Ending the evening with a pale ale after the success of Atlantic Pale Ale on my trip away (see here) and because it stands in perfect contrast to the fact that it is very dark outside. I am nothing if I am not contrary when drinking ales. Also, I would drink some of my stash of stouts but decent stouts are hard to find and they always taste better after storage. My pales and IPAs, on the other hand, tend to go out of date and taste bad after a while. I have been buying too much ale. I may be addicted to buying it rather than drinking it. Damn.
Anyway, tonight I shall be reviewing and enjoying, hopefully, the rather nicely named Hell Fire from Leeds Brewery who have come a long way since I pooh-poohed their initial bottled effort that I picked up in ASDA. Because, yes, I am the only blogger that they brew for. Obviously. Enough, my hubris knows no bounds and I am a busy blogger: would you like to know more?
This pours reasonably well with the kind of light fizz that reminds me of the spritzers they serve in places that serve spritzers. I am bad at working out other drinks. Basically, a bit like the sort of thing that you get in IKEA when you go to pour some of their rather nice fizzy raspberry drink. Yes, that. A bit of a head forms but it is the fizzy rather than the frothy kind and the colour is strangely straw like as it enters the glass. Maybe it's the lighting in my room or the overpowering red of the carpet in front of the fireplace but there's a deeper golden hue once the pour is complete and the aroma of citrus and sharp malts in the air. Sharp malt is, I realise, a bit of a strange description but I'm not sure how else to describe it. It isn't musty and it isn't clear and bright, it is, well, a bit sharp. Some of this is the combination of centennial and chinook hops, I know, but there's something else at place here as it is less soft and less airy than the Atlantic Pale that I referenced at the beginning.
Once onto the taste and it does a good job of blowing out cobwebs and taking hold of the tongue by the scruff of the uh, neck. Yes. Shakes it about a bit with the hoppy start, not too big and not too fruity, before mellowing slightly and loosening the choke collar enough to let the whole thing run about a bit in the middle. Has a couple of sniffs of the side of the mouth to prevent it being thin or without a body but then it's back into the big run, straining at that lead, to get all the way back to the aftertaste and thence to the drying sensation that I usually associate with blonde ales. There's a yeasty spice to the smell afterward and there is that peppery sensation on the way down that starts from the middle of the taste and that is not a bad thing all told. It all comes over rather quickly but the over-riding impression from multiple tastes puts me in mind of the rather swift Thoroughbred by Thwaites which you can find on this link. Half a pint in and I realise that this is just a decent pale ale.
Now, there will be some who say that this is similar to their original bottled brew of Leeds Best (see here) and I am not going to argue with that assessment. This is a standard and solid pale ale done well and without fuss, the kind of ale one would happily turn to at the tail end of summer, just turning into autumn, and have with a barbeque. It is the sort of ale that would work in the height of summer too, chilled and had at the end of a hot day or even with a sufficiently large lunch. At 5.2% ABV it's not one you want to be having when you have something to be doing for other people. And it is that strength of ABV that allows this to survive the cold and the wet at this end of the year when few pales would and certainly, in my opinion, the kind of weather that is far from being optimal for the consumption of anything other than stout.
It's not bad, it's a decent enough brew. I think it has its place and I would love to see this as a standard brew that was always out and available. I get the impression that the label and the brew are on for a limited time or are a seasonal brew instead though and that is a real shame. I think it is the sort of pack horse on which one could carry a welter of different ales into the minds of the drinking public and would go well from draught in the sort of places that serve pub meals. Mustard and steak would go well with this one, methinks, and it would probably go well to combat the rising tide of lager in the right hands. Simply because you could have it with chips. Mm, chips, can't tell it's getting late on a cold evening, can you?