Thursday, 29 September 2016

Citrusy Wit

When I went up to Leeds (see that experience on this link) earlier in the year I was gifted a number of interesting brews by my host for which I am very grateful. And, tonight, I thought it high time I drank one and selected the Citrusy Wit of Stone, which had been intended as a nightcap when I was up in Leeds but was foregone on account of us both being a wee bit too far gone. That and the fact that we were unable to sample the delights of Sink the Bismark may also give a hint of how precarious things were.

I've also taken the decision to shorten my post titles: I am no longer sure that adding 'beer review' to them does any good to man nor beast, if it ever did. So here's to shorter post titles! No, wait, I haven't started the review nor drinking!

This makes grandiose claims about orange and kaffir lime and coriander, so it's going to be a fruity experience regardless of what I do, would you like to know more?

I chilled this whilst cooking a Spanish omelette (I bought it, I'm much too lazy to cook it from scratch) and some chorizo for tea, then forgot about it until much later. As a consequence it was better chilled than the original ten minutes I had planned but still considerably north of the temperature that it claims it is best served at, not that I mind, I remain very much the heathen that prefers their ales at room temperature. Nevertheless, the chilling did the job of taming the head and the carbonation, shown by the huge head and the large activity on the pour despite my best efforts. That head stuck around and replenishes nicely, though does not grow by much after the pour. Instantly the flat aroma of coriander fills the air, rather than the sharpness of the citrus orange and lime, and the pale colour soaks up the soft light of my bulbs that are a tad yellow and orange in the living room.

Getting closer, the aroma yielded some of the orange, a soft juicy smell rather than a sharp tang, but the lime was only just there and had I not been warned of its presence I would have missed it entirely. Once on the tongue the orange and lime play a massive role, rolling snowball like to the edge of the main taste before plunging over the malt cliff and gathering pace with a full and rounded mouthfeel that is bright and breezy, great thirst quenching and explosive orange. The coriander plays the supporting role, allowing the lime to tackle the very edges of the taste on the tongue and then the whole thing rolls into a neat little tipple at the back of the throat, most satisfying. This is clearly a high quality fruit ale, with much that I think can commend it. I like the combination here and I like that the malt is still there. The huge carbonation seems to just melt away once in the mouth, no doubt aided by the balls of orange and the lime, so that this tastes really very nice. Following my Spanish-inspired meal and some chorizo it really does a good job. I suspect that this is best served by such an opening though my decision to combine them was purely accidental.

I have been musing on my tastes in ale lately and been wondering if any non-stouts can really match the kind of feeling of satisfaction that I draw from the heavier ales and peatier hues. Certainly some of the pales that I have tasted have been somewhat lacklustre and had made me doubt whether or not I would really be tempted by them again. However, this is a pale ale and I am pleased to report that I rather like it. It reminds me very much of the most impressive Elvis Juice (find that review in this link) in that the fruit infusion dominates but does so in a way that makes me want more of it rather than getting distressed at it being somehow false. Indeed, I went out and bought more Elvis Juice recently because I enjoyed it so much and even though I haven't finished this Citrusy Wit I can see it's going to be another one of those ales that I get in and just have ready for when I fancy something to drink on a weekend.

At 5.3% ABV I am rather glad this comes in a 330ml bottle rather than a 500ml one - although Das Helle, for example (see this link for the review), is the same strength but in a larger bottle it doesn't quite have the same punch as this does. That is, I could session this but the strength of the flavour would make me drink it far more quickly than I would the Das Helle - no disrespect to the latter - and thus it would be far more damaging to my sleep and subsequent morning.

Enjoy this best in the evening, though it would be at home on a warm day (sun or no) in a beer garden, at home and pair it up with something a bit indulgent, like tapas. Get in plenty of variety in the dishes, make sure you have good company and don't worry about pre-loading, instead, lounge a bit, nibble a bit, and let the fruit do its business. You won't regret it!

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