It's been a sunny day all round today. We have a new picnic bench in the garden, the wind was fresh but the warmth in the sunshine was quite lovely. A meal shared, as a family, on the picnic bench and a glass of ale from the local micro-brewery down the road, lovely. I refer, of course, to the Nutbrook brewery and another clever title: Responsibly. We should all drink so.
So, mellowing out and preparing for the week ahead, would anyone like to know more?
First and foremost is the colour of this ale. It opened with a hint of a snick and it poured very well into the pint glass, instantly being lit by the warm sunshine and reflecting some of the glare of the day. It was copper and with hints of the Iron Brew I remember as a child living in the Borders - the sort of colour that had me thinking it was made in Scotland from girders. Indeed, not a little reminiscent of a certain Criffel (link) from Sulwath, so very Scottish in tone. The aroma was fresh and fitting for the salad and fish we were having. An element of flowery meadow on the edge moulded well with the scent of the grass as it yellows faintly on the uncut lawn and the bubbles caught the light in a sparkly fashion.
First taste was satisfying and quenching, heavy on the hops but these were light in flavour, so that it wss like being wafted by a feather fan in some well-apportioned Ancient Egyptian palace, waiting for someone to peel you a grape. Though I suspect I'm mixing historical stereotypes there and may have wandered into full Roman territory. No matter, that initial hops wave was noticeable without being over-powering before the usual sparkly bubbles of yeast speared through to announce the arrival of the malt, roiling 'neath the main show like a tempest under the placid sea. Mighty Triton pushing forth carbonation on the tip of his trident, before the wind blew the spume from the rising waves and we were back to simple bitteringf to add that note of quenching to proceedings. All that then runs backwards, all around the mouth at once with no real separation, taking a full but watery mouthfeel to the back of the throat. Here the after-taste builds, soft and like a memory at first but rising with each further sip to remind you of the strength of the ale, 4% ABV, and then falling. In that sense it was a little like Maid Marian (click here) or Gold (and here) in being the kind of golden ale that grows in intensity without becoming too wet or dry with repetition.
We had salmon on the day and the ale did not disappoint. It is definitely a summer ale though and in these dog days of the summer as the leaves begin to crispen and the winds freshen it is perhaps a little out of place. Enjoy this best in a heatwave in the shade of an awning or a handy tree (my garden has only the latter) slathered in sunscreen. Accompany a meal if you wish or else have it alone by the river with a newspaper spread out or a bevy of buddies to shoot the breeze.