Sunday, 16 October 2016

Red Rye

Busy week, plenty to be doing and many things piling up on the week of celebration. We have a folk concert on this evening and I've had to drive out to shop because our local supermarket is closed for a big refurbishment. Not a major issue but there is the annoyance of driving long distances. I shouldn't complain. On getting there I found that they had Mud City Stout (see here) on for cheaper than our local discounter and a selection of ales from The Great British Brewing Company, who appear to be an outlet for other brewers to do their thing in much the same way as Revisionist is for Tesco.

So it is that I am sitting just after lunch having been in the garden, enjoying a bottle of Red Rye from the aforementioned brewing company, this one being the result of Twickenham Fine Ales brewers, and having a review session. Because why not? No clever revolving picture of this one, because I am not so hot at those, but a brief look at the garden now all overgrown in preparation for winter.

Would you like to know more of this ale rather than the plants in the garden? Then you should click on. If not, then... I dunno. Beer.

First point of note is that I was expecting, well, a red ale given the name and the title and the label. It is a bit red but I think, in the sunlight, it's more a chestnut, but that can be red too. Maybe a russet, the kind of colour that one sees in the leaves as the autumn draws closer, though not yet. The aroma is also very interesting and better than I'll admit I was expecting for something I picked up for cheap and on offer. There's an element of tropical fruit on the nose that is less sharp than citrus and more full and fruity - juicy and plump, I think is the best way of describing it - the bottle tells me to expect passionfruit and peach. I shall be honest, I can't find the peach and I have no idea what passionfruit smells like. I can detect something of mango in the texture of the smell and there's something tropical throughout so perhaps that's what they mean. Not much of a head on the pour but what there is remains persistent as you drink down the glass.

It opens with a spice on the tongue, before relaxing quickly into a clear and refreshing burst of hops that reminds me a little of the clarity one find in citra based ales. There is a hint of the yeast as it rolls into the middle of the taste, topped by bushels of the sort of tropical flavours one find with Pacific and New World hops, and then the bubbles come to the fore as it drains down to the aftertaste. Surprisingly full in the mouth, making the boast on the bottle a justified one, and it remains soft and plump in the back of the throat. There's a dryness, certainly, but the overall feeling on the back of the throat is one of full tropical fruit. It tastes a little less manufactured than some of the Um Bongo style ales I've had in the past and the hop varieties have been well mingled. I get the impression that the hops have been treated with a bit more care and attention than in some of the other big names I've had in the past.

My friend from up in Leeds would probably rate this one. Each sip brings forth a fresh perspective on the hop mix and the taste, though stable enough, is varied enough that it doesn't become too boring. There was a big whisp of carbonation on opening and, indeed, there's a few moments in each taste where those bubbles come through just a touch too much on the manufactured side but I am pleasantly surprised by this one and glad I got it and its fellows in to try. At 4.7% ABV it's no slouch and that strength does give it the kick necessary to lift from bubbles into something else. I wasn't expecting to rate this as highly as I clearly do. In the sense that it matches the season it does almost as well as my old favourite Late Red (see here) but there's less spice and smoke involved. It suggests pine notes but I can't seem to separate them out. This is generally a good, fruity, IPA that lives up to what IPAs are supposed to do, at least in my opinion, without it all becoming about the amount of alcohol.

Best enjoyed with the crisp freshness in the air of the end of summer, slightly cool, and the prospect of an enjoyable evening ahead. Have it in sunlight as the nights draw in and ensure that there's a stout or porter coming before bed to bring you back down from the heady hoppiness. Unlike a summer ale you probably want to have before food rather than with it and do take your time. It's cold and there's a nip in the air, keep active but don't sweat yourself too much afterwards.

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