Sunday, 30 April 2017


It's time for an APA from a local-ish brewer. And it's another ale that I got in for an attempt to create some local action for a thing ages back and then got interrupted. I'm not complaining, you understanding, that's just how it worked out. So, tonight, allow me to regale you with my review of Chiron from the Thornbridge stable, being based in Bakewell and thus local-ish if you count about 40-odd miles as local.

All that and a shot from the garden, goodness me, it's almost like I'm getting used to this beer blogging lark or something. Would you like to know more?

It is fitting that the picture was taken, belatedly, at the fruit bowl because after a pretty sparkling pour with plenty of activity I was left with a thin head and the distinct impression of fruity hops on the nose. Big and dry, with a juiciness just bursting from beneath, these were the sort of thing that one expects from an American-style ale, to be honest, and the copper hue of the ale was a good crowning on top of that. Big on the zestiness and small on the actual specifics of which fruit we were experiencing, this is a brash and powerful example of the APAs that one can get. I recall this being all over the place earlier in the academic year and then being pretty hard to find afterwards. I get the impression that this is a well-loved brew, to be honest, and one that people want to get hold of. I bought it in specifically to be local and because of this assumed pedigree, so I am not disappointed in how it behaves on the nose at all.

Onto the tongue and, as expected, this is big on the malt and the yeast at first. Powerful with a cresting wave of hops that are fiery and dry rather than full and fruity. It expands to fill the mouth like a rush of Helium to a small area and rapidly hits the roof of the mouth long before the middle of the taste takes over. The Montgolfier balloon glides then into the centre with a big dollop of dry and yeasty hops as the darkness falls onto the spring day outside, hence the photo of the fruit bowl, and then runs to the back of the mouth with all the alacrity of a London bobby chasing a padfoot in the early days of policing, shrill whistle and all. Good mouthfeel to this one, not nearly so thin as one might expect, and a good action on the carbonation that manages to avoid being over-much or desultory, which is nice. I can imagine that some people I know would be happy to sit and drink this on some garden furniture around that time on Sunday when we had the mini-heatwave. For me, this is a good APA and has a bit of character and 'go' about it.

Aftertaste is a tad on the dry side and it left me wondering how this could be considered thirst-quenching as some people I have read have said. Maybe it was the lateness of the hour or the fact that I have been eating a lot of fruit but I really didn't get that impression at all. Still, that's not necessarily a criticism of the ale so much as a musing. This did the job that one would expect of an ale clocking in at around 5% ABV and it did it without any fuss or big spills. No big thrills either but this certainly has its place in the grand scheme of things and it knows it. I liked it. Not sure I'd rush out and buy it again but equally I would be happy to have it on a random evening with company over too.

Enjoyed best sat on a busy street outside a small pub with its own on-street seating with a cradled burger from a van (onions optional) and a rolled up copy of some newspaper or other that is read carefully and with some difficulty. Eyes squinted against a bright sunshine and with just a hint of chill on the breeze, but not enough to suggest anything other than a short-sleeved button-up shirt or blouse, whichsoever you prefer. You could don sunglasses or you could choose not to, and then you sip this, close your eyes for a moment and let the scene fade and the hops take control. This is not one to be drunk in a close snug or at home, really, let it be free and savour it a little.

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