Oooh, what's that? Why, it is the sun and the air is relatively still! Bees are in the garden and the daffodils are in bloom. I have a small child bouncing on the trampoline with the excitement and enthusiasm that it seems only small children can muster and maintain. I am, of course, avoiding work and all work-related stress by sitting and having an ale, is there really any other way to do this? If my colleagues are reading this then please do not worry, I am sure I'll be back to being stressed and working too damn' hard soon enough. In the meantime, I am going to sit awhile and enjoy the tender mercies of Boon Doggle by Ringwood Brewery. I am surprised to find that this is actually the first time I've had this, I was a fan of their Old Thumper back in the day.
Enough, I'm no poet and I think I am trying too hard, to the ale!
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Good weather and a comfortable seat bode well for this one. Pours with a clear copper-y colour and a good head that hangs around for a bit. In the semi-silence of the garden, punctuated by a small child having fun elsewhere close-by, there isn't much noise from the carbonation of this one, nor the noise from opening the cap. Almost immediately the aroma assault begins with a rounded fruity smell of apples and pears that is, for want of another word, well-rounded. It is round. It is plump and it is not unlike a pillow stuffed with quality down. That impression remains when one leans in for a closer sniff and it fits the air around me with the turned earth ready for planting and the areas that have already been planted with peas and lettuce. The sunlight is captured in the glass and I am awash with the anticipation of a relaxing ale - I am suggestible, this is what the bottle claims about its contents!
As a good blonde ale should, this opens with plenty of hops that speak of apples again but with a less acidic edge, like they were drawing you in for something else. Basically, there's a heavy citrus opening with a full mouthfeel that is surprisingly soft and less surprisingly dry - it is a blonde. There are spears of yeast on a bed of pears without too much malt showing through as the taste rolls into the middle section, maybe some berries on the edge of sensation but I'm not certain enough to call it, and then it races toward the back of the throat with, again, next to nothing of the malt playing through. There is, however, an odd pause in proceedings as the citrus fades for a moment and the aftertaste kicks in, a lull in the storm, and then it's on for the dryness to fade into being slowly and demand a second sup.
At 4.2% ABV this isn't going to set the world alight, but nor is it going to make you regret your decision to catch a brew whilst sitting in the garden in the middle of work and marking. Companionable and well versed in what it needs to do this is not any kind of specialist or hard-to-find ale but, as a reasonably priced and easy to find one, one you can probably get in and have on standby for good weather and a comfortable seat.
This is the sort of companion you need for a lunchtime, an erudite conversation will flow whilst you crack jokes and talk of work in an oblique fashion. Maybe there will be food, maybe not, or even just a shared biscuit. Easily one to sip over a long working-lunch so that, when you inevitably rejoin the productive flow, you can slip back into the routine and work at full capacity.