated and with a memory of a good journey getting there. What more could you want from a tipple?
Enjoy best when deployed rhetorical questions and making some form of political argument. Contrast it with the cut and thrust of debate, have after food rather than with it in order to better appreciate the interplay of fruity flavours and make sure there are others around to taste it with you. Willow was appreciative though did say that this wasn't her kind of ale, she prefers her hops lighter and less convoluted. It's not as bonkers as Wild Raven (here) but it is close!