Summer seems very much in evidence at the moment and so it behooves me to move on to proper summer ales with a lighter hue and less stout. Which is a pity, but does rather make sense. Helping me in this endeavour is the fact that a local supermarket is holding a 'beer festival' in which it stocks a selection of ales from across the country. It's almost like I'm being part of the 'in-crowd' by buying and having bottled ales. Almost, but, of course, not quite. Anyway, one of the brews that were available just cried out to be bought (well, they all did in their own way, but this one did it in a particular way) because of the allusions that are held there. I refer, in this case, to A-hop-alypse Now by Camerons and I have to say that I rather like the bottle design.
So, if you would like to proceed with the horror, the horr- I mean, if you would like to know more, then venture forward was you will by clicking the finely crafted link below.
My initial feeling about this on the pour is that it behaves very much like the rather fondly remembered Sulwath Criffel (here) - deep copper colour with plenty of fizz and a frothy head that lingers a while before disappearing to nothing. The spearing bubbles leave a great deal of aroma hanging on the nose - a floral but fresh bouquet of hops that speaks clearly of New World influences not dissimilar to the New World of Marston's (here) but with much more emphasis on the freshness. Willow tried it and announced that there was a definite lemon-y zest to it all, which is fine but I didn't get so much the lemon as the overall citrus nature coupled with what I think is amarillo and chinook. We shall see. Indeed, the bottle tells me that these two are in there and adds fuggles and cascade to the list, I hope that they make their presence felt in the taste, untouched by the 4.3% ABV.
Initial feeling on the lips is frothy and a bit of an animal - being lively and hard to control. Once crossed the lips this settles into a quick fizz on the tongue with the characteristic warming sensation of the fuggles mingling well with the yeast in the bubbles before allowing a spicy malt to drop the bombs of the rest of the hops. Citrus is very much in ascendance here, still not getting the lemon, but there's a definite edge to it, a lovely bittering that rides the middle of the taste like a donkey on a beach chasing an ice cream being dragged along by the owner. That feeling of being on holiday and in the sunshine and by the sea pervades this brew. It's enough to make me feel like surfing under fire but there's no chance of calling on the back-up of napalm strikes to make it all worthwhile. Now, this is decent enough to play the music and let you know its coming.
It does fill the mouth, there's no gaps here, and it is very like the Criffel in the overall feeling. I almost feel like I'm trying that one again and that's no bad thing (especially since I haven't been able to find their stuff again). Definitely a thirst quencher with an after-taste that remains in the background, smiling slightly with unknown humour and intent, this is the sort of ale that would do well at a barbeque or at a larger meal. I'm having it after some locally produced sausage and it compliments the seasoning well. Thus I declare this to be a meaty ale that would do well at a roast or an outdoor gathering involving a hog roast.
Enjoy this best with jazz playing, maybe a dance troupe performs, in a big field with a band-stand. You have it in a plastic pint glass or else straight from the bottle (though leave it time to breathe after opening) and drink standing up. It will stay with you if you decide to move and should you wish, the one-handed clicking will be better suited to appreciation of the jazz scene than the clapping that would otherwise result. It is an ale much like its namesake and fits the time that was being captured nicely with a colour that matches the jacket. Invest and you shall be rewarded.