Thursday, 19 January 2017


I'm not very good at rock and roll. I'm sorry, but it's true. I'm much more a fan of the electronic bleeps and programming that could be described (and once was by a wise man known as Scroobius Pip) as generic repetitive music - in that case I know that I am something of a charlatan in beer-drinking circles. And so it came to pass that the arch-idiot of musical taste came to try Marshall by Rock'n'Roll Craft Beer. I can't complain, it's been a while since I had a blonde.

This has been stockpiled since the end of last summer, when I saw it in Morrison's on offer and I wanted to buy more Elvis Juice (see this link) without looking completely stupid. Yes, it's been hanging around for a while. Would you like to know more?

Firstly, there is a decent snick on opening that I haven't really heard in a while. Certainly not enough to comment on it. Following that there is the kind of pour you would expect from a blonde - plenty of fizz and activity, decent head and a good swirl of the bubbles that is faintly reminiscent of champagne but not enough to challenge the true celebration ales. I can see why this is marketed as something for people into rock and roll as it has that kind of edge to it whilst remaining firmly in the mainstream of ales and I do not mock that. Good aroma too, smells exactly like I would expect a blonde to smell - being malty and full with a dry edge that hangs around and offers more than mere perfume. Not much in the way of hops nor any kind of distinct spice or smoke but plenty of that dry malt that would be thirst quenching on a warmer, sunnier day.

Onto the tongue it pours, fizzy at first with a hint of that dry malt, then cascading down the sides with the full force of the incoming tide: imagine a beach party held by some surfer dude with a guitar and an amp in his VW camper van. Then you get a brief hit of the hops that are held back by the spume, they crest and fall into the wave, a spike of fruity citrus amid the yeasty bubbles before they are smothered in the shelving sand of the beach made up of the malt and the dryness. A sucking sound, some stones caught in the tide, the single throbbing note that starts that dude's attempt at Smoke on the Water (hint, it's not as good as it could be and nowhere near the quality of Richie Blackmore) before we're over the edge and into the aftertaste. As expected, dry and quenching, with a calming note that allows you to catch up with the wave that just occurred. And then, of course, you go back for more.

This isn't a huge ale, nor is it one that is particularly special or clever, but as a bog-standard blonde with a bit of a kick, it's 6% ABV, then it does a reasonably good job. I could see this being the sort of ale that would provide the bedrock of more adventurous drinking, the sort that people have on standby in the cellar for when people come over or simply when they fancy a decent uncomplicated blonde ale to pass the time and ruminate of an evening. Maybe coupled with marking and a nice meal, I'd suggest fish based, this would be a decent brew.

Enjoy best with battered haddock made in your own deep-fat fryer, with a side of home-made chips from Maris Piper potatoes. Ensure the vegetables are good and crunchy, have some gravy in a boat, and then chow down with this brew poured ready to reach room temperature. If it be summer, then ensure this is chilled and allowed to reach around ten degrees celsius - just to take the chill off buit not enough to allow the heat of the day to permeate, and then drink and eat with eyes closed to imagine the beach and the humid warmth of the sea breeze in your hair.

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