I even took a picture in the kitchen, so that's how special it is! Oh, and had at a lunch time in case I hadn't made that obvious. Would you like to know more?
This had plenty of promise on opening, with a thick sounding 'hiss' as the cap was removed, and there was a big mist like what happens as spring arrives and the sun threatens to burn it off by midday. Here in the kitchen there wasn't much aroma and so I leaned in before the pour, getting a dry sort of bitterness for my trouble. It put me in mind of the Aged Pale from Petrus (click here) that I was able to blend, which is expected for a Gose, but not as tart and sour on the nose. Pouring quickly produced something of a champagne-like head, plenty of that fizz, and I could see the sediment in the bottle, allowing me to avoid pouring it all into the glass. A murky straw yellow body was formed, which I will admit took me something by surprise, I think I was expecting something clear and almost wine-like in aspect and, instead, I have this very light ale construction. I suppose that ought not to be so shocking in an ale, but there you have it.
A dull bitterness opens the taste before the slight zing from the gooseberries hits and explodes with some citrus-based hops. A large firestorm of sharpness emanates from the tip of the tongue and runs in bitter gunnels down the sides of the mouth with the bubbles of wild yeast spearing into the top of the mouth. High activity remains, reminding me of the sensation with dry white wines or the sour-ness of the champagne at a wedding reception on entry to the breakfast. Nice and thin, thirst-quenching, and yet earthy and full of promise from the sort of water that has run through a fair amount of chalk or limestone on the way to the surface. Though that could be the effect of the sediment in the bottle and the cloudy nature of the brew as a whole. There's a good depth to this too, so that it's not all about the gooseberry, and it slithers down to the back of the mouth neatly and without too much trouble.
It's almost greasy in texture, like a sausage left out from the morning fry up, and yet it cuts through the fatty residue from the curry really very well. Rooting out the spice from the crevasses of the mouth and replacing them with a burst of sour notes and soothing malt before leaving it all cleansed and ready for another course. At 4.5% ABV it's not too powerful and it does offer a warming sensation in the stomach as there is more had and imbibed. Not one to sit and savour each sip by any means but neither is it one to drink down as quick as you can. It builds and grows so that the small but insistent hints of gooseberry collect and become more noticeable, becoming closer and closer to my memories of picking them in the summer around July and enjoying eating about as many as I put in the punnet to take home. I was always something of a fan of the sour fruits!
In all, I think I like this. I was concerned that having so much stout of late would mean that I wouldn't fully appreciate the different style and it has had an effect in that it took me a while to get used to the idea that this wasn't thick and dark. Even the pales I've been having lately haven't really set me up for having something of this nature as I've had so few even close to this style. It reminds me of the Citrusy Wit (click here) but it is tarter and more sour, there's more character to this one and it not being lemony actually increases my enjoyment. I'm a big fan of lemon tastes but this carries that extra element of sour, rather than bitter, that I like - the sort of feeling I got as a child when allowed to try a bitter lemon. It reminds me of Vanishing Point actually - the kind of melancholic melody atop a speedy electric beat and some lyrics that are as much about the sound as they are the words so that everything melts together into a bitter overall sensation.
Enjoyed best with the actual curry rather than afterwards. A curry had at home, maybe cooked in your own kitchen, and had with home-roasted spices mixed with fresh tomato and browned onions to create a full and musty sauce. Add in the freshly and finely chopped chillies to give it that extra pep and open a bottle to pour - the timing will cover just the amount of time required to add the extra water to the sauce afterward - and take sips as you cook. Ensure you have about half the glass remaining to accompany the start of the meal and prepare a lager for afterward or else switch to something like a mild or a milk stout if you want to stay in the ales.